Constipation Specialist

Houston Gastrointestinal & Liver Clinic, P.A

Sreelatha Reddy, MD

Gastroenterologist located in Houston, TX & Sugarland, TX

You don’t have to poop every day. However, if, your bowel habits change and your inability to go interferes with your everyday activities for more than 3 months, call or make an appointment online today to get diagnosed and treated for constipation with Dr. Sreelatha Reddy at Houston Gastrointestinal and Liver Clinic in Houston.

Constipation Q & A

What is constipation?

Constipation occurs when you strain and struggle to have fewer than three bowel movements a week. Then, when you do go, you pass small, hard stools. Pain and bloating, along with feeling as if you haven’t completely emptied your rectum, often accompany constipation.

What causes constipation?

Constipation often results from the waste that forms after you digest food moving too slowly through your digestive tract. The most common culprits for this deceleration include:

  • Dehydration
  • Diet and activity changes
  • Certain medications and medical conditions
  • Gradual enlargement of your rectum
  • Poor coordination between your pelvic and anal muscles

Additionally, certain medical conditions, including diabetes, pregnancy, and hypothyroidism also contribute to chronic constipation.

How do you avoid constipation?

Some measures that help you avoid developing chronic constipation include:

  • Eating high-fiber foods
  • Consuming fewer processed foods, dairy, and meat products
  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Getting plenty of exercise
  • Managing stress
  • Going when you feel the urge

How is constipation diagnosed?

To diagnose you with constipation, your Houston Gastrointestinal provider reviews your medical history and symptoms before performing a physical and a rectal exam with her finger. They may also perform additional tests to determine the cause of your constipation. These include:

Blood tests

Blood tests help rule out medical conditions that contribute to constipation.

Sigmoidoscopy

A flexible tube allows your provider to examine your rectum and the lower portion of your colon.

Colonoscopy

Your provider examines your entire colon with a flexible, camera-equipped tube.

Anal manometry

Your provider measures the coordination of the muscles you use to move your bowels with a narrow, flexible tube and a small balloon.

Balloon expulsion test

Your provider places a water-filled balloon in your rectum and measures how long it takes you to push it out.

Colonic transit study

Your provider evaluates how well food moves through your colon.

Scintigraphy

Your provider looks for signs of intestinal muscle dysfunction and how well food moves through your colon.

Defecography/MRI defecography

Used to determine whether you have problems with your muscle function and coordination.

How is constipation treated?

Constipation treatment usually begins with diet and lifestyle changes that help increase the speed at which your stool moves through your intestines. Depending on the underlying cause of your constipation, there are three different types of over-the-counter laxatives that Dr. Reddy recommends:  

Bulking agents

Bulking agents help hold water in your stool and add bulk to it to stimulate the natural contractions of your large intestine. Additionally, bulkier stools tend to be softer and easier to pass. However, bulking agents act slowly.

Osmotic agents

Osmotic agents keep large amounts of water in your large intestine to help make your stool soft and loose.

Stimulant laxatives

Best used for brief periods, stimulant laxatives cause the walls of your large intestine to contract.

If behavior changes and laxatives don't help clear up your constipation, Dr. Reddy recommends prescription medications, and as a last resort, surgery.

For help relieving the stress and strain associated with constipation call or make an appointment online today to get diagnosed and treated with Dr. Sreelatha Reddy at Houston Gastrointestinal and Liver Clinic in Houston.

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