What Is Constipation?
Constipation is a very common condition that involves struggling to have a bowel movement or being unable to pass stool. Constipation usually is not serious; however, it can be uncomfortable and negatively impact one’s normal schedule for bowel movements. It can also be a symptom of a more serious, underlying condition.
It is likely constipation if it has been more than three days since a bowel movement, you are suddenly unable to pass stool or gas, stool is large, dry, hard, or lumpy, or you are in pain or straining during your attempts. After three days without a bowel movement, you should seek medical attention with the expert physicians at Gastroenterology of Westchester for more insight on treatment and to rule out more serious causes.
What Causes Constipation?
There are a wide variety of potential causes of constipation. Constipation can be caused by anxiety or depression, pregnancy, colon cancer, dietary changes, lack of fiber in the diet, excessive dairy consumption, side effects from medications, not drinking enough fluid, medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis, stress, under-active thyroid, waiting too long to have a bowel movement, or conditions that affect the nerves and muscles of the digestive system.
When Should I See a Doctor About Constipation?
It is important to seek medical attention if you have not had a bowel movement in three days and solutions such as over the counter stool softeners, laxatives, drinking more water, and adding more sources of fiber such as fruits and vegetables to your diet do not help the issue. Gastroenterology of Westchester also finds that it is a great idea to seek medical assistance if you have a sudden onset of constipation along with stomach pains, severe cramping, and an inability to pass gas or stool.
The doctors at Gastroenterology of Westchester can help by running tests to determine the cause of your constipation. This may involve a digital exam that checks for any blockages or other tests such as colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopy, or barium enema x-rays. After testing, the doctors will provide you with a customized treatment plan addressing your needs that will provide relief, treat the underlying issue causing constipation, and allow you to better manage the issue.