One of the many topics people do not like to talk about is human being’s bodily functions. These are uncomfortable topics because using the restroom is a very private and personal event. While it may seem like a social taboo, and a conversation best left away from the dining room table, going to the bathroom is a part of everyday life for every person.
It is no secret that many people would much rather use the restroom in their home to do their “business” than to do so in public settings such as work or school. But, sometimes the digestive system has its’ plan for which we sometimes have no control.
Many children in the school setting will hold their bowels when at school due to lack of comfort in that setting. The problem with this scenario is that they can become extremely constipated which can lead to unnecessary medical intervention and discomfort. The good news is that there are many books available for kids to read that help to remove the stigma of pooping. All one needs to do is perform a Google search and find books such as “Everyone Poops” or “I can’t, I won’t, No way,” just to name a few.
Adolescents and adults are sometimes no different in their bathroom habits. Sometimes there are pre-existing issues that make bowel movements difficult (constipation) such as dietary habits, medications (such as narcotics), inadequate water intake, increased age, and certain medical conditions. On the other hand, and equally as distressing is having loose and frequent stools (diarrhea). Many individuals know what they consider to be “normal” bowel patterns for them and anything outside that “normal” range can be distressing.
So why is this important you ask? Because your bodily functions can say a lot about your health, and while uncomfortable, you should share any bowel difficulties with your primary care provider. Constipation can sometimes be an indicator of medical issues such as bowel obstruction, bowel perforation (the tearing of the bowel), or impaction. Likewise, diarrhea can be a sign of infection, food allergy, Crohn’s disease, parasites, or irritable bowel syndrome just to name a few.
The good news is that there are ways that your provider can help diagnose whatever the issue(s) might be and there are several treatment options available to help deal with those bowel issues. So don’t be ashamed to talk to your primary care provider about issues like this. It’s all part of being a living human being.