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Constipation means you have a hard time passing stools (bowel movements). People pass stools anywhere 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 due to enlarged veins near the rectum (hemorrhoids).
A few changes in your diet and lifestyle may help you avoid continuing constipation. Your doctor may also prescribe medicine to help loosen your stool.
Some medicines (such as pain medicines or antidepressants) can cause constipation. 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 or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: February 26, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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