Gastroenterology Associates of Western Colorado
Masi Khaja, MD
Gastroenterologist located in Grand Junction, CO
Constipation is not only inconvenient; it can also cause severe discomfort and pain and may indicate there’s an underlying condition that needs attention. The expert team at Gastroenterology Associates of Western Colorado in Grand Junction, Colorado, can provide treatments to help your bowels return to normal, and get to the root cause of why you have constipation. If constipation is affecting your well-being, call the clinic today.
Constipation Q & A
What is constipation?
Constipation is a common problem caused by your stool hardening to the point that it’s difficult to pass normally. You typically have fewer bowel movements when you’re constipated as well. In severe cases, the hardened stool forms a solid plug called a fecal impaction, which requires medical attention.
Constipation is something that happens to everyone now and again, and for the most part, it isn’t due to serious medical issues. It can be extremely uncomfortable though, and painful when trying to pass hard stools.
Why would I get constipation?
There are many possible causes of constipation. The most common reason for becoming constipated is eating a low fiber diet, especially if you’re not drinking enough water as well. Other potential causes include:
- Dietary changes
- Eating too much dairy
- Trying to hold in your stools
- Laxative abuse
- Iron pills
- Strong painkillers
- Antacids containing calcium or aluminum
- Eating disorders
- IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Nerve and muscle disorders in the digestive system
- Colon cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
Making healthy changes to your diet, taking regular exercise, and ensuring you stay hydrated are the best ways to avoid constipation.
What should I do if I’m constipated?
If you’re struggling with a bout of constipation, try natural laxatives such as prunes and bran cereal, and drink more water. There are over-the-counter laxatives available that help soften stools so you can pass them more easily, but check with the team at Gastroenterology Associates of Western Colorado as to which type of laxative is most suitable for you.
You should also call the Gastroenterology Associates of Western Colorado team for advice if you experience:
- A sudden bout of constipation with abdominal pain or cramping
- An inability to pass any gas
- Unintended weight loss
- Bloody stools
- Severe pain when you open your bowels
- Dramatic changes in the size, shape, or consistency of your stool
- Constipation that lasts more than a couple of weeks
If you have problems with constipation that don’t improve after making changes to your diet and increasing fluid intake, it’s best to call Gastroenterology Associates of Western Colorado and arrange a consultation.
The gastroenterology team can run tests to see what’s behind your constipation, for example, blood tests to check your hormone levels, a colonoscopy to examine your colon and check for blockages, and muscle function tests.
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