Gastroenterology in Irvine, Santa Ana and Anaheim, CA

Constipation services offered in Irvine, Santa Ana and Anaheim, CA

Constipation (hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass) can be painful and distressing. If you have recurring problems with constipation, contact Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants in Santa Ana, Irvine, and Anaheim, California. Their highly knowledgeable doctors determine why you have constipation and offer effective solutions to get your bowels moving again. Call Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants today or book an appointment online for relief from constipation.

Constipation Q&A

What is constipation?

Constipation is a distressing problem where your stools become too dry and solid. Passing these dry stools is difficult and uncomfortable. They can tear the anal tissues and if you have hemorrhoids, make them bleed.

Sometimes dry stools block the rectum, causing a fecal impaction that requires urgent medical attention.

What causes constipation?

The most likely reason for developing constipation is unhealthy living. Your digestive system needs plenty of fiber to function properly, so you can easily get constipation if your diet lacks fiber.

You also need to exercise regularly to keep your bowels moving. Lack of exercise slows the digestive system, so food stays too long in the colon. In addition, your colon extracts water from digested food to form stools. Food in the colon for a long time is likely to have too much water removed.

To prevent dry stools, drink enough water throughout the day. Mild dehydration is a common problem that causes tiredness, headaches, and constipation. Simply increasing your fluid intake can solve the problem. Other causes of constipation include:

  • Dietary changes
  • Too much dairy
  • Stress
  • Laxative abuse
  • Antidepressant medications
  • Iron supplements
  • Strong painkillers like codeine
  • Antacids containing calcium or aluminum

You shouldn’t retain stools for too long; this prevents them from drying out. Instead, empty your bowels as soon as you feel the urge.

Is constipation a symptom of chronic disease?

Constipation can be a symptom of many chronic (long-term) diseases, including:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Colon cancer
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Eating disorders
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Problems with the digestive tract nerves and muscles can also affect bowel function, leading to constipation.

How is constipation treated?

You can often get rid of constipation by changing your daily habits. Drinking more water, getting more exercise, and eating more fiber are essential in constipation treatment. You could use natural laxatives, like prunes, to relieve constipation. But be careful with over-the-counter laxatives because overuse can make the problem worse.

If your constipation doesn’t clear up, Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants will test for an underlying problem. Possible diagnostic testing for constipation includes blood tests, muscle function tests, and colonoscopy (a procedure where your doctor views the entire length of your colon in detail).

Once your doctor finds the cause of constipation, they can recommend the most effective treatment.

Call Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants today or book an appointment online for fast relief from constipation.