Constipation can often be treated at home, by drinking more water and taking fiber supplements. Sometimes, you may need to take OTC laxatives, like stool softeners and bowel stimulants. If you often have constipation, you may need to take preventive steps like adding more fiber to your diet and regularly taking bulk fiber supplements.
See a healthcare provider if you haven’t had a bowel movement for 7 days and OTC laxatives are not helping.
You should also see a doctor If you frequently have constipation symptoms. Depending on your symptoms, you may be told to see a gastroenterologist—a doctor who specializes in digestive diseases.
You should go to the ER if you have not had a bowel movement for several days and you have pain in your abdomen or vomiting every time you eat or drink.
Medical tests & labs
If you just have constipation once in a while, your doctor won't recommend any tests. But if it happens often, they may want to do blood tests to make sure it’s not being caused by other conditions. They may also want to do a colonoscopy to check for underlying issues.
Depending on the results, a doctor will discuss with you the medications you should try and other ways to treat the problem.
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