Signs of Constipation
Generally, having three or fewer bowel movements over the course of a week means you are constipated. Other common symptoms of this condition include:
- Lumpy or hard stools
- Difficulty having a bowel movement
- Feeling like you did not pass everything
Patients with constipation may also have the feeling that there is a blockage preventing bowel movements. You likely have chronic constipation if you have experienced two or more of these symptoms for the last three months.
Why Do I Become Constipated?
There is a range of potential causes of constipation. The most common issue patients face is a slow-moving digestive tract. If waste moves too slowly or cannot be effectively eliminated, it can become hard and dry, making it more difficult to expel.
Other possible causes include:
- Lack of fiber
- Overuse of laxatives
- Certain medications
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Blockages in the colon or rectum, such as an anal fissure or colon cancer
- Resisting the urge to pass stools
- Neurological issues, such as Parkinson’s disease
- Eating disorders
- Underactive thyroid
- Muscular problems
A sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to constipation. During your appointment with our team, we can assess your symptoms and identify the cause of your issues.
There are a variety of tests we can perform at our offices to diagnose chronic constipation. If you are concerned about these tests, our staff anesthesiologist can provide sedation during the appointment to maintain your comfort. Some of the tests we commonly use to identify the cause of constipation include:
- Blood tests to identify systemic conditions
- Sigmoidoscopy to examine the rectum and lower colon
- Colonoscopy to examine the entire colon
- Colonic transit study to evaluate how food moves through the colon
In addition, we can test the muscles which control your bowel movements to reveal other issues, such as rectal prolapse.
Your Treatment Options
At Colon & Rectal Surgical Specialists of New York, we always strive to provide the most conservative treatment options possible to relieve your symptoms. In some cases, making simple changes to your lifestyle can relieve your constipation, such as increasing your fiber intake or exercising more frequently.
Our team can diagnose your issue and find an effective method for relieving your symptoms.
If these methods are not effective, we can recommend over-the-counter solutions or provide prescription medications to increase your regularity. In serious cases, we may recommend surgery, especially if your constipation is caused by a blockage or anal fissure.
Start Feeling Better
Chronic constipation can affect every aspect of your life and make daily activities more difficult. Our team can diagnose your issue and find an effective method of relieving your symptoms. Find out more about our constipation treatment options by contacting us online or calling one of our convenient office locations today.