We asked members of our medical staff to answer some common questions they
hear from their patients.
Q: How can I deal with my chronic constipation?
A: A common complaint that I get that is often overlooked is normal bowel
health. Chronic constipation—meaning not having a soft, easy to
pass bowel movement daily is something that affects people of all ages.
From newborns to people in their 80s and 90s having a daily soft bowel
movement should be a normal part of everyone's life. Many times this
is not taught and is something that is not part of normal conversation
for most people.
If someone is having hard, pellet-like stools or blood in their stool—that
is not normal. Although people do have different amounts and times that
they go without having a bowel movement—that's okay—as
long as the stool is soft, without blood and there is no straining to
have to go.
Many times just having a short conversation on things to do to have a soft
bowel movement can make a difference. It also means not having to take
any medicines. The amount of water and liquids we have in our diet, in
addition to fiber can play a major role in the difference between a hard
stool and a soft stool. A quick rule of thumb is to take your weight in
pounds and divide it in half. That is the number of ounces of water you
should strive to drink in a day. Trying to use a dissolvable fiber in
addition to high-fiber fruits and vegetables is a great long term solution.
Many people wonder why this matters? Chronic constipation can lead to many
things, ranging from bed wetting and chronic bladder infections to leakage
of stool. It can lead to pockets in the colon called diverticulosis, these
can become infected and cause areas of infection and inflammation. In
addition, many people become dependent upon laxatives or medications taken
daily to have a bowel movement.
Although it is sometimes a topic of taboo—we need to pay attention
to our poo!
Erica Rinker, MD recently joined Campbell County Medical Group
Family Medicine in the
Main Clinic on the south side of
Campbell County Memorial Hospital. She is now accepting new patients of all ages. Call 307.688.3636 for
an appointment. Learn more at