Factors that may increase the risk of constipation.
Poor dietary habits.
Ignoring urges to pass stool.
Chronic use of laxatives and enemas.
Signs and symptoms of constipation.
Low back pain.
Abdominal fullness or discomfort.
Nausea or vomiting.
Difficult or infrequent passage of hard dry stool.
Measure to prevent constipation.
Increase fluids to at least 8 glasses per day.
Eat diet high in fiber (Provide "Fiber in Diet" handout.)
Avoid foods with white sugar, pasta, pastries, cheese, and rice.
Establish regular times for evacuations (usually after a meal).
Drink a warm liquid one-half hour before breakfast to stimulate bowel movement. (Provide "Bowel Restraining" handout.)
Sit in a modified squatting position for evacuations by placing feet on a stool.
Avoid laxative and enema abuse.
Remember that daily evacuations are not necessary.
Possible complications of constipation.
Stool impaction (liquid bowel movement may ooze around hard stool in the colon).
Bowel blockage (no stool passes and pain occurs).
Valsalva maneuver (may be caused by straining, causing a slowed pulse, decreased blood return, and increased venous pressure).