Constipation is a fact of life for most of us, striking for any number of reasons, from temporary dehydration to simple nerves. But ongoing problems with constipation that cause a good deal of physical discomfort and stress is another kettle of fish that will benefit from our help.
At Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center, under the compassionate and experienced care of Dr. Betsy Clemens, we specialize in anorectal disorders. Anal discomfort of any kind has a way of overshadowing your quality of life, which is why we offer specialized medical care to patients in the community of Creve Coeur, Missouri.
If you’re experiencing problems with constipation, and you’re unsure whether you should seek medical care, here’s some information to help you make an informed decision.
What is constipation?
Constipation isn’t a medical condition, but a symptom of another issue, and we’ll get to those in a minute. To better understand what we’re talking about when we say constipation, we define it as infrequent bowel movements and trouble passing stool during your bowel movement.
Infrequent typically means less than three bowel movements per week, which can persist for weeks, months, and even years.
You may also feel like there’s something blocking your stool, and you have to strain to pass even the smallest amount.
The end result is that you’re left feeling bloated and uncomfortable, and maybe even in pain.
The potential causes of constipation
There are many different medical problems and conditions that can lead to constipation, including:
- Anal fissures
- Neurological problems, like Parkinson’s disease or neuropathy
- Weakened anal muscles or muscles that fail to relax or contract properly
- Certain medications, such as painkillers
- Hormonal issues, like diabetes and pregnancy
- Organ prolapse
- Bowel obstruction
In less common cases, constipation can be caused by colorectal cancers.
Complications of constipation
Ongoing problems with constipation can lead to far more than increasing discomfort. As you strain to pass stool, hemorrhoids or anal fissures can develop, making matters far worse. In extreme cases, the excessive straining can lead to rectal prolapse, in which your rectum protrudes from your anus.
You can also become impacted as the stool hardens inside your intestines.
While our goal here isn’t to scare you unnecessarily, we simply want to emphasize the importance of early intervention so you can avoid these complications altogether.
If you’ve been struggling with constipation, we want to stress that we have effective solutions that offer a great deal of relief. And while we provide you with an appropriate treatment plan, we also perform a thorough evaluation to get to the underlying source of the problem.
In fact, we have a number of tests that we can run to determine where your problem may lie, from a simple blood test to more advanced testing of your anal muscles. We can also turn to minimally invasive laparoscopy to get a closer look at the internal structures to spot any potential problems.
By tackling your immediate problem with medications and lifestyle and diet changes, as well as treating the root of your constipation, our goal is to set you up for long-term success.
If you’re concerned about ongoing constipation, please give us a call at 636-228-3136 or request a call back using the button found on this website.