Oh, by the way ...what about my constipation?

January 1, 2007
Nanette F. Santoro, MD
Nanette F. Santoro, MD

Professor and E. Stewart Taylor Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora

Quite often, the expectation of what is 'normal' leads patients to question their own gastrointestinal physiology.

Defining 'normal' bowel function

Donna is a 46-year-old woman with a long history of severe endometriosis, for which she has had multiple surgeries. She is well-controlled with long-cycle oral contraceptives (OCs), and has just had a normal annual examination. As you prepare to leave the room, she says, "Oh, by the way...I get constipated a lot, particularly when I travel, and lately I've been taking a lot of business trips. What should I do?"

Basic bowel hygiene

What Donna needs is counseling on basic bowel hygiene. Advise her to: