Treatment for Constipation in NYC

What is constipation?

Constipation is a fairly common condition that is characterized by the inability or difficulty with bowel movements. While every person varies in their bowel movement frequency, most healthy individuals will have anywhere from one to three movements per day. In some cases, bowel movements might be as infrequent as a few times per week, but could still be considered regular and healthy. As a general rule, whenever you fail to “go” for more than three days in a row, it is known as constipation. Any time the bowel movement remains inside the intestines for that long, they can harden and become painful to pass.

How often should I have a bowel movement?

Despite common conceptions, it is not necessary to have at least one bowel movement every day. Nor is it hazardous to your health to go less frequently than others. In fact, it is often far more damaging to overuse or abuse laxatives than to simply wait for your body to naturally expel the waste.

How serious is constipation to my health?

Constipation can be very uncomfortable and sometimes painful, however, the condition itself is not usually serious. In some cases, however, constipation could be an early sign of a serious disorder. Any time constipation occurs with other, serious symptoms, such as bloody stools, loss of stool control, discolored stools, or liquid in stools, it is important to discuss your condition with a physician. In addition, chronic constipation can lead to other problems long-term, so it is best to speak with a professional any time you have a concern.

What do I need to know about constipation?

Some basics about constipation and how to avoid it include the following:

  • Eat a balanced, nutritional diet that contains unprocessed foods, grains, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Exercise routinely.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Give yourself uninterrupted time for bathroom breaks following meals.
  • Do not ignore the need to use the restroom.
  • Only use laxatives on occasion.
  • Seek medical help if you experience problems with constipation or if you have any change in your bowel movement habits for longer than three weeks.

What causes constipation?

Constipation is caused by a number of different conditions, as it is a symptom itself, rather than a unique condition on its own. It might be caused by any of the following common causes of constipation:

Poor Eating Habits

One of the main causes of constipation is eating a diet that is very high in animal fat and refined sugar. This includes eggs, dairy, meat products, and sweets. Instead, a healthy individual should eat meals that are balanced and include fiber. Foods that provide the body with fiber include vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. These foods promote bowel movements and intestinal health. In addition, drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated is key to regular bowel movements and colon health.

IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS, sometimes called a spastic colon, is another common cause of constipation, causing the intestine to slow down the rate that contents can pass through it.

Laxative Overuse/Abuse

Your body can eventually develop a dependency on laxatives when you take them too frequently. In these cases, the intestine becomes desensitized and fails to work normally.

Poor Bowel Movement Habits

When someone ignores the urge to use the restroom, it can lead to what is called progressive constipation. Ignoring the body’s signal to “go,” whether it is to avoid using a guest or public toilet or because you are busy, can eventually cause the body to stop giving these signals.

Travel

Constipation is often triggered by changes in lifestyle, like diet, schedule, and water consumption. These tend to change most dramatically when traveling.

Diseases and Underlying Health Issues

There are numerous health problems, including fissures, hemorrhoids, multiple sclerosis, stroke, Parkinson’s, which can cause constipation in addition to other symptoms.

How is constipation diagnosed?

Your doctor can perform testing to find out what exactly is causing your constipation so you can begin the best treatment for your situation. Some of the diagnostic testing that can be used to rule out underlying disorders include:

  • Blood testing
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Conoloscopy

We also offer highly specialized diagnostic testing options when more detailed analysis of the colon is needed.

How is constipation treated?

Usually, simple education about what is a “normal” bowel movement and frequency, coupled with lifestyle and diet modifications, is the only necessary treatment for constipation. However, when constipation is the side effect of something more serious, treatment might be more complex. For example, if constipation is caused by a hormonal problem, a patient may be recommended to undergo hormone replacement therapy. In most cases, laxative use is a last resort treatment, as it does not usually fix the underlying diet, hydration, lifestyle, or medical problem.

For more information or to book an appointment with Gotham Medical Associates, call

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