Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How can someone regulate their bowel movements?"
I feel like I don't have as many bowel movements as I should. What is a good way to regulate your bowel movements?
There are many different things you can do to try and have regular bowel movements. Having infrequent or hard bowel movements can definitely be a source of discomfort. However, before you start taking any medications, the best thing to do is to see your primary care physician to discuss your history and your concerns to make sure that there is no further testing that needs to be done. People have many different ideas about what 'regular' bowel movements mean, and sometimes other medical conditions can present as constipation. For that reason, before treating your constipation, you should make sure you see your regular doctor for an annual history and exam. When it comes to treating constipation, your food choices can make a difference. Eating plenty of fiber (whole grains and fruits and vegetables) and avoiding processed foods (refined sugars and flours) can help significantly. In addition, there are several different classes of medications that can also help you be more regular. Stool softeners (colace is a common one) can help prevent hard stools. Agents such as sennakot, dulcolax, and miralax can also assist with regular bowel movements. Finally, medications such as magnesium hydroxide or magnesium citrate can also be very helpful if you have not had a bowel movement in several days. Determining which medications are best for you should be done with the assistance of a physician.
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