The hallmark symptom of constipation is abnormal bowel movement and difficulty in the passage of stool. According to research, around 2.5 million people in the United States are affected by this digestive problem.
As food moves typically along your small intestines, nutrients and useful substances are absorbed by your body. The partially digested food that remains, then enter the large intestines. The primary function of your colon is to absorb water from this waste, which eventually dries it up and forms a solid matter called stool. If too much water is absorbed from the undigested food, the waste material dries up and becomes extremely hard. The normal peristaltic movement of your large intestines is not enough to move the stool at a healthy pace. As a result, you suffer from constipation.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
The signs and symptoms are listed below:
- less than three bowel movements
- hard or small stools
- belly bloating
- feeling that you can’t empty your rectum
You might even feel the need to forcefully press on your abdomen or using a finger to remove the stool from your rectum.
If you suffer from chronic constipation and don’t seek medical assistance, constipation can cause several complications:
- inflamed and swollen veins in your rectum (hemorrhoids)
- tears in the lining of the anus (anal fissures)
- a pile-up of too much stool (fecal impaction)
- damage to pelvic floor muscles (stress urinary incontinence)
- intestines protrude from anus (rectal prolapse)
The following factors can enhance your risk of chronic constipation:
- being an older adult
- being dehydrated
- confined to bed
- intake of a diet with low fiber content
- little to no physical activity
- medications: sedative, opioids pain medications, antidepressants
- eating disorder
If you are affected by constipation, you should try adjusting your diet and lifestyle. If the problem is very severe and doesn’t go away with the use of laxatives, you need to consult a health care professional. Moreover, it would be best if you were careful while using laxatives. They shouldn’t be used for more than two weeks without the consultation of a doctor – or else your body can become dependent on the laxative for normal colon function.
You shouldn’t delay the professional medical assistance if you experience the following symptoms:
- constipation for more than two weeks
- extreme abdominal pain
- blood in your stool
- losing weight
- discomfort during bowel movements
- sudden changes in your bowel movements
A severe case of constipation may be masking a severe medical disorder underneath. So, it would help if you visited a medical service provider to seek professional help.
Our doctors at MyDoc Urgent Care will ask you some questions about your symptoms, medical history, and information regarding the medications you are currently using. You will undergo a complete physical examination, which will include a rectal exam. Blood tests help to check for blood count, electrolytes, and thyroid function. In rare cases, your doctor may conduct a colonoscopy if he suspects anything suspicious or severe health problem.
TAKE AWAY MESSAGE
Constipation may seem like a very non-significant issue to some people, but if the problem persists, it can point towards something serious. So whenever you feel that your constipation is not getting better even after two weeks, never hesitate to book an appointment at MyDoc Urgent Care. With an average waiting time of only 15 mins, our medical staff ensures that every patient receives prompt and quality medical assistance. The provision of the best medical treatment and timely consolations has always been a hallmark of MyDoc Urgent Care. We take pride in our highly-trained medical staff and skilled doctors who are always ready to serve you.