Constipation

Advanced Digestive Care

Gastroenterologists located in Clearwater, FL

Constipation isn’t usually a symptom of a serious health problem, but it definitely is a condition that’s uncomfortable, unpleasant, and sometimes horribly painful. If you’re experiencing regular attacks of constipation, the team at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, Florida, has the expertise to diagnose the cause and find the right treatment. For fast and effective relief from constipation, call Advanced Digestive Care today to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment using the online tool.

Constipation Q & A

What is constipation?

Constipation is a common problem where you find it difficult to empty your bowels because the stool is hard and dry. Having constipation makes you strain on the toilet trying to pass these stools, and this is often distressingly uncomfortable.

The frequency with which you move your bowels varies for everyone, with diet playing a crucial role in how often you need to move your bowels. Although many people do move their bowels most days, many others only need to go every other day.

As long as you go regularly and your stools are a healthy shape, color, and consistency, there’s nothing to worry about. The odd bout of constipation shouldn’t be a cause for concern either, but if it becomes a chronic or frequently recurring problem, you should contact Advanced Digestive Care for advice.

What are the symptoms of constipation?

In addition to the difficulty of passing stools, constipation can cause:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Nausea and vomiting

The recurring urgency to pass stools and a repeated inability to pass them causes the stool to dry out and harden even more. If you manage to pass a large, hard stool at this point, it can cause tears in the anus as the stool moves through the anal sphincter. These tears bleed bright red blood and can be very painful.

If you’re still unable to pass the hardened stool, it can form a large mass that blocks the rectum completely. This is called a fecal impaction, which typically results in slight but uncontrollable leaking of fluid resembling diarrhea from behind the impaction. Fecal impaction can be extremely painful and distressing, and you need to call Advanced Digestive Care for help in shifting the impacted mass.

What causes constipation?

Constipation has many possible causes. Most often, constipation is due to diet and lifestyle issues such as:

  • Not drinking enough water
  • Nor getting enough exercise
  • Lack of fiber in the diet
  • Stress
  • Sitting for too long

Certain medications tend to cause constipation as one of their potential side effects. The powerful painkiller codeine is a typical example. Constipation can also arise when you have thyroid dysfunction, conditions like fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or some other form of bowel disease.

What is the best way to treat constipation?

The best way to deal with constipation is to avoid it. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, increasing whole foods and fiber in your diet, and drinking more water every day are the best ways to prevent and combat occasional attacks of constipation.

If you’re experiencing a bout of constipation, you can buy over-the-counter stool softeners like lactulose or natural remedies like prune juice and cinnamon powder. If you think you need laxatives, speak to the team at Advanced Digestive Care to check what they recommend.

Fecal impactions can be harder to clear, and you may need to use suppositories to soften up the mass, or your doctor might need to help you remove the impaction manually.

If your constipation isn’t improving or you’re experiencing other symptoms, call Advanced Digestive Care for advice. Ring them today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.