Should I See A Gastroenterologist If I Have Chronic Constipation?
Should I see a Gastroenterologist if I have chronic constipation? Turn on your TV and you’re bound to see endless ads espousing relief from constipation. Companies wouldn’t be spending that much money if constipation wasn’t a common problem, but there’s a difference between occasional constipation and a more serious concern – chronic constipation.
Defining Chronic Constipation
Chronic constipation is a more serious condition than just feeling constipated once in a while, and it shouldn’t be ignored.
Chronic constipation seems to be more common in women as they age, and it includes the following:
- Having fewer than 3 bowel movements a week
- Having lumpy hard stools that are difficult to pass
- A feeling that you haven’t finished going
- Straining to go more than 25% of the time
If this is you, make an appointment with Digestive Health Services to find out the cause. If left untreated, chronic constipation can lead to worsening hemorrhoids, bleeding, small tears called anal fissures, or ulcers in the colon cased by stools that sit too long.
Finding The Cause Of Chronic Constipation
Occasional constipation can be caused by not eating enough fiber or not drinking enough liquids. Sometimes medications are the culprit like anti-depressants and opioid pain relievers. Exercise of some kind is important to keep your system “moving.”
When these issues are not the reason, seeing a gastroenterologist can help you discover what is ultimately causing your constipation, and it may be something health related.
Underlying Health Related Causes Of Chronic Constipation
There are several health conditions that can cause constipation.
Diabetes causes high blood sugar levels which in turn can lead to diabetic neuropathy or nerve damage. When nerves in the digestive tract are damaged, it results in constipation.
This thyroid condition causes your body and metabolism to slow down, including digestion. Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid gland which causes many other symptoms including fatigue and dry skin plus many others.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Besides constipation, signs of IBS include excessive flatulence, bloating, including abdominal pain and cramping.
Worry, irritability, restlessness, insomnia and difficulty concentrating are all signs of anxiety which can affect your digestive system and cause chronic constipation.
Depression, pregnancy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, and bowel cancer are just some of the other health related causes of chronic constipation.
You don’t have to live with constipation. Once you find out the cause, you can begin treatment.