When you don’t drink enough water, you may feel bloated and have diarrhea.
This is because your body needs water to keep you hydrated. If you don’t drink enough fluids, it can cause your stool to become looser and more watery. You may also have blood in your stool.
If you’re constipated
If you have constipation, your stool may feel harder and stick to your stool when you pass it. It may also have a dark, tarry color.
You may also feel a little queasy when you pass your stool. This is because the stool isn’t moving through your digestive tract as easily as it should.
If you’re not drinking enough water
If you don’t drink enough water, you may feel very thirsty. This is because your body needs water to function.
Drinking plenty of water can keep you hydrated and prevent dehydration. Water helps your body maintain its fluid balance and helps you keep your skin, mouth, and other organs hydrated.
If you’re not eating enough
If you’re not eating enough fiber, your stool may be hard, dry, and stringy. It may also be darker in color.
A diet that’s rich in fiber especially roughage usually makes you poop more regularly.
If you’re not getting enough exercise
If you don’t get enough physical activity, your body may be losing too much water through your urine.
Lack of physical activity can also lead to constipation. This is because it can cause your stool to become looser and more watery.
If you’re overweight or obese
Obesity can cause a number of health problems, including constipation. If you’re overweight, your stool may be harder and stickier than usual.
Also, your stool may be a darker color because of the extra fat in your stool.
What can you do to help relieve constipation?
When you have constipation, you may feel very tired. You might also have some abdominal pain.
You may have a hard time passing stool. You may also have a bowel movement that’s not as smooth as usual.
Here are some tips to help you:
- Change your diet
Eating more fiber helps make your stool easier to pass. Fiber helps keep your digestive tract moving smoothly.
Increasing your fiber intake will also help you feel full for longer.
If you’re having trouble pooping, try eating more high-fiber foods, such as:
- Whole-grain bread
- Brown rice
- Nuts and seeds
- Lentils and other legumes
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
To help your digestive system work better, try drinking more water.
If you’re not getting enough fluids, you might have a hard time keeping your urine thin.
Take a stool softener
Stool softeners can make it easier for your stool to move through your digestive tract.
Some stool softeners may be available over the counter. Talk to your doctor before taking these medications.
Drink more water
Drinking more water can help you pass stool more easily. When you drink more water, your urine may become thinner.
If you’re not drinking enough, you may have a hard time keeping your urine thin.
Take a laxative
If you’re constipated, you might need a laxative. You can buy this medication over the counter.
Talk to your doctor before taking this medication. Your doctor may check your urine to see if it’s thick enough to pass.
If you’re dehydrated, you may have no symptoms. But you may get diarrhea. This is because your body needs water to function normally.
You also may get dry, scaly skin.
If you’re constipated, you’ll feel a little itchy. This is because your body needs water to function. If you don’t drink enough water, you may feel dry and itchy. Your skin may also feel dry.
Other symptoms of dehydration include:
- Rapid breathing
If you’re dehydrated, you may need to take a laxative. Talk to your doctor before taking any medications.
If you’re not feeling well, you may feel tired and weak. If so, you should go to the emergency room.
What can you do to help prevent constipation?
If you have constipation, you may be at risk for other problems.
Talk to your doctor about the following lifestyle changes:
- Drink more water. If you have constipation, you may need to drink more water.
- Lose weight. Losing weight can help you poop more easily.
- Increase your fiber intake.
- Follow an exercise program.
- Try a stool softener.
- Take a laxative.
If you’re constipated, your doctor may recommend an ultrasound. This is a test that uses sound waves to create images of your intestine.
An ultrasound will help your doctor see what’s going on inside your digestive system. It can help your doctor help diagnose and treat any problems.
If you don’t have any symptoms, you may not need an ultrasound. But if you do, your doctor may perform one during your regular checkups.
What’s the outlook for someone with constipation?
Constipation is usually harmless. It can also be a symptom of other medical conditions.
If left untreated, constipation can be a sign of a larger problem.
Constipation can also be a side effect of certain medications. It can be a sign of a problem with your digestive tract.
A doctor will be able to tell you more about what’s causing your constipation.
If you have constipation, it’s important to try to pass stool as soon as possible. This can help keep your digestive tract working correctly.
The sooner you get treatment for constipation, the better the outcome.
How can you prevent constipation?
You can help prevent constipation by:
- Eating a high-fiber diet. Eating more fiber can help make your stool easier to pass.
- Eating more high-fiber foods.
- Drinking more water.
- Taking a laxative.
- Drinking more fluids.
- Taking a stool softener.
- Getting regular exercise.
- Talking to your doctor if you have constipated.
- Getting medical care if you have constipated and don’t have any symptoms.
When should you call for help?
You should call 911 if:
- You’re unable to pass stool.
- You have a severe headache, dizziness, or trouble breathing.
- You’re having uncontrollable bowel movements.
- You’re having a fever.
- You can’t pass urine or stool.
- You’re losing a lot of blood.
- You have a severe pain in your abdomen.
Preventing constipation is important. It can help your digestive tract work more effectively. This can help keep you healthier.
Complications of constipation
Constipation can be a symptom of another medical condition. This includes:
- Hiatal hernia. This happens when part of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm. This can cause a lot of pain and other symptoms.
- IBS. This is a chronic intestinal condition that causes frequent bowel movements. You may have more than one bowel movement a day.
- Pouchitis. This is a bacterial infection in your small intestine.
- Diverticulitis. This is an inflammation of the diverticula. Diverticula are small pouches that develop in the intestinal wall.
- Colon cancer. This happens when cancer starts in the large intestine.
How is constipation diagnosed?
Your doctor will perform a physical exam. They may also order tests to diagnose constipation.
These tests can include:
- Urine tests. If you have urinary problems, your doctor may check your urine for signs of infection or other problems.
- Blood tests. If your doctor suspects a problem with your blood, they may order a blood test. They may also ask about your symptoms.
- Urinalysis. This is a test that checks for microscopic particles in your urine.
- Colonoscopy. This is a test that takes a small sample of your bowel. Your doctor can examine the sample to look for signs of disease or infection.
What are possible complications of constipation?
Constipation can lead to other complications. These complications can include:
- Constipation in children is a common problem.
- Constipation can happen when you have multiple health problems.
- It can happen when something in your diet is making you constipated.
- It can be a sign of a larger medical problem.
What can you do to treat constipation?
Treatment for constipation usually won’t include surgery.
Talk to your doctor about the following treatment options.
If you don’t want to try a laxative, your doctor may recommend other treatments.
- Adding more fiber to your diet.
- Drinking more fluids. This can help soften your stool.
- Having a mild laxative.
- Using a stool softener.
What is the outlook for someone with constipation?
Constipation is usually nothing to worry about. If you have constipated, it’s important to try to pass stool as soon as possible. This can help keep your digestive tract working correctly.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know:
- The name of the test or procedure
- The reason you are having the test or procedure
- What results to expect and what they mean
Who to call after the test or procedure if you have questions or problems
After you agree to the test or procedure, call your doctor if you have any of the following:
- Signs of an infection such as fever, chills, body aches, and sore throat
- Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
- New symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
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