It’s normal to get a little backed up once in awhile. But if you’re regularly straining to “go,” or are unable to “go” at all, it’s time to see leading gastroenterologist S. Radi Shamsi, MD. His practice, Los Angeles Gastroenterology Clinic in Santa Monica, California, has successfully helped numerous men and women get relief from constipation. He’ll figure out what’s causing your constipation, provide dietary counseling, and offer any other treatments you need to get things moving again.
What’s normal for you might be different from your partner, or other family members. For some, it’s typical to move their bowels as often as two to three times per day. Others say they only have bowel movements a few times per week. Whatever is typical for you, that is your norm. Constipation is anything out of your norm.
So if you normally have a healthy bowel movement every morning, for instance, then it suddenly switches to every other morning, you might be constipated. Because irregularity can be so uncomfortable — and a sign of a concerning health condition — make an appointment with Dr. Shamsi.
Constipation might mean that you’re just not “going” as often as you usually do. It might also mean that you’re passing hard, dry stools, or both. Your constipation can be caused by:
Chronic constipation isn’t always a major concern, especially if dietary changes help move your bowels. On the other hand, acute or sudden constipation can sometimes be a big concern because it’s signalling that something in your body is off. While it might just be dietary — like consuming a fiber-rich salad when you don’t usually eat a lot of veggies — it can sometimes be a sign of something more serious.
Tumors, for instance, can cause constipation. Because it can be tricky to determine if constipation is dietary or health related, keep an eye on other symptoms. If you’re having blood in your stools, severe abdominal pain that makes you double over, or start losing weight unexpectedly, make an appointment with Dr. Shamsi. He’ll also want to see you right away if your constipation is paired with vomiting or nausea.