How to get rid of constipation?

Have you ever experienced such a bad case of constipation that you considered going to the ER? Don’t be embarrassed. A growing number of Americans have made that trip, according to a recent report in The American Journal of Gastroenterology.

After collecting data from more than 950 U.S. hospitals, researchers found the number of emergency room visits related to constipation rose from nearly 500,000 in 2006 to more than 700,000 in 2011, an increase of 41 percent.

In addition to the growing number of constipation-related ER visits, patient costs rose by more than 50 percent.

Of all age groups, younger and senior patients suffered the most. A 2006 study shows that infants under age 1 visited the ER most frequently, followed by geriatric patients above age 84.

Alarmingly, the number of children ages 1-17 in need of ER treatment increased over 50 percent from 2006-11. This group also represented the second largest age group making ER-related visits due to constipation.

These recent numbers certainly add to the 2.5 million visits patients making visits to their doctors or gastroenterologists for constipation, as cited by the American College of Gastroenterology.

What You Can Do About It

As mentioned before in this space, the lack of a hard-and-fast definition for constipation can be a problem. Although it’s often described as the inability to have regular bowel movements, your regularity may vary depending on your diet, exercise levels and age.

According to the Mayo Clinic, other signs that you or a loved one may be suffering from constipation could be:

  • Straining to complete a bowel movement.
  • Feeling a blockage that prevents a bowel movement.
  • Producing lumpy or hard stools.
  • Needing help (pressing on your abdomen) to finish a bowel movement.

Medical experts say the underlying causes of constipation could range from medication side effects to hormonal issues and serious diseases such as multiple sclerosis, colon cancer and diabetes.

Fortunately, many cases of constipation are easily treatable by following these common steps:

  • Keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Be sure to incorporate more fiber-rich foods into your daily diet.
  • Stop sedentary living and get moving with a little exercise every day.
  • Schedule plenty of time in the bathroom to complete a bowel movement.
  • Take a probiotic with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic or EndoMune Junior (for kids).

If these simple steps do not relieve your constipation problems, please make an appointment with your primary care physician. Doing so could prevent a painful trip to the ER.