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Constipation in Adults (cont.)

What kind of follow-up should I expect for constipation?

  • If the person has specific disorders such as hypothyroidism, scleroderma, and lupus, he or she may require regular follow-ups with a health-care professional.
  • Elderly people with a history of fecal impaction and fecal incontinence should be followed regularly to ensure that they do not develop further attacks.
  • Young people with anorexia nervosa need a team of specialists to assess and follow the underlying illness, as well as to provide support and education.

Constipation in adults prevention

  • Develop regular bowel habits. Set aside time before or after breakfast to use the toilet.
  • Do not ignore the desire to defecate. Answer nature's call to empty your bowel as soon as possible.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that includes wheat grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Recent evidence suggests that increasing dietary fiber intake may help some people with hard stools, but is not necessarily of benefit in every person with constipation.
  • Drink plenty of water and fruit juice.
  • Exercise regularly. Walking is especially important.
  • Avoid intake of medications that may cause constipation. Discuss the medications and OTC products you current take with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • The use of laxatives can make a constipation problem worse in the long-term and should be avoided.

What is the prognosis for constipation in adults?

Most people with constipation have no physical disease of the digestive system nor any widespread disease associated with constipation. Most of the time, constipation is related to poor dietary habits, low fluid intake, and lack of exercise.

  • For people with constipation caused by an illness, recovery will be determined by how sick the affected individual is.
  • The person will usually recover well if his or her constipation is caused by painful hemorrhoids or anal fissures.

Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine

REFERENCES:

Emmanuel A. Current management strategies and therapeutic targets in chronic constipation. Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2011 Jan;4(1):37-48.

Singh S; Rao SS. Pharmacologic management of chronic constipation. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2010 Sep;39(3):509-27.

Tack J, Müller-Lissner S. Treatment of chronic constipation: current pharmacologic approaches and future directions. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009 May;7(5):502-8; quiz 496. Epub 2008 Dec 13.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/24/2015

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