pic

Constipation Specialist

Constipation

Constipation services offered in South Bend, Plymouth and LaPorte, IN

No one ever thinks they'll end up seeing a doctor for constipation, but this common problem often causes severe discomfort and can lead to complications like hemorrhoids and fecal impaction. The board-certified gastroenterologists at Michiana Gastroenterology, Inc have helped many patients overcome constipation and prevent future problems. To schedule an appointment, call the nearest office today. They have four convenient offices, in La Porte and Plymouth, Indiana, and on Generations Drive in South Bend, Indiana, and in The South Bend Clinic on North Eddy Street. 


Constipation Q & A

What is constipation?

Constipation is broadly defined as having fewer than three bowel movements a week. However, everyone has different bowel habits. As a result, constipation is different for each person.

Some people go to the bathroom once daily. Others may have several bowel movements daily or only a few each week. Constipation occurs when you have fewer bowel movements than normal and you have symptoms such as:

  • Hard, dry stools
  • Pain during bowel movements
  • Difficulty having a bowel movement
  • Straining to have a bowel movement
  • Feeling like you can't empty your bowels

Constipation can also cause abdominal cramping and bloating.

What causes constipation?

Constipation commonly occurs if you don't consume enough dietary fiber or fluids or you resist the urge to have a bowel movement. Many types of medications may also interfere with your bowel habits.

Health conditions that lead to constipation include:

  • Crohn's disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Blocked colon
  • Colon cancer
  • Underactive thyroid gland
  • Neurological conditions
  • Uncontrolled diabetes

Constipation is one of the top problems associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

When should I seek help for constipation?

Temporary changes in bowel habits are common when you pick up a stomach virus or eat something that doesn't agree with your digestive tract.

However, you should seek an evaluation if you have constipation that doesn't improve or experience any of the following symptoms:

 

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Black or bloody stool
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Bloated, rigid abdomen

 

Without treatment, constipation can lead to complications such as impacted stool, hemorrhoids, and anal fissures.

How is constipation treated?

The best treatment depends on the severity of your constipation. Your provider may recommend:

Dietary changes

In addition to relieving constipation, increasing your fluid and fiber consumption goes a long way toward preventing future problems.

Laxatives

Laxatives work different ways to help you have a bowel movement:

  • Bulk-forming laxatives (increase stool weight)
  • Osmotic laxatives (draw water from the colon into stool)
  • Lubricant laxatives (use mineral oil to soften stool)
  • Stimulant laxatives (trigger muscles that push stool through your colon)

Laxatives can cause side effects if they're not used properly.

Medications

Your provider may prescribe one of several types of medications that relieve constipation.

Enemas and suppositories

You may need an enema or suppository to help soften impacted stool. However, your provider may need to manually remove severely impacted stool, then follow-up with an enema.

Though no one likes to talk about constipation, you shouldn't hesitate to talk with a gastroenterologist. To schedule an appointment, call Michiana Gastroenterology, Inc, today.