Constipation is a common problem that affects everyone now and again, but if your constipation is severe or occurs regularly, you should get it checked out. Meade Edmunds, MD, and his team at Edmunds Gastroenterology in Knoxville, Tennessee, have extensive experience in the compassionate care of patients with constipation and provide effective forms of relief. If constipation is becoming a problem, call the office today or book an appointment online.
Constipation is a condition where the patient has difficulty with emptying the bowels. It’s a condition caused by many different things resulting in hard bowel movements or difficulty in passing bowel movements. Patients may think they’re constipated if they don’t have a bowel movement every day, but this is not true.
Constipation may be a sign of thyroid disease, colon motility problems, or a partial bowel blockage. Constipation often presents with symptoms of abdominal pain and bloating, rectal bleeding, or nausea and vomiting. Chronic constipation is diagnosed if a patient experiences the following for at least two weeks:
In some cases, constipation becomes so severe that the stool in your colon or rectum forms a solid mass called a fecal impaction, which can be very uncomfortable and almost impossible to shift without medical intervention. If you have fecal impaction you won’t pass any stools, but you may leak a diarrhea-like fluid from around the impaction, and experience nausea, shaking, and pain.
There are a variety of causes of constipation including:
Stress, prolonged sitting, and a change in medicines may also lead to constipation.
Bowel disease, such as constipation-predominant IBS, partial bowel blockage, and pelvic floor dysfunction, may also play a role in constipation. Thyroid disease and neurological disease often result in constipation as well.
Constipation can be prevented by increasing both fiber and fluid on a daily basis. Medicines, such as stool softeners or cinnamon powder, may also help prevent constipation. Laxatives may be prescribed and should be used only under the guidance of your physician.
If your constipation progresses to the point where you’re passing no stool, or if you develop nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or blood in your stool, you should seek medical attention immediately.
To get treatment for chronic constipation, call to schedule a consultation with Edmunds Gastroenterology today, or book an appointment online.
This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Please consult with your primary care physician or a specialist regarding your symptoms.