Constipation: What is it, How does it Start and How to Treat it

Patients dealing with constipation or constipation-related issues are one of the most common reasons for office visits not just with GANJ, but the entire GI community. You don’t have to be a certain age, height, weight or gender to experience it. The fact is, we all will get it from time to time. So what’s the big deal? Well, for some it happens more often than not and poses major health risks. So, we’ve put together answers to three common questions: What is it? How does it start? And how to we treat it?

What is it? says it best, “Being constipated means your bowel movements are tough or happen less often than normal.” Yes, infrequent bowel movements also is a form of constipation. The normal length of bowel movements is believed to vary from person to person. The GI community has seen ranges from three times a day to only once or twice per week. It is generally believed going longer than 3-4 days without a bowel movement is too long, and something is off.

How does it start?

There is no one answer from this. If we were to list all the possible causes of constipation we would be here for a very long time. From all types of foods to medications, constipation can easily be triggered. Many GI specialists advocate proper hydration and fiber intake. We’ve found that water helps your digestive system in many ways, and properly moving bowels is one of them. A diet high in fiber is well known to keep you regular. GI conditions such as IBS, colon cancer, and IBD have all been linked to constipation. Inactivity may be one of the most underrated causes of constipation nationwide. Exercise, like water, is never a bad thing and many vital organs benefit from it.

How is it treated?

First and foremost, finding the root cause is key. Like mentioned above, there’s a wide range of things that can trigger constipation, so your GI doctor will ask as many questions as possible to determine the cause. From there, a treatment plan can be achieved. If your constipation is diet related, your GI doctor will go over a diet plan for you, or our very own dietician here at GANJ will be in touch with you. Your doctor may also run some tests if your constipation continues or worsens such as a colonoscopy, blood test or barium studies to look for blockages in the colon. In the meantime, certain prescriptions may be prescribed by your physician to ease your symptoms.