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Being Irregular Is Nothing To Be Ashamed About

Constipation is a common issue that many are too embarrassed to discuss

DAYTON, Ohio (September 6, 2019) – Bowel movements are an everyday occurrence for everyone, but it’s a topic not many people want to talk about when things aren’t moving like they should.

The sensitive nature of the subject can often cause a person to procrastinate in searching for the answers they need to find the best treatment for their particular cause.

“Constipation can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, since it can create a lot of discomfort that prevents people from participating in a variety of physical or social activities,” said Rhoda Chamberlain, APRN, with Jamestown Family Medicine.

Constipation describes a change in a person’s bowel habits – often when stools become too hard, too soft, difficult to pass, or infrequent.  People who are constipated may either feel a constant need to strain during a bowel movement, or they may even feel a constant urge to go. The condition’s causes are numerous, making it important to understand that constipation is a symptom and not a disease itself.

Since bowel movement frequency varies from person to person, it can be somewhat challenging to know when someone should seek the advice of their primary care provider.  However, there are a few key symptoms that can signal the need for an office visit.

“People should contact their health care provider if they are going less than three times in a week, or if there is a significant change in your normal pattern,” said Chamberlain.  “Treatment should definitely be sought out if this change or infrequency lasts longer than three weeks. Also call your doctor if you are experiencing painful bowel movements, or if they are associated with any other concerning features, such as blood on your toilet paper, weight loss, fevers, and general weakness.”

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there may be a number of causes for constipation:

Check out your diet – What you put into your body can affect how it comes out. Low-fiber diets that favor high-fat meats, dairy products, eggs and sugary snacks over higher fiber foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains can contribute to constipation.  Constipation can also be the result of not drinking enough water.

Lay off the laxatives – Laxatives may be thought of as a cure for constipation, but overuse can make one’s body become dependent on them. This excessive use can lead to greater irregularity.

Look at how much you’re moving – There are many benefits to exercise, and maintaining regular bowel movements is one of them. Make sure you are engaging in regular exercise on a daily basis, and consider increasing the amount if you’re struggling to stay regular.

Go when you gotta go – Resisting the natural urge to go the bathroom, may be a temporary necessity at times, but should be avoided when possible. Delaying a bowel movement can lead to greater constipation.

Constipation might also be caused by a medical condition, such as a stroke or diabetes that inhibit the muscle nerves that create the urge to go. Medications may also contribute to constipation. A primary care provider can act as a tremendous resource to help determine the root cause of constipation, but there are also some helpful guidelines that can be followed if no blockage or disease is present.

“There are some ways that people can look to add fiber to their diet,” said Chamberlain. “Ideally, we should all be getting between 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day, and that can be found in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grain cereals and breads. Getting more exercise and increasing your liquid intake is a key factor as well.” 

For more information about constipation or to find a Premier Physician Network provider near you, visit

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