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Do You Have Frequent Constipation?

photo of young woman in pain lying on bedThe definition of constipation is having difficulty in bowel movements or having a bowel movement less often than normal. The medical definition of constipation is having less than three bowel movements a week. Severe constipation is having less than one stool per week. In truth, going three days or more without a bowel movement is way too long. Actually after three days, stools are harder to pass.

You will feel a whole lot better when your system works properly. However, constipation is generally not a serious condition. Symptoms of constipation include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Small or hard stools
  • Fewer bowel movements
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Bowel movements are strained
  • Discomfort in the lower abdomen
  • Occasional distension or abdominal bloating
  • Feeling of unfinished emptying after bowel movements
  • Fissures or anal bleeding from the strain of passing hard stools
  • Possible worsening of hemorrhoids, diverticular disease and prolapse of the rectum

Causes of Constipation

According to WebMD, the causes of constipation are vast. Some of the reasons include:

  • Stress
  • Pregnancy
  • Eating disorders
  • Lack of exercise
  • Cancer in the colon
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Eating too many dairy products
  • Changes in normal activities or diet
  • Not enough fiber or water in the diet
  • Hypothyroidism (under active thyroid)
  • Multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease
  • Weakened bowel muscles from overuse of laxatives
  • Antacid medicines that contain aluminum or calcium
  • Issues with muscles and the nerves in the digestive system
  • Some medications like strong antidepressants, iron pills or pain meds

Diagnosis

If you have problems with constipation for more than two weeks, it is recommended to see a specialist as soon as possible. Generally, a specialist will do a few tests in order to find the cause of your constipation. Some of the tests include:

  • Blood test to inspect hormone levels
  • Tests that look for colon blockages like a colonoscopy
  • Barium analyses to search for any colon blockages. It entails drinking a special concoction and then being X-rayed


At GI North, their expert practice offers focused care and advanced experience in the treatment and prevention of constipation. In fact, between the two professional physicians, they have numerous year of experience.

When to Call a Physician

According to most specialists, it is important to call a physician straightaway if you have sudden constipation that accompanies cramping or abdominal pain plus you are unable to pass a stool or any gas. Equally, call a physician if:

  • Stools are pencil thin
  • There is blood in your stool
  • Loss of weight without dieting
  • Constipation lasts more than two weeks
  • Constipation is not something you typically have

GI North

If at any time you have concerns or questions about your constipation, contact the professional staff or a physician at GI North. And for your upmost convenience, Dr. Cofrancesco and Dr. Quijano at GI North serve the Cumming, GA area as well as the surrounding areas including Alpharetta, Milton, Canton, Dawsonville, Roswell and Suwanee. Moreover, if you would like a Spanish speaking physician, you can request an appointment with Dr. Quijano.

© 2016 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.