Seemingly everyone deals with an occasional occurrence of constipation, but for some people, constipation can be an ongoing problem that impacts their quality of life. The expert gastroenterologist at Stomach Pain NY in Midtown East, New York City, has considerable experience in dealing with the causes of constipation, using a holistic approach that uncovers the cause of your condition and helps you make lifestyle changes to improve your digestive health. If you have chronic constipation, call Stomach Pain NY today to arrange a consultation, or use the online booking form.
What is constipation?
Constipation is something everyone experiences occasionally when they have difficulty passing stools that are dry and hard. Usually, constipation happens infrequently and typically develops because of something you ate, lack of water, or because you’ve been unwell. However, some people have chronic constipation, which can be distressing and extremely uncomfortable.
When the solid stool does come out, it can tear the anus and cause bleeding, and if the stool becomes very dry and hard, it can form a plug that’s called a fecal impaction. When constipation is this severe or occurs regularly, schedule a visit to the gastroenterology experts at Stomach Pain NY.
What causes constipation?
Constipation can develop for many reasons, but the most common cause is having insufficient fiber in your diet, particularly if you don’t drink enough water.
Other behavioral and lifestyle causes include:
- Changes in your diet
- Eating an excess of dairy products
- Being inactive
- Trying to hold back stools
- Laxative abuse
- A side effect of taking antidepressants or strong painkillers
- Taking iron pills or antacids containing calcium or aluminum
Constipation can also arise as a symptom or consequence of medical conditions such as:
- Eating disorders
- IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Nerve and muscle disorders in the digestive system
- Colon cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
Pregnancy often causes constipation, as well.
Avoiding constipation is often as basic as adopting a healthier lifestyle, with a fiber-rich diet, plenty of fruits and vegetables, regular exercise, and drinking lots of water every day.
What should I do if I’m constipated?
For mild, occasional episodes of constipation, you can use natural laxatives like prunes or over-the-counter laxatives to help soften the stools. If you’re experiencing constipation regularly or your constipation isn’t clearing within the first day, call Stomach Pain NY. You should also call if you’re experiencing other symptoms as well as constipation, such as:
- Stomach pain or cramping
- Not being able to pass any gas
- Unintended weight loss
- Blood in your stools
- Severe pain when you open your bowels
- Striking changes to the size, shape, or consistency of your stools
Making dietary and lifestyle changes and drinking more water are essential when treating constipation, but it’s also important that you find out if there are any underlying causes for your constipation so you can receive treatment for those conditions, too. You may need to undergo diagnostic testing, which could involve blood tests, muscle function tests, or a colonoscopy.
To book your appointment at Stomach Pain NY, call today or use the online tool.