Constipation refers to having less frequent bowel movements or bowel movements that
are difficult to pass. This occurs when stool passes slowly through the digestive tract
and becomes dry and hard. Generally people with constipation have 3 or less bowel
movements per week. Constipation is very common and can arise from a variety of factors.
Most people will experience the occasional bout of constipation in their lifetimes. However,
when constipation becomes a frequent or ongoing problem it is important to let your
WHO IS AT RISK?
Constipation is a common reason that people see their doctors. While constipation can
affect anybody certain risk factors may increase its likelihood of occurring. Taking certain
medications such as pain medications can lead to constipation. Eating a diet that is low in
fiber or being dehydrated can cause stool to become dry and hard making it difficult to
pass. Constipation is also more common in older adults and women.
Generally people with chronic constipation have less than one bowel movement every
couple days. Constipation causes stool to become dry and hard, often having a “lumpy”
texture. As stool becomes difficult to pass people have to strain harder to have a bowel
movement. This can be accompanied by the feeling of incomplete passage of stool.
Diagnosis and Constipation Treatment
Constipation is diagnosed through a careful medical history by your doctor. Sometimes
additional testing or referral to a gastroenterologist is needed to exclude other diagnoses.
The treatment of chronic constipation is based on dietary and lifestyle changes in addition
to medications. Increasing fiber intake, staying hydrated and getting regular physical
activity can all help improve constipation. Medications such as stool softeners and laxatives
are also helpful in promoting regular bowel movements.
How PlushCare Works
1. Video chat with your PlushCare doctor and tell them how long you have had symptoms
2. The doctor can prescribe medicine, make recommendations, and help get you feeling better.
3. Pick up any prescriptions at your pharmacy, and let us know if you aren't feeling better soon.