Our Approach to Chronic Constipation at Coyle Institute
For most people, constipation is an occasional concern that causes minor discomfort. When you experience infrequent bowel movements or difficulty passing stools, which persists for several weeks or longer, you may have chronic constipation. This is a much more serious condition than occasional constipation. At Coyle Institute, we routinely diagnose and treat chronic constipation, and here we will share tips on preventing it.
Diagnosing Chronic Constipation
Constipation is generally described as having fewer than three bowel movements per week. Some people experience chronic constipation that can interfere with their ability to go about their daily tasks. Chronic constipation may also cause people to strain excessively to have a bowel movement, which can lead to other serious problems like hemorrhoids, anal fissures, or rectal prolapse. Patients who experience the following symptoms are diagnosed with chronic constipation:
- Passing fewer than three stools per week
- Having lumpy or hard stools
- Straining to have bowel movements
- Feeling as though there is a blockage in your rectum that prevents bowel movements
- Feeling as though you cannot completely empty the stool from your rectum
- Needing help to empty your rectum, such as using your hands to press on your abdomen and using a finger to remove stool from your rectum.
Causes of Chronic Constipation
Blockages in the colon or rectum are common causes of Pelvic Organ Prolapse. These blockages can happen due to eating an unbalanced diet, dehydration or other issues. Problems with the nerves around the colon and rectum can also cause chronic constipation. Other causes of chronic constipation can include problems with the muscles involved in elimination or conditions that affect hormones in the body. Hormone imbalances can cause lack of vascularity to the rectal area, negatively impacting motility and sensation issues. As a patient of Coyle Institute, all possible causes of chronic constipation will be investigated. After pinpointing your unique cause, we will assemble a personalized treatment plan to remedy your constipation as quickly and effectively as possible.
Risk Factors for Chronic Constipation
Knowing your risk factors for chronic constipation is important in preventing it. You are at a higher likelihood of developing chronic constipation if you:
- Are an older adult
- Are a woman
- Are dehydrated
- Eat a diet that is low in fiber
- Get little or no physical activity
- Take certain medications, including sedatives, opioid pain medications, some antidepressants or medications to lower blood pressure
- Have a mental health condition such as depression or an eating disorder.
How We Diagnose and Treat Chronic Constipation at Coyle Institute
In addition to a general physical exam and a digital rectal exam, providers at Coyle Institute may use the following tests and procedures to diagnose chronic constipation and its cause:
- Blood tests
- Anorectal manometry
Depending on the findings of these examinations, a personalized treatment plan will be prescribed. However, in some cases, a cause for chronic constipation is never found. It is prudent for anyone struggling with chronic constipation to increase fiber intake, exercise regularly, and take your time when passing bowel movements. Additionally, you may be prescribed laxatives, lubricants or other medications. If hormonal imbalances are involved, you may be prescribed Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) to supply your body with the specific hormones that you lack.
Having at least one bowel movement per day is vital for optimal health. If you are experiencing chronic constipation, it is important to receive a proper diagnosis to determine the most effective treatment protocol. To schedule an appointment at Coyle Institute, call us at 850-637-8258.