In America, over 2.5 million doctor’s visits are due to or related to constipation and over $700 million is spent on laxative products each year. Constipation is a common gastrointestinal problem. It is a symptom, not a disease.
What Is Constipation?
Constipation is medically defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week. However, a “normal” amount of bowel movements per week is defined on an individual basis. Thus, constipation is better defined as occurring when bowel movements become difficult or less frequent. During constipation, stool becomes hard, dry, small, and difficult to eliminate.
What Causes Constipation?
A variety of factors can cause Constipation, these include:
- Diet – inadequate fiber intake
- Medications – such as narcotics/ antidepressants
- Laxatives- chronic use/ over use
- Bacterial Overgrowth
- Colon Cancer
- Colon Obstructions
- Colon Motility Disorders
- Hormonal Disorders- such as hypothyroidism/ menstrual periods
Everyone tends to experience constipation at some period in their lives and although it is not usually serious, it can be a concern. If constipation has a sudden onset, persists for a long period of time, or continues to worsen, you need to see your Frisco,TX Gastroenterologist (GI).
Constipation is treated on a patient per patient basis, depending on the cause of the symptom. In order to rule out any serious medical conditions, your GI may want to perform tests or procedures. These may include:
- Abdominal CT Scans
- Blood Tests
- Transit/Motility Studies
Once the cause of the constipation is determined, your GI will likely be able to prescribe a treatment regimen which will enable you to go back to a symptom-free life.