How do I know if I have occasional constipation?

There’s no real thing as “normal” when it comes to how often you move your bowels. It’s different for everyone. But, if your bowel movements are changing and becoming more difficult or less frequent, that could be a clue. If you’re having less than 3 bowel movements a week and/or your stools are hard, dry, and small, which makes them difficult or painful to pass, you may be constipated.

Why do I occasionaly get constipated?

Almost everyone gets constipated at some time in their lives. It usually isn’t serious. Occasional constipation can be triggered by many things, including:
  • Not having enough fiber in the diet
  • Not drinking enough fluid, especially water
  • Lack of exercise
  • Using certain medicines, such as those prescribed for iron deficiency, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression or anxiety, pain, duodenal ulcer, or a cough
  • Certain diseases, such as multiple sclerosis or lupus
  • Changes in lifestyle or routine, such as pregnancy, childbirth, travel, or stress
  • Surgery
  • Aging
  • Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement

How can I prevent occasional constipation?

These are some of the things you can do to help prevent constipation:
  • Eat foods that are rich in fiber, including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereals and breads, and dried fruits, such as apricots, prunes and figs
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water Exercise regularly. Even taking regular walks has been shown to be effective
  • Don’t ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. Make regular bathroom trips a part of your routine
  • Eating at regularly scheduled times and avoiding processed foods have been shown to help
  • When you’re prescribed a new medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist if constipation is a possible side effect so that you can expand on your water and fiber intake

Should I take a laxative?

If you have tried the suggestions mentioned on this website and you still have occasional constipation, you may consider taking an over-the-counter laxative. Several kinds are available, including stool softeners, bulk forming laxatives, and "stimulant" laxatives. Stimulant laxatives are those that contain any of the following active ingredients: bisacodyl, cascara sagrada, senna, or sennosides.
As with all medications, it is very important to follow the directions on the label. Link to the back label