Just about everyone has trouble going to the bathroom at some point. If you're not having bowel movements as often as you used to, usually it's no cause for worry. Often, constipation will go away on its own within a few days or get better after you use laxatives or another constipation treatment.
But what if constipation doesn't go away and becomes a daily problem? When should you stop treating it yourself and call a doctor for help?
If you feel nauseous, here are some tips:
Avoid foods that are hard to digest.
If the smell of hot food makes you feel ill, try eating cool or cold meals.
Eat six small meals each day instead of three large ones.
Rest after eating with your head higher than your feet.
If you feel nauseous when you wake up in the morning, eat some lean meat or cheese before going to bed or keep plain crackers by the side of your bed and eat a few before getting up.
Drink at least six glasses of...
Typically, you become constipated when there either isn't enough water in your stool to soften and move it through your intestines, or the muscle contractions in your intestines are too slow to push the stool through and out of your body.
The most common causes of constipation are pretty easy to remedy, including:
Too little fiber in your diet -- eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
A lack of fluids -- drink more water and less liquids that contain caffeine (which can be constipating), such as soda and coffee
Too little exercise -- increase the amount of physical activity you do each day
Ignoring the urge to go to the bathroom -- schedule a specific time to go each day
The use of certain medicines, such as antacids, blood pressure medicines, pain relievers, antidepressants, iron supplements, and anticonvulsants; talk to your doctor about switching to a different medicine.
Sometimes, constipation is a sign of a disease or physical problem in the gastrointestinal tract. Conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, stroke, diabetes, thyroid disease, and lupus can all make you constipated. Irritable bowel syndrome is a collection of gastrointestinal symptoms that includes constipation.
A less common possibility is that you have a physical problem in your intestines, such as a blockage or tumor, that's preventing the stool from passing through.
When constipation lingers for three weeks or more, get a check-up just to make sure a medical condition isn't causing the problem. Also see your doctor if:
You've never been constipated before now
You have stomach pain
You've noticed blood in your stools
You're losing weight without trying
Don’t let constipation go unchecked for too long. When untreated, constipation can lead to unpleasant complications such as hemorrhoids and rectal prolapse, a condition in which part of the intestine pushes out through the anus from too much straining.