Do You Have Recurring Constipation? Here’s How to Get Things Moving
It’s always a little tricky getting patients to talk about their bowel movements. The embarrassment factor often leads people to stay quiet and hope that any problem they may be experiencing will resolve on its own.
I’m here to tell you that there is no need to suffer in silence. Making sure that everything is working as it should is part of what we do here, and believe me, we’ve heard it all.
While it’s normal to get blocked up from time to time, if you are experiencing constipation that is long-lasting or keeps coming back, it’s time to see a Beverly Hills and Los Angeles gastroenterologist.
But before we get into the options for treatment, let’s talk about what constipation actually is and what causes it.
Constipation and Its Causes
The general guideline defines constipation as having fewer than three bowel movements in a week. This condition is considered chronic when it persists for more than a few weeks.
There are many things that can cause constipation. Among them are:
- Insufficient fiber or an otherwise poor diet
- Not enough physical activity
- Medications such as opioids and tricyclic antidepressants
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Bowel obstructions
- An underactive thyroid
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Hypercalcemia (abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood)
What to Do If You’re Constipated
The good news is, simple diet and lifestyle changes are often enough to effectively get your system back on track. If increasing your fiber intake and upping your physical activity doesn’t do the trick, then it’s wise to see a doctor.
It’s helpful to record and track your symptoms so your doctor can get a full picture of your health. Make note of any other issues you’re experiencing at the same time as your constipation, such as stomach pain, weight loss, fatigue, or hair loss. Include any medications you may be taking, as this helps the doctor determine whether blood tests are necessary to rule out certain conditions.
A colonoscopy may be recommended in order to assess the colon and large intestines, as the source of the constipation could be originating from there in the form of ulcers, irritable bowel disease, inflammation, or obstructions.
You Are Not Alone
Your gastroenterologist is your partner in restoring you to health, which includes normal and pain-free bowel function. Whether a simple lifestyle change is all that is needed to get things moving again or you require a more comprehensive treatment plan, your doctor is essential in getting you the help you need.
For more information, contact your Beverly Hills and Los Angeles gastroenterologist Dr. Davidson today to schedule a consultation.