Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How can I make myself have a bowel movement?"
I haven't had a bowel movement in three days. I don't eat very much but this is still really strange and my stomach is starting to cramp. What should I do? How do you make yourself have a bowel movement?
It sounds like you may be constipated. We diagnose people with constipation when it has been more than 3 days since their last bowel movement, or it has been much longer than it normally has. If you feel that you are really backed up and it has been longer than it is normally for you, then I would suggest trying actively to have a bowel movement. The first thing you can do is increase the amount of fiber that you are eating. This may mean switching to whole grain foods or buying fiber supplementation at the grocery store. You can also consider keeping your fluid intake higher. Some doctors prescribe over the counter stool softeners and laxatives. The ones that I prescribe for my patients are docusate (as a stool softener) and senna (as a laxative). This combination usually works fairly well. Of course there is no way to tell if your cramping is due to something else entirely. In order to make sure that something more serious isn't missed, I would suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she will want to listen to your symptoms and perform an abdominal exam. If constipation is suspected, then your doctor will have a great plan that may involve some of the above. Good luck, and please see your doctor soon.
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