What is Constipation?
Constipation is the most common digestive symptom in the general population. It is infrequent, hard or lumpy bowel movements. Some patients feel the urge to strain, others have senation of incomplete evacuation. In a healthy GI system, muscle contractions move waste through the digestive tract. If this process is too slow, stool can become hard, dry, or difficult to expel. Occasional constipation is not unusual, but chronic constipation should be evaluated and treated.
Some factors that contribute to constipatin include poor dietary fiber intake, dehydration, medication effect, thyroid disease, sedentary lifestyle, pregnancy, neurologic conditions, IBS, electrolye abnormalities, and structural colonic abnormalities.
If constipation is chronic, severe, or refractory to increasing fiber intake, colonoscopy is recomended to evaluate the colon. Sometimes blood work is ordered to evaluate for thyroid disease or electrolye abnormalities.
Mild constipation can sometimes be remedied by increasing fiber or fluid consumption, and regular exercise. For significant constipation, there are stool softeners, laxatives, and stimulants that can improve symptoms.
If you experience symptoms of constipation, or have had a change in bowel habits, contact Dr.Ahmed’s office for evaluation and treatment.