Abdominal Pain


Constipation results from not drinking enough fluids, not eating enough dietary fiber, not being active enough, and from misusing laxatives. Symptoms of constipation are:

  • a hard time passing stool, not being able to pass stool, and/or having very hard stools
  • straining to have a bowel movement
  • abdominal swelling or feeling of continued fullness after passing stool

Self Care for Constipation

  • at foods high in fiber: bran; whole-grain breads and cereals; and fresh fruits and vegetables
  • drink at least 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of water and other liquids every day; hot water, tea, or coffee may help stimulate the bowel
  • get plenty of exercise
  • don’t resist the urge to have a bowel movement
  • antacids and iron supplements can be binding; if you get constipated easily, discuss the use of these with your health care provider
  • Don’t use “stimulant” laxatives, such as Ex-Lax, or enemas without your provider’s okay. Long-term use of them can make you even more constipated and lead to a mineral imbalance and reduced nutrient absorption. If needed, take an over-the-counter bulk-forming laxative, such as Metamucil.

Menstrual Cramps in Females

Hormones cause the uterus to go into spasms. Premenstrual bloating increases the abdominal pain. Symptoms of menstrual cramps are:

  • mild to severe abdominal pain
  • back pain, fatigue, and/or diarrhea

Self Care for Menstrual Cramps

  • drink hot tea (regular, chamomile, or mint)
  • hold a heating pad or hot water bottle on your abdomen or lower back
  • take a warm bath
  • gently massage your abdomen
  • do mild exercises, such as yoga and walking
  • when you can, lie on your back and support your knees with a pillow
  • rest; avoid stress as your period approaches

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