Regularity: Just Enough of a Good Thing?
If you’re dealing with digestive issues, it sometimes can seem that you’re walking a tightrope between not enough bowel regularity and movements that are too frequent. If you’re experiencing the uncomfortable feeling of constipation, you can take medications or supplement your diet with fiber and certain lifestyle changes so as to encourage bowel movements.
Where and how do you draw the line? What’s “normal” in terms of regularity anyway?
Consult Your Doctor
First of all, if you think you’re ill — if you are suffering from constipation or diarrhea — you should schedule an appointment with the Upper East Side, NYC, gastroenterologist, Dr. Shawn Khodadadian. If your symptoms are happening in conjunction with other symptoms, this could be a much more serious condition than you may realize. Call Gastroenterology in New York to consult your doctor.
You may control your symptoms with over-the-counter medications, but this form of treatment is rarely a long term healthy solution. A gastroenterologist should exam you, asking the right questions, to make a qualified diagnosis. Only then, can effective treatment begin.
Constipation can include painful bowel movement or the feeling that you just can’t expel stool effectively. A New York City gastroenterologist can treat constipation by:
- Prescribing laxatives, lubricants, and/or stool softeners
- Prescribing other medications that encourage your digestive system to work correctly
- Recommending that you increase the fiber in your diet, sometimes to a specific threshold
- Recommending that you exercise more frequently and effectively
- Performing surgery in extreme cases only
You can try some over-the-counter remedies for diarrhea, but if you’ve been suffering from diarrhea that has persisted for longer than two or three days, you should seek medical help. Dr. Khodadadian can help by:
- Replacing the fluid you lost while restoring your electrolyte balance
- Discovering if your diarrhea is caused by your medications and changing them
- Helping you to make the right changes to your diet
- Putting you on antibiotics if they are needed
- Resolving the underlying medical problem, such as inflammatory bowel disease
How Regular Is Regular?
Each body has different needs. This can depend on diet, age, ethnicity, and history. For some people, one bowel movement a day is normal. For others, the number approaches three. Whatever is normal for you may not be normal for someone else. It’s usually obvious when you’re having more than the normal number of bowel movements in a day. It can be more challenging to notice constipation, but if it goes on long enough, it should become evident, especially with the other uncomfortable symptoms that accompany constipation, such as stomach cramps, incontinence and hemorrhoids.
Everyone experiences short-term constipation. If you have fewer than three bowel movements a week, however, this could be a sign of a serious condition. If the condition lasts longer than a week, seek medical help. Long-term constipation is not healthy.
On the other end of the spectrum is diarrhea. It’s never a pleasant experience. If not treated, it can dehydrate you. If you are suffering from diarrhea, drink plenty of fluids and seek medical attention if it lasts longer than a couple days.
Dr. Shawn Khodadadian, a best in class board certified Upper East Side NYC gastroenterologist (GI doctor). He is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions of the gastrointestinal tract, liver, pancreas and gall bladder.
Dr. Shawn Khodadadian
983 Park Ave, Ste 1D
New York, NY 10028