Everyone has constipation from time to time, but chronic issues could indicate an underlying problem. In Northridge, California, Suhail Salem, MD, relies on his advanced and specialized training as a gastroenterologist to diagnose and treat digestive disorders like chronic constipation. To find relief from chronic constipation, call Suhail Salem, MD, or schedule an appointment online today.
Constipation describes difficulty passing stools or having infrequent bowel movements. If you experience these issues for several weeks or longer, you have chronic constipation.
When you have chronic constipation, it can interfere with your daily life and also lead to other complications like hemorrhoids, anal fissures, or fecal impaction. It’s also possible to develop rectal prolapse where your rectum protrudes from your anus.
Constipation usually develops when your stools move too slowly through your system or can’t pass properly. When you have chronic constipation, it can occur for a variety of reasons, including:
Your risk of having chronic constipation is higher if you take certain medications, are a woman or older adult, or have a mental health disorder like depression. Having a sedentary lifestyle, not drinking enough fluids, and consuming a diet that’s low in fiber can also increase your chances of constipation.
The signs and symptoms of constipation often include:
When you have chronic constipation, you can also feel like something in your rectum is preventing you from having a bowel movement.
Dr. Salem diagnoses chronic constipation through physical evaluation and additional tests to look for an underlying cause. These tests might include:
Based on your symptoms, Dr. Salem might also recommend additional screenings that gauge the muscle function and speed of your anal sphincter and how effectively food moves through your colon.
The first step in treating constipation often includes making diet and lifestyle modifications, like increasing the amount of fiber you consume and getting more physical activity. Dr. Salem might also recommend laxatives to make bowel movements easier, prescription medications designed to ease chronic constipation, or special exercises to train your pelvic muscles.
If you have chronic constipation because of blockages or issues like anal fissures, Dr. Salem might suggest surgery.
Call Suhail Salem, MD, or schedule an appointment online today if you’re experiencing constipation.