North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

Health

September 30, 2011

Bowel issues a common problem with easy remedy

Health Watch

(Continued)

COMMENTARY — Treatment

So you are now thinking, what should I do if I become constipated? There are a number of very simple things to try to relieve the condition:

• Drink two to four extra glasses of water per day.

• Try warm liquids, especially in the morning.

• Add fruit and vegetables to your diet.

• Eat prunes or bran cereal.

• If needed, consult your pharmacist for a mild stool softener or laxative. Do not use a laxative for more than a week or two. Laxative overuse can aggravate your symptoms or result in a dependency. Contact your physician if:

• Constipation is a new and life altering condition for you.

• You have blood in your stools.

• You are losing weight without dieting.

• You have painful bowel movements.

• Your constipation lasts longer than two weeks.

Because chronic constipation can be a symptom of more serious problems such as colon cancer, frequent and prolonged constipation needs to be evaluated.  

However, in most cases the condition is self-limited, and can be treated with a simple change in diet or a visit to your pharmacy.

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