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Constipation Specialists in Concord, NC

What is Constipation?

Chronic constipation refers to infrequent bowel movements or the inability to pass stools that persist for several weeks or longer. Constipation is generally described as having fewer than three bowel movements a week. Though occasional constipation is very common, some people experience chronic constipation that can interfere with their ability to function normally.

Common Symptoms of Constipation

Signs and symptoms of chronic constipation include:

  • Passing fewer than three stools per week
  • Having lumpy or hard stools
  • Straining to have bowel movements

Common Causes of Constipation

Constipation most commonly occurs when stool moves too slowly through the digestive tract, causing it to become hard and dry. Dehydration and some medications can sometimes cause occasional constipation.

Chronic constipation may be caused by various digestive conditions, including Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and colon cancer. Sometimes, it can be the result of an intestinal obstruction or blockage. Conditions that affect fluid balance, including diabetes, may also cause constipation.

How To Get Diagnosed

Tests and procedures used to diagnose chronic constipation include:

  • Sigmoidoscopy – A procedure used to examine the rectum and lower colon
  • Colonoscopy – This enables your doctor to examine the entire colon
  • Colonic transit study – a procedure in which you swallow a capsule containing markers that monitor your intestinal function over several days

What is The Treatment For Constipation

Treatment for chronic constipation usually begins with diet and lifestyle changes, including increasing fiber intake, fluid (water) intake, and exercising most days of the week.

If constipation does not improve with these changes alone, your physician may recommend medications like fiber supplements or stool softeners. Other prescriptions may also be recommended to draw water into your intestines.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I move my bowels?

Most people move their bowels anywhere from three times a day to three times a week.

Is it normal to experience constipation?

Anyone can have the occasional bout of constipation, in which they do not pass stool for a day or have trouble passing stool now and then.

How do doctors define constipation?

Doctors typically define constipation as having fewer than three bowel movements per week.

When is constipation a serious condition?

Constipation may be a serious issue if you have not passed stool in three or more days, as the longer stool sits in the colon, the harder it becomes to pass.

Can I be constipated if I am having watery stools?

Yes! Severe constipation can cause a blockage in your bowel. Watery stool can leak around the blockage to cause diarrhea.

How can I treat constipation at home?

You can increase your intake of dietary fiber by eating more beans, broccoli, berries, avocados, whole grains, apples, and dried fruit. You may also gain relief by taking over-the-counter fiber supplements. Be sure to drink more water, as your body uses water as a natural lubricant for facilitating bowel movements.

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Contact Info

Northeast Digestive Health Center
1070 Vinehaven Drive NE
Concord, North Carolina 28025
Phone: (704)783-1840
Fax: (704)783-1850
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