Constipation means that you have a hard time passing stools (bowel movements). People pass stools from 3 times a day to once every 3 days. What is normal for you may be different. Constipation may occur with pain in the rectum and cramping. The pain may get worse when you try to pass stools. Sometimes there are small amounts of bright red blood on toilet paper or the surface of stools. This is because of enlarged veins near the rectum (hemorrhoids).
A few changes in your diet and lifestyle may help you avoid ongoing constipation. Your doctor may also prescribe medicine to help loosen your stool.
Some medicines can cause constipation. These include pain medicines and antidepressants. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take. Your doctor may want to make a medicine change to ease your symptoms.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
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Current as of: November 20, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
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