If you continually struggle to have bowel movements or seldom experience them at all, you know how bothersome constipation can be.
Typically defined as having three or fewer bowel movements per week, constipation can be temporary or chronic. Taking care of your symptoms is important for your overall health and well-being.
Dr. Sreelatha Reddy and the team at Houston Gastrointestinal & Liver Clinic, P.A. in Sugar Land, Texas, can help you get to the root of your constipation problems while lowering your risk for related issues.
Take a few minutes to learn more about these complications, including ways to avoid them.
When constipation lingers
When you go too long without a bowel movement or experience infrequent but difficult ones, you can develop a range of added problems. And these complications can make going about your daily life pretty difficult, all the while interfering with your health.
Common constipation complications include:
- Anal fissure, or torn skin in your anus
- Hemorrhoids, or swollen veins in your anus
- Fecal impaction, or hard stool that gets stuck in your rectum or lower colon
- Rectal prolapse, when your intestines stick out through your anus
All of these complications can become quite painful. Fecal impaction, in particular, can bring intense discomfort — as well as dehydration, nausea, confusion, and bleeding. You might even pass watery stool around the stuck stool, leading you to think you’re not actually constipated.
In severe cases, untreated impaction can be life-threatening.
How to avoid constipation complications
Lifestyle changes can go a long way toward preventing severe constipation and its complications. Steps Dr. Reddy may recommend include:
- Eating more fiber-rich foods, such as beans, colorful produce, and whole grains
- Staying active through routine exercise
- Managing your stress
- Not ignoring urges to have a bowel movement
- Getting enough fluids from water, broth, fresh fruits and vegetables, or herbal teas
While individual fluid needs vary, experts recommend aiming for 64 ounces of water per day. So you may want to consider keeping a water bottle nearby. And when you sweat from hot weather or intense exercise, stay especially mindful of replenishing lost fluids.
Getting the care you need
If you notice signs of constipation or other digestive issues, come into our office for an exam. In some cases, chronic constipation is a sign of a medical condition that needs treatment.
Such conditions include irritable bowel syndrome, thyroid disease, anorexia, depression, and diabetes. An effective treatment plan, which may include lifestyle changes and medications like stool softeners, can help stave off future problems.
To learn more about constipation complications or to get the care you need, call Houston Gastrointestinal & Liver Clinic, P.A. or request your appointment online today.