What Is Constipation?

Constipation is characterized by less frequent bowel movements (fewer than three per week) or difficulty passing stool. This common issue can arise from various factors, including insufficient dietary fiber, inadequate hydration, and lack of physical activity. Additionally, underlying medical conditions and certain medications may contribute to constipation.
Treatment typically involves lifestyle modifications, such as dietary and exercise changes, and may incorporate non-prescription medications. However, for chronic constipation or cases failing to respond to these measures, medical intervention may be necessary. This could involve prescription medication adjustments or other therapies aimed at addressing underlying conditions contributing to the constipation.

Causes of Constipation?

Bowel movement patterns vary significantly between individuals, with a typical range of three times per day to three times per week. Understanding your personal baseline is crucial.
Constipation arises when stool transit through the large intestine (colon) slows down. This allows excessive water absorption from the stool, leading to hardened, dry stool that becomes difficult to pass.
Lifestyle factors contributing to slow stool movement include:
  • Insufficient fluid intake.
  • Low dietary fiber intake.
  • Lack of regular exercise.
  • Ignoring the urge to defecate.
Certain medications, especially opioid pain relievers, can also cause constipation. Other medicines associated with constipation include those used for:
  • Pain management.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Nervous system disorders.
Pelvic floor muscle problems:
  • These muscles support organs at the torso’s base and play a crucial role in passing stool. Weak or poorly coordinated pelvic floor muscles can lead to chronic constipation.
  • Damage or tissue changes in the colon or rectum can obstruct stool passage. Tumors in these areas can also cause blockages.

Symptoms of Constipation?

  • Fewer than three stools a week.
  • Hard, dry or lumpy stools.
  • Straining or pain when passing stools.
  • A feeling that not all stool has passed.
  • A feeling that the rectum is blocked.
  • The need to use a finger to pass stool.

Diagnosis of Constipation?

  • Lab Tests
  • Endoscopy
  • Imaging Test
  • Test of Stool Movements
  • Test of Rectum and Anus

Treatment of Constipation?

Treatment for constipation usually begins with diet and lifestyle changes meant to increase the speed at which stool moves through the colon. Also, your health care professional may change the medicines you take if they may be causing or worsening constipation. If those changes don’t help, other treatments may be necessary.
“Thank you for visiting Forest Hills Gastroenterology & Liver Disease, my goal is to treat my patients in a highly personalized manner and I am dedicated to give you the utmost attention and respect that you deserve. For more infromation on this disease or to schedule a consultation with me, please give us a call or book a tele-health appointment online.”

Albert Shalomov

Dr. Albert Shalomov, MD