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Leah Sarich – Health Specialist: Women and Constipation

bt.calgary | posted Monday, Jun 17th, 2013

One in five women is suffering from chronic constipation. This state is defined as having a bowel that doesn’t get rid of stool properly, or poor colonic motility, lasting for 6 months or more.

I spoke with Gastroenterologist Dr. Mani Kareemi and he says he often sees women that having been living with chronic constipation for years. He says it can severely affect their quality of life: they don’t want to go out for dinner because they’re uncomfortable, they have problems sleeping, problems with intimacy and eating what they want.

Dr. Kareemi says it’s important that women with chronic constipation talk to their family doctor. He says there is no reason to live in this state. He says the first thing patients need to do is to make some lifestyle changes. Eat more fibre and drink more water. If this doesn’t work, then a good place to start is with over the counter laxatives. Dr. Kareemi says many people don’t take laxatives because they feel they’re not safe to take long term. However, Dr. Kareemi one group of laxatives called “osmodic” laxatives are indeed safe to take over time.

That said, Dr. Kareemi says patient should really discuss their constipation with their doctor. It is important to make sure there is no underlying medical problem that is causing the constipation. He also says certain medications, some very common ones, may cause constipation. Also, Dr. Kareemi says your doctor can help you understand which laxative to use and how long to use it. And if all else fails, there are prescription medications that can help.

For more information about treatments for constipation visit: Mayo Clinic

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