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A 31-year-old female asked:

What can i do about infrequent small, hard--and incomplete-- bowel movements? i am a 66 year-old healthy woman who very rarely has a normal bowel movement. i eat a good balanced diet and take extra fiber supplements; i have tried stool softeners which onl

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Sheffield
Internal Medicine - Gastroenterology 36 years experience
On : On the surface this sounds like irritable bowel syndrome (ibs). This is a benign condition but the unfortunate thing is that ibs can mimic a lot of other bowel problems including diverticular disease and other lesions like colon cancer. Even without bleeding cancer is always possible in someone that has not been screened. There are treatments for ibs but before those treatments are tried anyone over age 50 should have colonoscopy as a screen for colon cancer. You can then embark on other therapies once you know there is nothing wrong in the colon itself. I recommend you see a gastroenterologist near you.
Dr. Christine Khandelwal
18 years experience
Add water to diet: You may have the fiber, but you need to increase water/flluid intake otherwise the fiber will bulk up stool too much. Look at other medications you are taking (calcium supplements) they cause constipation. Make sure you have had a colonoscopy as well.

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Last updated Nov 29, 2019


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