It’s an embarrassing topic for many to talk about, which is exactly why we need to talk about it. Dealing with constipation or diarrhea might be easier than you imagine, and depending on symptoms, they might lead you to discover something new about your health.

The sooner we stand up to the toilet and take a good look at what the causes might be, the better it is for us.

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As always, a healthy lifestyle helps

Bowel issues are often caused by many aspects of your life and sometimes there are no immediately identifiable issues. To reduce your risk of being struck by them more often, set yourself some health goals that can alleviate any future issues. These goals include eating more fiber, drinking more fluids, getting more active, avoiding fatty and spicy foods, and drinking less alcohol.

Look before you eat

If the condition is intermittent, then there might be a chance that you have a food allergy or an intolerance. These can grow worse over time so the sooner you identify them, the better. A food diary and an elimination diet can help you narrow down foods that you might think are the culprit. Then, it’s a good idea to visit the doctor to get those suspicions confirmed. It might mean saying goodbye to some of your favorite foods but that’s better than spending all day on the toilet.

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Look deeper

It might not necessarily be that specific foods are causing these problems to keep coming back. Rather, if you also suffer from bloating, stomach aches, and gas on a regular basis, you might have gut health trouble. Irritable bowel treatment can help you not only alleviate the symptoms but address the underlying issues like the balance of good-to-bad bacteria in your stomach. Getting an IBS diagnosis can also help you avoid the foods and habits that cause said symptoms to flare up.

If you’ve just seen the doctor

If you’ve recently been to the doctor and you’ve been prescribed major changes to your diet or to your medication, then that may be the cause. There are many medicines that cause constipation and diarrhea. These range from antacids and prescription painkillers to antipsychotics and blood pressure controlling drugs. If your side-effects get worse over time or you need trouble managing them, don’t ignore them. 

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When to see the doctor

Diarrhea and constipation can also be symptoms of serious problems that might need immediate treatment such as severe food poisoning, appendicitis, or salmonella poisoning. Constipation becomes an emergency, for instance, when you are unable to pass gas, are experiencing severe pain, vomiting or seeing serious stomach bloating. The same goes for diarrhea when experienced for over three days. If you’ve been swimming in the wild, have a new pet, or if you’ve been camping recently, it could be a sign of something like giardia.

There are a lot of causes for diarrhea and constipation and many of them will pass in time or with new lifestyle habits. But don’t assume it’s always safe to ignore. It could be the early warning sign you need to head off a threatening condition.

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