For some people, constipation is simply a term used to describe infrequent stools. In other cases, it can mean hard, difficult-to-pass stools. It can also mean incomplete emptying during a bowel movement. In situations where constipation, in any form, is chronic, painful, or otherwise worrisome, do not put off seeing your Brooklyn gastroenterologist for help and support.
Understanding the Types of Constipation
The cause of each of these types of constipation will differ, and the treatment for constipation should match the underlying cause. In some cases, constipation can also alternate with diarrhea. If this occurs, you may be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. And, for those who have fecal impaction, a situation in which the stool hardens in the rectum and does not pass, this, too, can lead to serious complications that require doctor support.
The number of bowel movements a person has will change throughout their lifetime. About 95 percent of all adults will have bowel movements between 3 and 21 times a week. Any level within this can be considered normal. Most people have one bowel movement daily. Nevertheless, this pattern is only present in about half of all people. What’s most important is to see changes in your own bowel movement habits. Many people don’t have bowel movements each day or the same number of movements each day. However, when there is a noticeable change in movements, that is when you should talk to your Brooklyn doctor about constipation.
When considering medical constipation, it is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements within a week. Severe cases occur when there is less than one per week. It is not uncommon for people to go two or three days without bowel movements, and this does not necessarily cause pain or discomfort. There’s no evidence that toxins accumulate in situations where you do not have a bowel movement each day, and there is no link between constipation and cancer.
Acute and Long-Term Constipation
However, there are instances in which constipation is more than just a lack of bowel movement. There are two types: Acute constipation, which means it has occurred suddenly, and chronic constipation, constipation that happens for a long time. In acute cases, there is often an urgent need to assess the concern. Your doctor will determine if there are other symptoms to consider as well such as rectal bleeding, cramping, abdominal pain, vomiting, unexplained weight loss, or nausea. Chronic constipation, comparatively, doesn’t require immediate attention in most cases.
When Should You See a Doctor?
If you have any questions about constipation, there’s no reason to wait to see your doctor. Our Brooklyn gastro doctor can help you to understand why you suffer from chronic constipation and offer solutions for improving the condition. This could include understanding the underlying cause, such as pelvic floor dysfunction. In this case, treatment is not the use of laxatives, but by biofeedback training instead. In others, the use of hyperosmolar laxatives or milk of magnesia can help.
Our goal is to provide an evaluation to understand if there is an acute or chronic problem, and why that is. Our gastroenterologists at our Ocean Parkway and Cobble Hill offices in Brooklyn, NY can help you find the relief you need.