Constipation is common and not always a serious medical concern, but it’s usually a sign that something about your diet or habits needs adjusting. At his practice in Boca Raton, Florida, board-certified gastroenterologist Dr. Prosper Abitbol can help you find out what’s causing your constipation, treat your constipation, and teach you how to practice bowel training habits that will help you feel better. If you’re having difficulty staying regular, call the practice or use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment today.

Constipation Q & A

Constipation is a decrease in how often you pass stools. Many people worry they’re constipated if they don’t have at least one daily bowel movement. However, only about half of all adults have one or more bowel movements a day, and it’s healthy for adults to have anywhere from 3 to 21 a week — quite a wide range.

Constipation means you’re going to the bathroom with less frequency, not whether you’ve had a certain number of bowel movements per day, assuming your weekly total is between 3 and 21.

Most cases of constipation resolve on their own after a few days, but sometimes constipation is a chronic condition lasting two weeks or longer. If these symptoms have lasted for at least two weeks, you may have chronic constipation:

  Two or fewer bowel movements a week

  • ●   Difficulty passing stools
    ●   Dry, hard stools
    ●   Small stools
    ●   A feeling that you haven’t fully evacuated your bowels after going to the bathroom

When constipation is chronic, there are usually additional side effects, including bloating, headaches, and irritability. You’re also at risk of developing other problems, particularly hemorrhoids, which can result from the increased straining you do on the toilet. You’ll also want to find out if constipation is the symptom of a chronic digestive condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Note that when constipation is a sign of a more serious condition, you’ll have other symptoms, such as bleeding and abdominal pain. By itself, constipation is usually not a major health problem, but it does mean something’s wrong with your digestive system.

Chronic constipation, when it’s not the symptom of another condition, is usually lifestyle based. If you consume a low-fiber, high-fat diet and don’t drink enough water you’ll have a harder time passing stools. That’s because fiber and water soften and add volume to stools, which allow you to pass them more easily.

Dr. Abitbol identifies the cause of your constipation, including by asking about your symptoms and diet and possibly by testing for other conditions. He may prescribe laxatives to provide short-term relief from chronic constipation, but it’s not a good idea to take them in the long term or without his supervision. What’s best for your digestive health is to eat healthily and drink at least 64 ounces of water a day.

To get help with chronic constipation from Dr. Prosper Abitbol, click or call to schedule an appointment.


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