What are the common causes of Constipation and Diarrhea?
Constipation and diarrhea reflect the extremes beyond normal bowel movement patterns. Everyone at some point in their life has experienced these symptoms in their acute form. One should seek medical evaluation though if your symptoms become chronic, severe, and/or interfere with daily function.
Constipation occurs when you have either a decrease in frequency and/or hardening in consistency of your stool compared to your baseline bowel movement pattern. Patients may have additional symptoms of abdominal cramping and bloating and develop complications including hemorrhoids, fissures, rectal prolapse, and/or fecal impaction.
People of any age, race, or gender can get constipated. Primary constipation tends to occur in older inactive non-Caucasian females who take certain medications, eat a diet low in water and fiber, and have underlying metabolic and neuromuscular conditions. A variety of secondary constipation can occur including Hirschsprung’s Disease, Constipation Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Impaired Evacuation Constipation, and Slow Transit Constipation. It is important to know that other more serious gastrointestinal conditions can cause constipation including adhesions, diverticular disease, colon polyps, and most importantly, malignancy.
Diarrhea occurs when you have either an increase in frequency and/or softening in consistency of your stool compared to your baseline bowel movement pattern. Patients may have additional symptoms of abdominal cramping, bleeding, fever, and weight loss.
People of any age, race, or gender can get diarrhea. Acute diarrhea is usually due to new medication use, food allergy/poisoning, or infection. The causes of chronic diarrhea are vast and one should visit our doctors to explore all possible causes.
How do our doctors determine the cause of your Constipation and Diarrhea?
A detailed history and physical examination is the foundation for determining the cause of one’s constipation or diarrhea. In some cases, Our doctors will utilize blood/stool analysis, radiography, and colonoscopy to determine the cause of your symptoms. Our doctors have training in other advanced procedures including anorectal manometry which can help elucidate the cause.
What treatments are available for Constipation and Diarrhea?
The foundation for treatment of constipation rests on initially making dietary changes and addressing any secondary conditions that could be making you constipated. Once these measures have been taken our doctors will begin a fiber regimen and various laxatives to treat your constipation. Severe cases may require biofeedback therapy and/or surgical intervention. For patients with diarrhea rehydration and anti-motility agents are the foundations for treatment.