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Constipation

Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland

Gastroenterologists located in New City, NY

While occasional constipation is normal for many people, chronic difficulties moving your bowels can cause health complications, like painful hemorrhoids and tears in your anus. At Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland in New City, New York, you can receive comprehensive care to address existing constipation issues and prevent problems from recurring. Learn more about treating chronic constipation today by calling the office or by requesting an appointment online now.

Constipation Q & A

What is constipation?

Constipation occurs when you have fewer bowel movements than usual, typically less than three a week, or if you’re finding it difficult to have a bowel movement due to hard stools for several weeks.

Difficulties include straining or feeling like you can’t pass all of your stool during a bowel movement. You may also feel like something is obstructing your rectum and preventing stool from passing.

Constipation is a symptom of another underlying issue and not a disease itself. While many people experience constipation on occasion, some may struggle with chronic difficulties passing stool.

What causes constipation?

The most common cause of constipation is stool moving through your digestive tract too slowly. This can result in stool becoming dry and hard, which is often difficult to pass. Other issues that may cause chronic constipation include:

  • Anal fissure
  • Low-fiber diet
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Weakened pelvic muscles

You may also develop chronic constipation due to underlying medical issues, like diabetes, thyroid disease, or a stroke.

Your risk factors for constipation increase as you get older or if you take certain medications, like narcotics and antidepressants. 

Without treatment, chronic constipation can lead to hemorrhoids, torn anal skin (anal fissure), or an accumulation of stool that sticks in your intestines.

How is constipation diagnosed?

During a physical exam, your Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland doctor evaluates your overall health and performs a digital rectal exam. They may also request blood tests to identify underlying medical issues, like a thyroid disorder.

A colonoscopy may also be useful in diagnosing the cause of chronic constipation. This test uses a flexible tube with an attached camera to explore the digestive tract.

What treatments are available for constipation?

Initially, you may benefit from lifestyle changes to reduce your symptoms and prevent constipation. This may include increasing fiber in your diet and staying physically active.

In some cases, your Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland doctor may recommend laxatives or stool softeners to make it easier to have a bowel movement. Also, prescription medications can draw water into your intestines to soften stool.

When other treatments can’t relieve a serious case of chronic constipation, your physician may recommend surgery. Surgical intervention is often necessary to correct a blockage or to repair anal fissures.

You don’t have to live with the struggle of chronic constipation. Schedule a consultation online today or call the office to learn more about treating constipation.