We may not like to think about it, and we certainly don’t like to talk about it, but maintaining a regular, comfortable bathroom routine is important to our health and well-being.
One problem that arises when our bodies don’t work the way they used to is constipation and hard bowel movements that can cause bloating, bleeding, and be a symptom of something else going on. While what’s normal varies greatly from person to person, any sudden change of bowel habits is a red flag that should be discussed with your primary care doctor, says Norton Healthcare gastroenterologist Dr. Rajesh Joseph.
One solution could be Natural Remedies: Your first step is to drink more water. Stay away from sugary drinks and aim for 8-10 glasses of water a day. Eat a well-balanced diet, get regular exercise, and increase your intake of fruits and vegetables– their naturally occurring sugars, especially in the old standbys of prunes, raisins, and prune juice, have laxative effect. Coffee and tea can also stimulate your bowels, but too much fiber (a bulking agent) can worsen bloating and constipation, Joseph cautions. Work with your doctor or nutritionist to tweak your diet.
Another solution could be Medication: When natural remedies aren’t enough to offer relief, ask your doctor about medications that are safe for you. Common over-the-counter stool softeners can help make bathroom visits easier and more comfortable, and laxatives can expedite the process and make it more efficient. There are also some newer remedies available by prescription. To rule out any physical obstructions or more serious conditions, your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist for a more in-depth evaluation.
By Yelena Sapin