Ask the Nurse

I do not have daily bowel movements, and I’m considered to be irregular. What I don’t understand is what that means for me. Does that mean that my body is not doing something properly and that I should be doing something to go at least once a day or am I fine? I am a black female, 32 years of age and just really started working out about a month ago.

Constipation is often based on an individual’s impression of their bowel function, which can vary from one person to another. Some people may report hard stools, small caliber of stools, difficult and/or infrequent defecation. Constipation can be defined as a stool frequency of less than three per week.

There are diagnostic criteria which define functional constipation, which should be further investigated with your primary provider. Keeping a daily diary can help define constipation more adequately. There can be multiple causes of constipation:

  • Side effects from medications
  • Diabetes
  • Dysfunction of nerves and muscles in the digestive tract

Initial management of constipation should include further evaluation with your primary provider who will provide you with:

  • Education
  • Suggest dietary changes
  • Suggest over-the-counter medicine
  • Prescribe use of other medications as deemed appropriate

All My Best,
Speaking of Women’s Health Nurse

March 29, 2013 at 1:11pm