Your pharmacist can help
- Assess your problem and determine whether or not you need to see your doctor or if your problem can be resolved with over-the-counter (OTC) products;
- Determine which OTC medications are appropriate for your condition, considering other medications you may be taking and medical conditions you may have;
- Advise you on diet and lifestyle changes that you may need to make to reduce the symptoms of your gastrointestinal condition.
What is constipation?
What causes constipation?
- Medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome
- Low-fibre diet
- Not enough fluid in your diet
- Changes in your daily routine or lifestyle, particularly travel
- Long-term use of laxatives
- Ignoring the urge to “go”
- Use of certain medications, including:
- Antacids containing aluminum and calcium
- Medications for Parkinson’s disease
- Pain medications
- Iron supplements
- Diuretics (water pills)
- Blood pressure medications
- Seizure medications
- Eat more fibre – aim for 26-35 grams daily
- Sources of fibre include wheat bran, whole-wheat breads and pastas, bran cereal, brown rice, unpeeled fruits and vegetables, and dried fruits such as prunes
- Increase your fluid intake so that you are drinking about 8 glasses (2 litres) of water a day.
- Increase your level of physical activity
- Don’t focus too much on having a bowel movement
- Avoid liquids containing caffeine and alcohol, as these can cause dehydration
- If you are taking medication that may be causing constipation, talk with the Pharmacist at Walmart
- Bulk-forming laxatives add bulk to the stool to promote bowel movements
- Lubricant laxatives help soften the stool and ease passage of feces through intestines
- Hyperosmotic or osmotic laxatives draw water into stool from surrounding body tissue to keep stool soft
- Stimulant laxatives promote bowel movements by muscle contractions in the intestine
- Emollients (stool-softeners) help by mixing liquid with the stool to prevent dry hard stools
What is heartburn?
- Foods that trigger symptoms will vary. Some foods to avoid:
- Fatty foods
- Spicy foods
- Managing protein size and eating smaller, more frequent meals may also help
- If you are overweight, losing weight can help
- Avoid lying down right after eating; stop eating at least 2-3 hours before bedtime
- Try elevating the head of your bed. Don’t elevate your upper body with pillows
- Quit smoking, as nicotine can worsen heartburn
- Medications that neutralize acid; these include over-the-counter antacids.
- Medications that prevent acid from being made, which include histamine receptor blockers (H2RAs) and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Some are available over-the-counter and some by prescription.
When to see your doctor
- Discomfort with chest pain that radiates to the back, neck, jaw, or left shoulder/arm (may include heart attack)
- Blood in your stool or vomit
- Trouble swallowing or painful swallowing
- Unexplained weight loss or tiredness
This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.