Common GI Symptoms
Common GI Symptoms > Constipation and You
What is Constipation?
Constipation is a common problem with more than 10% of adults complaining of constipation.
Constipation is defined by infrequent bowel movements, typically <3 per week.
Patients may complain of the following associated symptoms:
What are the causes of constipation?
There are many causes of constipation that may range from dietary to drugs, to more worrisome conditions such as cancer of the colon:
Causes of Constipation
When to seek medical advice?
Worrisome features that require early medical attention include:
How would your doctor evaluate your constipation?
Your doctor would start by taking a detailed history and perform a physical examination to evaluate your constipation. The physical examination usually involves the doctor performing a rectal examination with a glove finger to evaluate for any masses.
Your doctor may then order a series of investigation (if relevant):
What can I do to help my constipation?
Firstly, daily bowel movements are NOT the norm or necessary for health. If you feel the urge to pass motion, go to the bathroom to open your bowel, don’t hold your motion unnecessarily.
Dietary changes that may help with constipation include:
What other interventions may my doctor prescribe?
Depending on the underlying cause of your constipation, your doctor may prescribe:
Biofeedback: these are techniques that teach patients to re-train and coordinate the muscles involve in passing motion to allow patients to pass stool more easily
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