Constipation isn’t something most people talk about, but about 16% of American adults experience it regularly. The condition is even more common among adults 60 and older.
An occasional case of constipation is normal. It can be the simple result of long travel, illness, or pregnancy. Constipation can also be a result of taking certain medications, like antidepressants and pain medications. Lifestyle habits also contribute to your bowel situation.
If you live in the Greater Houston area and are struggling with constipation, seek care from our expert at GastroDoxs. Dr. Bharat Pothuri can help you manage your symptoms or ease its frequency.
We can also evaluate your symptoms to make sure constipation is not a sign of a more serious medical condition. Don’t just accept constipation as a normal state; here’s why you should set up an appointment today.
When you have difficulty passing stools, you have constipation. Specifically, it’s defined as:
If your bowel movements are soft, easy to pass, and leave you feeling “empty,” you have healthy bowel habits. It’s OK if you don’t poop every day.
Constipation accompanied by rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, and/or unexplained weight loss definitely should not be ignored. Constipation along with these symptoms could indicate a metabolic disorder, problems with intestinal function, cancer, bowel obstruction, or pelvic prolapse.
Constipation could also be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a common, uncomfortable condition that affects your digestive tract. Many people with IBS have diarrhea, others suffer constipation, and some people have both. You may also have abdominal pain, mucus in your stool, migraines, sleep problems, and fibromyalgia. IBS can’t be cured, but it can be managed with Dr. Pothuri’s care.
Even if constipation isn’t a sign of a larger problem, ignoring it can cause further health problems. You may develop uncomfortable hemorrhoids or tears in the skin around the anus (anal fissures), which result when you strain the skin and muscles of the anus and rectum.
Straining can also cause rectal prolapse. This condition happens when some of your intestinal lining pushes out from your anus. Another serious complication of untreated constipation is fecal impaction, which occurs when hard stool packs the intestine and rectum tightly. Then you’re unable to naturally push out this impacted stool.
Your daily habits can be the reason you have constipation. Dr. Pothuri recommends you eat enough fiber, mainly from food like whole grains and vegetables. If you need a fiber supplement, Dr. Pothuri can recommend one for you.
You should also make sure to drink plenty of water and stay active. Even a 20-30 minute daily walk can help keep your bowels moving.
Dr. Pothuri also advises you to pay attention to your body’s signals. Don’t put off using the bathroom when you need to pass stool – this only makes constipation worse.
If you make these lifestyle changes, but still struggle with constipation, Dr. Pothuri may recommend you trial mild laxatives. Stool softeners are the best place to begin, as they don’t affect your digestive tract. Rather, stool softeners help your stools absorb more water so they’re easier to pass.
If you’re bothered by constipation, contact GastroDoxs right away to rule out any serious causes. You’ll benefit from our expert management of your problem. Call our office in Cypress, Texas, or book an appointment online.