Constipation can happen due to dietary changes, medications, or age, but usually these bouts are temporary and you resume a normal bathroom routine within a few days or weeks. However, some cases of constipation persist for a month or longer and interfere with your comfort and quality of life.
Constipation doesn’t have a strict definition; the definition depends very much on the individual. Some people have once or twice daily bowel movements, others have them just three times a week. If your bowel habits change notably and you’re having far fewer bowel movements than usual, stools are hard to pass, and when they do pass, they’re quite hard, you have constipation.
Constipation isn’t a disease. It’s a symptom of something going on in your system. At GastroDoxs, Dr. Pothuri evaluates your constipation, and if moderate interventions such as dietary changes don’t help, he may run specific tests to rule out a serious cause. If you’re constipated and worried about your digestive health, call our office today.
How do I know I’m constipated?
Dr. Pothuri poses the following questions if you’re concerned about your bowel habits:
- Are stools lumpy or hard and difficult to pass?
- Do you have fewer than three bowel movements per week?
- Do you feel bloated and like you haven’t fully emptied your bowels?
If your answer to any of these questions is a resounding “yes,” you’re likely constipated.
Constipation becomes more common as you get older, but it can strike anyone at any age who:
- Uses too many laxatives – which causes your body to stop working well on its own
- Is sedentary
- Holds back bowel movements often
- Has certain medical conditions – such as stroke or diabetes
- Is using certain antacids, antidepressants, iron supplements, or painkillers
Can I solve constipation on my own?
In many cases, constipation may be resolved with just a few lifestyle changes.
You can add more fiber to your diet in the form of fresh produce, whole grains, and dried fruits.
It helps to stay hydrated, too. When you drink enough water, your stool becomes softer and easier to pass.
Adding more physical activity also helps with constipation because exercise revs up your digestive tract along with other bodily systems.
Should I see a doctor?
If constipation is chronic and interfering with your daily life, it’s a good idea to call GastroDoxs for an evaluation to rule out any serious problems. If you find that lifestyle changes have no effect on your constipation, contact us, too.
Don’t wait for lifestyle changes to take effect if you have any of the following symptoms along with constipation:
- Blood in your stool
- Unintended weight loss
- Serious stomach pains
Chronic constipation can be an early sign of a serious condition, such as colon cancer. Other physical problems cause constipation, including Parkinson’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, hypothyroidism, and diabetes. When these diseases are controlled with proper medical management, constipation often resolves.
If you’re bothered by infrequent bowel movements or stool that’s hard to pass, call our GastroDoxs office in Cypress, Texas, or schedule an appointment online. Dr. Pothuri reviews your symptoms, your medical and family history, and performs screening tests to get at the root of your problem and help you find relief.