Constipation

Constipation is passage of hard, dry bowel movements, or less frequent movements, often fewer than three times a week. People who are constipated may find it difficult and painful to have a bowel movement.

Helpful Resources: High Fiber Diet

Symptoms

Symptoms of constipation include:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Infrequent or hard bowel movements
  • Rectal pain or bleeding

Risk Factors

Risk factors for constipation include:

  • Inadequate intake of dietary fiber and/or water
  • Medications: for example, pain or high blood pressure medicines
  • Lack of exercise
  • Travel
  • Other medical problems

Treatment Options

Treatment options for individuals with constipation vary and may include the following:

  • Follow a special diet, high in fiber
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Take over-the-counter laxatives or stool softeners, as needed
  • Incorporate probiotics into your diet
  • Treat underlying medical conditions, if necessary

Diagnostic Testing

The foremost diagnostic “test” for any condition is a thorough exam and consultation with a physician, including a review of your individual and family history. In addition, your physician may recommend any of the following tests or procedures, which may provide further diagnostic value:

  • Anorectal manometry
  • Blood tests
  • Imaging tests (which may include one or more of the following: ultrasound, x-ray, CT scan, MRI scan)
  • Stool tests
  • Colonoscopy

Telehealth Appointments Available

All Capital Digestive Care physicians and advanced practice providers are offering "virtual" visits via telehealth. Call your doctor's office to schedule an appointment. For the health and safety of our patients and staff, we are limiting in-office appointments and endoscopy procedures to patients requiring urgent care. We encourage all individuals to practice everyday preventive actions and social-distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.