Persistent constipation should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by a physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment planIf you have difficulty moving your bowels you may be suffering with constipation. Constipation is when a person either moves their bowels infrequently, less than once every 3 days, or has to strain when passing stool. Persistent constipation should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by a physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan and to exclude a serious illness or condition.
There are many causes of constipation. The most common is simply poor eating habits. Many people don’t realize it but they are eating a low fiber diet, not taking in enough fluids or don’t get enough exercise.
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It is important to seek the medical advice from our NYC gastroenterologists, if there is a change in bowel habit or new development of constipation for a complete evaluation. You will likely need to be tested for the presence of blood in the stool and may need a colonoscopy to exclude colon cancer depending on your specific condition. However, constipation symptoms are usually able to be managed successfully with dietary and lifestyle changes (such as adequate fiber and fluid intake and physical activity). Laxatives and prescription medications are sometimes required and in some people with very severe constipation, further medical investigations and other treatments may be needed. Your gastroenterologist can formulate an effective treatment plan for you. It is important to seek the medical advice from our NYC gastroenterologists, if there is a change in bowel habit or new development of constipation for a complete evaluation.
Chronic constipation is defined as presence of two or more of the following:
- Straining during at least 25% of bowel movements
- Lumpy or hard stools in at least 25% of bowel movements
- Sensation of incomplete evacuations for at least 25% of bowel movements
- Sensation of anorectal blockage for at least 25% of bowel movements
- Manual manoeuvres to facilitate at least 25% of bowel movements
- Fewer than three bowel movements each week.
Your constipation may be caused by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
IBS has recurrent abdominal pain plus two or more of: (diagnostic criteria can change over time)
- Pain better from defecation
- Altered stool at the onset of pain
- Abdominal bloating
- Increased or decreased stools at the onset of pain
- A ‘never completely empty’ sensation after passing stool
- Passing mucus from the rectum
- Morning cluster of motions
- Constipation alternating with diarrhea
Other symptoms reported by patients with IBS:
- Fatigue (some IBS patients also have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)
- Unexplained insomnia or disturbed sleep patterns
- Susceptibility to colds, flus, sinusitis or post-nasal drip
- Allergic sensitivity
- Restless leg syndrome
- Gastric reflux
Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not definitive medical advice. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only trained gastroenterologists like our doctors can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
For more information about constipation treatments or to schedule an appointment with one of our NYC Gastroenterologists (GI doctors), please contact our Union Square/Chelsea, Midtown or Upper East Side NYC offices.
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