Constipation: Digestive Care Physicians feel your pain
Constipation is a digestive disorder in which a person experiences difficulty in performing bowel movements or cannot perform them altogether. Constipation is a moderate disorder; however, it can lead to complications that cause serious discomfort if not resolved in a timely manner. Constipation is also characterized by hardened fecal matter, bloating, cramping, and frequent stomach pains.
As gastroenterologists, Dr. Singh, Dr. Rashbaum, Dr. Nitin Parikh, and Dr. Long B. Nguyen have years of experience treating conditions such as constipation and are authorities on the digestive process, complications that occur within it, and how to alleviate problems of digestion.
- Infrequent bowel movements
- Straining to have bowel movements
- Hard and/or small stools
- Sense of incomplete evacuation after bowel movements
- Lower abdominal discomfort
- Abdominal bloating
- Anal bleeding or fissures from the trauma caused by hard stools
- Occasionally diarrhea due to obstruction of the colon by hard stool
- Psychological distress and/or obsession with having bowel movements
Causes of Constipation
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Colon cancer
- Narcotic pain medication
- Iron supplements
- Calcium channel blocking drugs
- Low fiber diet
- Hormonal disorders
- Colonic inertia
- Obstruction of the bowel
- Laxative abuse
Treatment and Testing
There are many treatments for constipation that usually begin with diet and lifestyle changes to increase the speed at which stool moves through the intestines. Laxatives and over-the-counter medications can also alleviate constipation. Sometimes further testing is required to determine the root cause so that a treatment plan can be prescribed. Dr. Singh, Dr. Rashbaum, Dr. Nitin Parikh, Dr. Long B. Nguyen, Tammi D’Elena, PA-C; and Vanessa T. Dang, MSN, APRN; may recommend the following procedures:
The colon absorbs water from food residue. As food waste stays in the colon, it progressively loses water content. Eventually, the waste becomes dry and difficult to pass. Lifestyle changes are often the safest way to manage constipation:
- Drink plenty of fluids: Liquid helps keep your stool soft. Drink water or another fluid whenever you eat, and always have some water when you’re thirsty.
- Eat more fiber: Fiber helps bulk up and soften stool so that it passes smoothly through the digestive tract. Try beans, bran cereal, whole-wheat products, fruit and vegetables. To avoid problems with gas, add high-fiber foods to your diet slowly.
- Enjoy regular meals: Eating on a regular schedule promotes normal bowel function.
- Get physical: Exercise stimulates the intestinal muscles, which speeds the passage of food through your digestive tract.
- Heed nature’s call: The longer you delay going to the bathroom once you feel the urge, the harder and drier your stool becomes.
- Reduce stress: Stress can slow digestion.
Board certified physicians Dr. Singh, Dr. Rashbaum, Dr. Nitin Parikh, Dr. Long B. Nguyen, and providers Tammi D’Elena, PA-C; and Vanessa T. Dang, MSN, APRN care for patients in the north Atlanta, GA area including Alpharetta, GA; Johns Creek GA, Cumming GA; and Lawrenceville, GA. The In-House Endoscopy Suite at Digestive Care Physicians, is a certified facility which has achieved the highest level of accreditation by the Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). If you suffer from constipation or need a colorectal cancer screening, contact us at (770) 227-2222 to schedule an appointment.