Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates, P.A.
Gastroenterology & Hepatology located in Annapolis, MD, Kent Island, MD, Odenton, MD, Bowie, MD, Pasadena, MD & Greenbelt, MD
Being unable to have a bowel movement because of constipation isn't just frustrating; it can also be extremely uncomfortable. If you're experiencing constipation constantly or repeatedly, the experienced team at Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates, P.A. can help. At their office locations in Annapolis, Stevensville, Odenton, Bowie, and Pasadena, Maryland, the team can diagnose the underlying cause of your constipation and help you overcome it. Call the office nearest you to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.
Constipation Q & A
What is constipation?
Constipation occurs when your stool dries and hardens, making it difficult to have a bowel movement. You may not be able to push the hardened stool out very easily, and when it does come, it could tear the delicate anal tissues and cause rectal pain.
Severe cases of constipation can result in fecal impaction – the formation of a solid plug of stool that blocks your rectum. In most cases, though, constipation doesn't become such a serious problem.
The occasional bout of constipation is usually nothing to worry about and something everyone experiences. However, you should seek medical attention at Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates if your constipation is becoming a regular problem or you have a fecal impaction.
What are the causes of constipation?
The most recurrent causes of constipation are a diet lacking in fiber, not drinking enough water, or both. Other potential causes include dietary changes, eating too much dairy, getting too little exercise, and stress.
Medications like antidepressants, iron pills, strong painkillers such as codeine, and antacids containing calcium or aluminum can trigger a bout of constipation, and overuse of laxatives can make the problem worse.
In some cases, constipation is a symptom of a medical condition, such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Colon cancer
- Parkinson's disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- An eating disorder
Nerve and muscle disorders in your digestive system may lead to constipation, and women often suffer from constipation during pregnancy.
How do I resolve my constipation?
If you're experiencing a bout of constipation, natural laxatives can help, so you could try eating prunes or bran cereal. You should also increase your water intake.
You can use over-the-counter laxatives for infrequent episodes of constipation, but you shouldn't rely on such medications if you regularly suffer from constipation.
If you experience other symptoms along with constipation, you should call Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates for advice.
Warning signs to look out for include:
- Sudden constipation with abdominal pain or cramps
- Being unable to pass any gas
- Unintentional weight loss
- Blood in your stools
- Severe pain during a bowel movement
- Obvious changes in the appearance of your stool
- Symptoms that last more than two weeks
If your constipation doesn't improve after trying dietary changes and increasing your water intake, a provider at Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates can help. Your gastroenterologist can run blood tests and muscle function tests or perform a colonoscopy to see what's causing your constipation.
Find relief from painful constipation by calling Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates, P.A. today or book an appointment online.
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