Chronic constipation is a common condition that increases with age and is more common in women than men. Symptoms include having less than 3 bowel movements per week, straining, hard stools, incomplete evacuation and inability to pass stool. Causes can be structural lesions of the colon (e.g., colon cancer, colon stricture or narrowing); medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, Parkinson’s disease, or pregnancy; or drugs such as pain medications (opioids), blood pressure medications (calcium channel blockers), anti-seizure medications, and antispasmodics. In these cases, switching to a new medication may relieve the symptoms. A serious bowel disease or a structural disorder could cause the onset of constipation, so it is important to see a health professional, especially in people over 50. According to UCLA, it’s important to understand that some individuals use the bathroom less often than others. If you do suffer from bothersome symptoms of chronic constipation, a high fiber diet or fiber supplements, such as psyllium, can help to ease stool passage and normalize bowel movements. Increasing fluid intake and exercise are usually recommended. In more moderate to severe constipation, medications are usually needed. Over-thecounter laxatives can increase stool frequency and soften hard stools. Ask our pharmacist for more information.
River Oak Pharmacy 1080-D West F St. Oakdale, CA 95361 209-847-2226