Constipation Specialist in Houston TX
Constipation is when a person has difficulty passing stool (feces) due to difficulty with muscle contractions in the intestine. This can cause hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass, or long periods without being able to pass stool. It is generally defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week, or stools that are hard, dry, and difficult to pass. Depending on how often a bowel movement normally occurs will determine what is considered to be “infrequent” for each individual patient.
Symptoms of Constipation
Symptoms vary case by case but common signs of constipation include:
- Straining to have a bowel movement
- Having fewer than three bowel movements per week
- Hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass
- Feeling like you can’t completely empty your bowels
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Bloating and gas
- Reduced appetite
- Lack of energy
What Causes Constipation?
Constipation can be caused by a variety of factors, such as:
- Not having enough fiber in the diet: Fiber is crucial for stool to move through the intestines and prevent constipation.
- Inadequate water intake: Drinking plenty of fluids helps keep stool soft and prevents constipation.
- Changes in routine or diet: Traveling, starting a new diet, or changes in eating habits can result in temporary constipation.
- Lack of physical activity: Exercise helps move food through the intestines and prevent constipation.
- Hypothyroidism: This medical condition can decrease metabolism and lead to constipation.
- Medications: Some medications can cause constipation, including antidepressants and certain painkillers.
- Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement: When you feel like you need to go, it’s important to respond quickly. Ignoring the urge can lead to constipation.
How to Relieve Constipation
The best way to relieve constipation is to make sure you are eating a balanced diet with plenty of fiber and water, exercising regularly, and responding quickly to the urge to have a bowel movement. If you’re past the point of prevention, there are other treatments that can help relieve constipation.
- Fiber Supplements: Fiber supplements such as psyllium husk can help add bulk to the stool and make it easier to pass.
- Laxatives: Laxatives are medications used to stimulate bowel movements or soften the stool. They should only be used on a short-term basis, as they can become habit-forming.
- Stool Softeners: Stool softeners contain chemicals that draw water into the stool, making it easier to pass.
- Enemas: An enema is a procedure where fluid is inserted through the rectum to help stimulate a bowel movement.
- Probiotics: Probiotics are helpful bacteria found in supplement form that can help restore balance in the digestive system and promote regular bowel movements.
When to See a Doctor
It is important to see a doctor if your constipation persists or if you experience any other symptoms such as rectal bleeding, severe abdominal pain, or vomiting. Your doctor can determine the cause of your constipation and help you find the best treatment for it. In some cases, constipation may be a sign of an underlying medical condition, so it is important to seek professional help.
By following a healthy diet, drinking plenty of fluids, and getting regular physical activity, you can prevent and relieve constipation. If your constipation persists or if you experience any other symptoms such as rectal bleeding or severe abdominal pain, contact the experts at Allied Digestive. Schedule an appointment at our practice today by calling 832.912.4481 or fill out the form on this page.