I started being constipated last Wednesday, and ever since I have experienced severe pain and cannot walk straight. I have been experiencing severe headaches since then, as well. Do you have any suggestions and know how long the pain will last?
My first suggestion is to call your doctor.
It is true that cramps, gas pains and headaches can be signs of constipation. Sometimes the pain can be as agonizing as you describe it. But even though you may be suffering only from constipation and you don’t think that warrants seeing a doctor, any extreme symptoms such as these should be checked out. That is especially true if this represents a sudden deviation from your normal bowel habits.
Constipation is more like a symptom than a disease. It has many causes, among them some serious conditions, such as colon cancer, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Other factors that may cause or contribute to constipation include a low-fiber diet, poor diet, drinking too little water and other fluids, lack of exercise, poor bowel habits (including straining, forcing or ignoring the urge to move the bowels), certain medications, iron supplements, misuse of laxatives, pregnancy, hormonal changes and more.
The list of possible causes should give you several clues about what to do to alleviate the constipation. For constipation that is an ongoing problem, lifestyle changes, such as eating a high-fiber diet and getting regular exercise, are probably in order. If you feel you need immediate relief in the form of nonprescription medication, then I would suggest one of the psyllium-based fiber laxatives, the kind you mix with water. Be sure to read the label instructions carefully.
As to how long the pain will last, if it is caused by constipation then it’s a good guess that your discomfort will continue until the constipation is relieved.