Sunday, August 02, 2009

Health Tips for August 2

Health Tip: When Constipation Requires a Doctor's Appointment

While most instances of constipation aren't serious, occasionally, cases of infrequent or difficult bowel movements should be evaluated by a doctor.

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers this list of warning signs that you should talk to your doctor about constipation:

  • You're constipated for the first time or it occurs for you very infrequently.
  • You've been treating constipation at home with more fiber, fluids and exercise for at least three weeks, but have no improvement.
  • You have abdominal pain.
  • You have bloody stools.
  • You have unexplained weight loss.

Health Tip: Prevent Constipation

It's not true that to be considered regular, you have to produce a bowel movement at least once daily, the American Academy of Family Physicians says.

The "normal" range varies widely -- between three times a day and three times a week, the academy says.

Here are its recommendations to help prevent constipation:

  • When you need to have a bowel movement, try not to ignore it.
  • Make time to have a regular bowel movement, such as after a meal.
  • Get plenty of fiber in your diet, drink plenty of fluids every day, and get regular exercise.
  • Avoid foods that are high in sugar and fat.
  • Don't take laxatives too frequently. Overuse can actually damage your bowels and aggravate constipation.

No comments: