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What Is Constipation?

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Constipation is properly defined as having less than three bowel motions per week. The frequency with which you “go” varies greatly from person to person. Some people have bowel motions multiple times each day, while others only have them once or twice per week. Whatever bowel movement pattern you have is unique and normal for you – as long as you don’t deviate too much from it.

 

Whatever your bowel pattern is, one thing is certain: the longer you wait to “go,” the more difficult it is for stool/poop to pass. Other characteristics that are commonly associated with constipation include:

-Your stools are firm and dry.

-Your bowel movements are uncomfortable, and passing stools is difficult.

-You have the impression that you haven’t completely empty your bowels.

Constipation can be caused by a variety of factors, including lifestyle choices, drugs, medical disorders, and pregnancy.

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Here are some other causes of constipation:

Consumption of low-fiber foods.

consuming insufficient amounts of water (dehydration).

Not obtaining enough physical activity.

Traveling, eating, or going to bed at various times are all examples of changes in your typical pattern.

consuming a lot of milk or cheese.

Stress.

resisting the urge to go to the bowel.

Medications

 

To determine the reason for my constipation, what lab tests and another medical testing might be performed?

 

Your doctor has the authority to prescribe no testing or a variety of tests and procedures. Your doctor’s judgment on which ones to prescribe is based on your symptoms, medical history, and overall health.

Blood and urine testing suggest hypothyroidism, anemia, and diabetic symptoms. Infection, inflammation, and cancer are all checked for in a stool sample.

To rule out other issues that could be causing your constipation, imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or a lower gastrointestinal tract series may be ordered.

Colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy: A colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that involves looking inside your colon with a scope. A tiny sample of tissue (biopsy) may be collected during this surgery to screen for cancer or other issues, and any polyps identified will be removed.

Colorectal transit studies entail taking a small quantity of a radioactive substance, either as a pill or as a meal, and then monitoring the amount of time and how the substance passes through your intestines.

Other bowel function tests may be ordered by your doctor to determine how well your anus and rectum hold and release feces. A specific type of x-ray (defecography) is used to rule out causes of outlet dysfunction and constipation, and a tiny balloon is inserted into the rectum (balloon expulsion test and anorectal manometry).

 

What is the treatment for constipation?

Self-care:

You can treat mild to moderate constipation at home in the majority of situations. Self-care begins with a review of what you eat and drink, followed by modifications.

Here are some suggestions to help you get rid of your constipation:

-Drink an extra two to four glasses of water each day. Caffeine-containing beverages and alcohol should be avoided because they can dehydrate you.

-Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other high-fiber foods. Reduce your intake of high-fat foods such as meat, eggs, and cheese.

-Prunes and/or bran cereal are good choices.

-Keep a diet journal and note which foods cause you to be constipated.

-Exercise and get moving.

-Examine your toilet-sitting technique. It may be easier to have a bowel movement if you raise your feet, lean back, or squat.

 

Review of medications and supplements:

Your doctor will assess your prescriptions and supplements in addition to self-care measures (if you take any). Constipation is a side effect of some of these products. If they do, your doctor may adjust your dose, move you to a different medication, or ask you to stop using the supplement. Do not stop using your drugs or supplements without first consulting your doctor.

 

Medications on prescription

Constipation can be treated with a few pharmaceutical medicines. Lubiprostone (Amitiza®), prucalopride (Prudac®, Motegrity®), plecanatide (Trulance®), lactulose (Cephulac®, Kristalose®), and linaclotide (Linzess®) are examples of these compounds. Based on the findings of your tests, your doctor will choose the drug that might work best for you.

 

Surgery

Constipation is rarely treated with surgery. If constipation is caused by a structural problem in the colon, your doctor may propose surgery. A blockage in the colon (intestinal obstruction), a narrowing in a segment of the intestine (intestinal stricture), a tear in the anus (anal fissure), or the collapse of part of the rectum into the vaginal canal are all examples of these issues (rectal prolapse). Surgery may be used to address some causes of outlet dysfunction constipation. This is best discussed when the tests have been completed. If cancer has been discovered in your colon, rectum, or anus, you may need surgery.

 

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