Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints people see their doctors for in the United States. Unhealthy diets, not drinking enough fluids, and not getting enough exercise can cause or worsen constipation.
The most common symptom of constipation is being unable to pass stool with ease. The stool may be hard to pass or you may be unable to go to the bathroom completely. Constipation can also cause a host of other symptoms such as pain in the abdomen and bloating. Most bouts of constipation pass on their own, and people see improvements in the way they pass stool. A lot of patients do not need to see a doctor when they have occasional constipation.
However, just because it is common, doesn’t mean it’s harmless. While in a lot of cases, constipation resolves itself, in some cases, it can be a sign that you need medical attention.
Acute constipation happens once in a while and resolves itself after a few days. You can take over-the-counter medications and within a couple of days, you should be good to go. However, acute constipation can become chronic constipation, which brings a new set of symptoms that can be dangerous. Chronic constipation can affect your quality of life because of the pain and discomfort accompanying it.
Individuals with chronic constipation can develop issues such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and rectal prolapse. Anal fissures mean you have tears in the anus. The location of the fissures puts you at greater risk of developing an infection. Every time to try to pass hard stools, your anal fissure can reopen and cause pain. With hemorrhoids, the veins of your anus bulge and may result in bleeding. Rectal prolapse means a part of your rectum has bulged through your anus.
These issues can return repeatedly and affect your health and comfort. Before your constipation becomes chronic and causes these issues, it’s important to seek medical attention. By getting to the root cause of your constipation and getting the right treatment, you can avoid developing problems associated with chronic constipation.
When Is Constipation Dangerous?
In some cases, constipation can be life-threatening, especially if your overall health is poor. The constant straining and overexerting can trigger arrhythmia in people with heart conditions. The straining and can also trigger a change in your blood pressure and heart rate. Moreover, constipation can also worsen pre-existing medical conditions and illnesses.
The symptoms of constipation can sometimes be similar to the symptoms of very serious, life-threatening diseases. For instance, constipation and bleeding are symptoms of anal or colon cancer. For this reason, you should have constipation checked by a doctor or gastroenterologist if it persists for more than a few days or returns repeatedly. Chronic constipation is not normal and needs medical attention.
Constipation Treatment in Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Our physicians and staff are committed to making the diagnostic and screening process as well as treatments as comfortable as possible. In our state-of-the-art Carlisle Endoscopy Center (CEC), our board-certified gastroenterologists will determine the cause of your constipation and recommend effective treatments.