Constipation is a very common problem that affects people of all ages. It is usually not a serious condition. However, some serious health issues can present as constipation. So, you need to see a doctor for constipation on the following situations.
1. When simple constipation remedies are not helping
You have constipation, you tried different home remedies such as prunes, bananas, and castor oil. You have tried different brands of laxatives and stool softeners. You have also tried fibre supplements such as Metamucil. No improvement, still you are having the problem. Then go and see a doctor. You might have a serious medical issue.
2. When you have severe tummy pain and vomiting
You suddenly developed severe constipation, abdominal pain, and vomiting. These are symptoms of bowel obstruction. There are many causes for that. It could be due to twisted bowels, obstructed hernia, or bowel cancer. Don’t try any home remedies. Go straight away to the hospital.
The above symptoms in children are also a red flag. You should not ignore those symptoms. Getting immediate medical advice is important.
3. When you see dark blood in the stools
You have hard stools and you see some fresh blood (bright red) on the toilet paper. It usually suggests that you are having haemorrhoids. If you have dark red blood mixed with the stools, then you may be having a serious issue such as diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and colonic polyps.
4. See your doctor if you are constipated and losing weight
You are not on a weight loss diet. You are not doing intensive exercise to lose some kilos. Without doing anything, you are losing weight. You are also having difficulty in passing stools or altered bowel habits. Then you should seek medical advice.
5. If you are over 50 and having newly developed constipation
If you are over 50 years of age and having problems with passing stools, you should consider seeing a doctor. The main reason for that is, to exclude any serious medical conditions such as colorectal cancer.
6. If anyone in your family has bowel cancer
Bowel cancer runs in families. If someone in your family has bowel cancer at a younger age, you are at increased risk of getting it. Constipation is one of the symptoms of bowel cancer. So, having a consult with your general practitioner or a gastroenterologist is important.
7. If you have hair loss, heavy periods, and constipation
The above symptoms suggest that you are having an underactive thyroid. It is a common condition that can cause many serious complications. Just taking a laxative is not good enough. You need to have a blood test to check for thyroid function. If you have low thyroid function, you need thyroxine tablets, not laxatives.
8. If your constipation is due to medications
Some medications can cause severe constipation. Changing the medication may be a better option in some situations. The decision should be made with the advice of your doctor.
9. When you are pregnant
Constipation is quite common during pregnancy. It can be relieved by some simple remedies. However, some medications are not safe during pregnancy. If you are not sure what to take, see your doctor.
10. If you have any complications
You may be suffering from chronic constipation. It can cause many complications such as haemorrhoids, anal fissure, UTI and rectal prolapse. If you have any symptoms of these complications, see your doctor.