My first poop askme!
February 26, 2013 3:42 PM   Subscribe

Do I have to go to the doctor?

Ok, so I've had the feeling that I am not completely emptying my bowels when I go to the bathroom. This has been going on since last Wednesday when during sex I suddenly felt uncomfortably constipated (vaginal sex, nothing at all went in my butt.) Sex stopped immediately. Sex was not rough or unusual and I doubt it is related. I have had bowel movements since then of normal consistency and diameter but much shorter in length
than usual. I often have the urge to go but nothing comes out. Other info:

-It is uncomfortable and once or twice it was cruampy. I am not in pain.

-I had food poisoning three days prior to the onset of the constipation. I was sick for one day with diarrhea and dry heaves.

-I gave up coffee a few weeks ago and my bowel movements have not been as regular but when I did go I felt like everything came out.

-I tried a glycerin suppository last night. The immediate effect was one small poop. I still feel like there is something stuck further up.

- I've tried senna tea and decaf coffee, both of which stimulated small bowel movements, but I still didn't feel empty.

So, my question: Is it possible I have impacted bowels even if I'm having relatively normal poops? Do have to go to the doctor? Is the doctor just going to tell me to go get something from the pharmacy that you guys could tell me about?

posted by fozzie_bear to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In my experience, women can have more problems with constipation, most likely due to hormones (before period, etc.), and I think the only thing that would happen if you went to the doctor would be you would get an enema (which you can perform yourself).
posted by KokuRyu at 3:49 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

You could feel like you need to poop without actually having to poop -- that's called tenesmus. When I've had it in the past, it's been caused by hemorrhoids.
posted by KathrynT at 3:49 PM on February 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Two things you don't mention that I would try before doctoring - fiber and LOTS of water.
posted by cecic at 3:50 PM on February 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Could you be pregnant? I felt like that very very early in my pregnancy, along with a weird feeling of "fullness" in my abdomen area.
posted by katypickle at 4:05 PM on February 26, 2013

Eat lentils for a couple of days....if it doesn't get a little more regular then maybe see a doctor.
posted by fromageball at 4:10 PM on February 26, 2013

I wonder if it might be a muscle strain - that seemed to be the cause of some similar symptoms I had, which have very slowly abated.

If you want to seriously get your guts checked out, you can have a gastroenterologist do a full scope. I was offered this but declined - the gastro doc said he often had people come in with what feels like issues with their guts but are really muscle type things.

Good luck.
posted by a puppet made of socks at 5:01 PM on February 26, 2013

I feel your GI pain, fozzie_bear - I myself have been there often. I've found that eating a boatload of oat bran (in whatever format you can tolerate - as a hot cereal, as a muffin, whatevs) and also drinking strong, hot coffee with a decent shot of fat in it (heavy cream, chocolate, etc.) ought to blast things free.
posted by julthumbscrew at 5:23 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Agree with cecic. Get some Citrucel (it's kinda expensive but worth it) and drink a lot of water. Your body also might still be regulating itself from being sick. If you aren't feeling better after a few days, go to an internal medicine specialist or even better a gastroenterologist* (tummy doctor)

*Yes, they will probably do a rectal exam. No, it's not that bad.
posted by radioamy at 6:48 PM on February 26, 2013

You may be missing the coffee. It can do bad things to some people's GI tract, but my GI tract went from problematic to marvelously healthy when I became a regular coffee drinker. Some of us just need some help.
posted by PCup at 7:30 PM on February 26, 2013

Psyllium husks are an excellent source of fiber. It's the working ingredient in those bright orange fiber beverages. Or you could try prunes. But I would go with the psyllium husks; you should be able to find them at a natural foods store for cheap.
posted by aniola at 9:32 AM on February 27, 2013

Well, my issue has resolved on its own since I posted the question. I think KathrynT had it--tenesmus--based on what I read about the condition. I sometimes have IBS symptoms; perhaps this is an exciting new one to add to the list. I'll keep the muscle strain theory in mind too. Thank you all.
posted by fozzie_bear at 5:02 PM on March 1, 2013

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