If your stools are hard or lumpy, and if you struggle to have even these unpleasant bowel movements, you may be suffering from constipation.
Relax. That can help, and so can changing lifestyle habits that fuel constipation. Dr. Ven Kottapallil of GI Physicians Inc in Lima, Ohio, can coach you on which changes will get you going again.
When and how you “go” is highly individual. Some people have three bowel movements a day, while others have three every few days. If your stools are soft and easy to pass, you’ve got no problem.
However, if things change, and you’re going to the bathroom less than usual, and your stool is hard and hard to pass, you may be suffering from constipation.
Here are some lifestyle causes of constipation.
- Consuming too little water or fiber, or overeating dairy
- Too much stress
- Too little exercise
- Holding it in when you have to go
- Having an eating disorder
- Certain medications like narcotics, antidepressants, and calcium or iron supplements
- Overusing laxatives, suppositories, or enemas
Some health problems can cause constipation, including inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal obstructions, and colon cancer. Even ailments that seem unrelated to digestion like hypothyroidism, diabetes, and Parkinson's, can lead to bowel evacuation problems. Pregnancy can also cause constipation.
Infrequent bowel movements can cause abdominal pain, cramping, feeling full even though you’ve eaten little, and pressure in the rectum. A back pain, poor appetite, and generally feeling unwell can accompany constipation.
Constipation might not seem like a big deal, but chronic constipation can wreck your day and your future. Complications like diverticular disease, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, rectal bleeding, and rectal prolapse can result from chronic constipation.
How to treat constipation
When you visit Dr. Kottapalli, he will determine the cause of your constipation through blood tests and evaluation for anemia. Electrolyte issues or thyroid problems, which he can detect through tests, also can cause constipation.
A special X-ray can be taken to assess the speed that waste travels through your colon, and a colonoscopy can examine the colon and rectum for tumors or other obstructions. Treatment is determined by what is causing your constipation. Sometimes, all you need to do is change your lifestyle habits, like adding more water and fiber to your diet.
If you're tired of suffering from constipation and are looking for relief, call Dr. Kottapallil at GI Physicians Inc at 419-419-5138, or request an appointment using our online tool.