Bowel habits are the time, amount, consistency and frequency of bowel movements. Occasional changes in our regular pattern happen to everyone from time to time. However, if these changes – constipation and/or diarrhea persist, it may indicate an underlying health problem.
Call your doctor if you are concerned about changes in your bowel habits or if these changes occur with any of the following:
- Constipation occurs suddenly
- Severe or sharp abdominal pain
- Blood in the stool or thin stools
- Unexplained weight loss
Some of the potential causes for changes in bowel habits include:
- Some medications
- Colorectal cancer
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis
Your gastroenterologist will conduct a thorough examination to determine the underlying cause of ongoing changes in bowel habits. Treatment will depend on the diagnosis.