Everyone has a little trouble going to the bathroom sometimes.

Some typical symptoms of constipation are hard or small stools, bloating, few or no bowel movements for several days. While these symptoms can be frustrating, there are many normal reasons to experience constipation:

Why Am I Constipated?

  • You’re Dehydrated: Fluids are extremely important to the mobility of your digestive system. Drinking the right amount of water could be a simple fix for your constipation.
  • You haven’t been eating enough fiber: Fiber is great for your digestive system, so don’t leave it out! Eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains to help ease constipation symptoms.
  • You’ve been Skipping the Gym: When you move, your digestive system moves too! If you used to be active and have suddenly stopped, your body might be changing how it’s digesting food. Go for a walk or hit the gym – you might feel better in no time.
  • You’re on Medications: Did you just have surgery? If so, your pain relievers could be causing constipation. If this is the case, ask your doctor to prescribe stool softeners to take with your current medications.
  • You’re Stressed: Both stress and lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your whole body… including your digestive system! This is because the stress caused by nerves effects your enteric nervous system, which is connected to your digestion.
  • You’re Pregnant: Constipation is a very common symptom of pregnancy.

But, how do you know if this is a sign of something more serious?

In some cases, constipation can be a sign of a more serious problem. If you’re experiencing severe abdominal pain, vomiting, weight loss or blood in your stools, it’s time to see a gastroenterologist. This could be a sign of bowel obstruction, which is when the large or small intestine gets blocked. Another chronic condition associated with constipation is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Time will tell if your constipation is something to be concerned about. If it lasts more than two weeks or is accompanied by severe symptoms, call a board-certified gastroenterologist, like Dr. Suman Kaur at Digestive Disease Associates, Hinsdale, IL at 630-325-4255.

Note: This information shouldn’t take the place of a physician’s care. Please see your physician or Dr. Suman Kaur with any questions or concerns.