If you struggle with constipation, you’re not alone. In fact, constipation is one of the most common reasons people seek care from a gastroenterologist, with 2.5 million people seeing their doctor for constipation each year.
While constipation is common, it doesn’t mean that you have to live with it. Our team — led by Ven Kottapalli, MD, CNSP — at GI Physicians, Inc. in Lima, Ohio, wants to help you get to the root cause of your constipation. So, here’s an explanation of constipation, the common causes, and how we treat it.
Constipation is defined as having less than three bowel movements per week; however, chronic constipation occurs when this persists for several weeks in a row. This can lead to extended periods of time straining and feeling like you can’t empty your bowels. It can even cause you to develop hemorrhoids.
Symptoms of constipation can include:
- Having dry and hard stools
- Belly bloating
- Feeling like there’s a blockage preventing bowel movements
- Feeling full, even after a bowel movement
You may also have pain and cramping or lose your appetite.
Common causes of constipation
While constipation can happen for many reasons such as dehydration or too little fiber in your diet, these are some common causes of constipation that we see:
- Bowel obstructions
- Bowel stricture
- Neurological problems such as Parkinson’s disease
- Certain medications
- Having trouble relaxing your pelvic muscles
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Colon or rectal cancer
Other factors like being an older adult, being a woman, or having a mental health condition can all put you at greater risk for constipation.
Because constipation can be a sign of a more serious condition, it’s important to seek care if you're regularly constipated. Our team can determine the cause and help you get the treatment you need.
Our team at GI Physicians, Inc. recommends starting with a conservative approach to treating your constipation before taking any other measures. We help you make some lifestyle changes by adjusting your diet to include more fiber and water and adding consistent amounts of exercise. Temporarily taking stool softeners or laxatives may also help to bring you some relief.
If these treatments don’t seem to work, our team recommends trying some pelvic floor training or even prescription-strength medication.
The end goal of any treatment is to provide you with lasting relief that gives you comfort and regularity in your bowel movements.
If you’re living with chronic constipation, don’t wait to seek treatment. Our team provides discreet and expert care to help get you the relief you need. To schedule an appointment to find the root cause of your constipation, contact our office by giving us a call or scheduling an appointment online today.