Constipation Treatment Clinic Questions and Answers
Constipation can be painful and lead to other health problems but treatments are available at Columbia Clinic Urgent Care. Our doctors and medical staff will provide comprehensive treatment for constipation to keep your digestive system fit. For more information, call us or book an appointment online. We have convenient locations to serve you in Portland OR, Clackamas OR, and Tigard OR.
The digestive system works day in and day out to convert food into energy and dispose of waste from the body. Normally, humans dispose of waste several times a day in the form of urination and defecation. Certain foods, medications, and lifestyle factors can cause the digestive system to not work properly, which may result in constipation. Constipation is a condition that is characterized by difficulty emptying the bowels and is typically associated with hardened stools. It can cause pain, bloating, strained bowel movements, and passing fewer than three stools a week.
What causes constipation?
Constipation occurs when the colon absorbs too much water from waste, which in turn dries out the stool, gives it a hard consistency, and becomes difficult to push out of the body. If a person has constipation, food may move too slowly through their digestive tract. This gives the colon more time than necessary to absorb water from the waste, making it dry, hard, and difficult to push out. There are many causes of constipation.
Lifestyle causes include:
- Eating foods low in fiber
- Not drinking enough water (dehydration)
- Not getting enough exercise
- Changes in regular routine, such as eating or sleeping at different times
- Eating large amounts of milk or cheese
- Resisting the urge to have bowel movements
Medications that can cause constipation include:
- Strong pain medicines
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Antidepressants, including the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
- Antacids containing calcium or aluminum
- Iron pills
- Allergy medications, such as antihistamines
- Certain blood pressure medicines
- Psychiatric medications
- Anticonvulsant/seizure medications
- Anti-nausea medications
Medical conditions that can cause constipation include:
- Endocrine problems, such as:
- Underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)
- Colorectal cancer
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Diverticular disease
- Outlet dysfunction constipation
- Neurologic disorders, including:
- Spinal cord injury
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Lazy bowel syndrome
- Intestinal obstruction
- Structural defects in the digestive tract, including:
- Colonic atresia
- Imperforate anus
- Multiple organ diseases, such as:
- Pregnancy can also cause constipation
What are the signs of severe constipation?
Signs and symptoms of chronic constipation include:
- Passing fewer than three stools a week
- Having lumpy or hard stools
- Straining to have bowel movements
- Feeling as though there is a blockage
- Feeling as though the stool cannot be completely passed
- Needing help to empty the rectum
If a person has experienced two or more of these symptoms for the last three months, constipation may be considered chronic.
When should you be worried about constipation?
See a doctor about constipation, if:
- Constipation lingers for three weeks or more
- You have never been constipated before now
- You have stomach pain
- You have noticed blood in your stools
- You are losing weight without trying
What happens if constipation is left untreated?
If constipation is left untreated, it can lead to some troubling complications, including:
- Swollen, inflamed veins in the rectum (hemorrhoids)
- Tears in the lining of the anus (anal fissures)
- An infection in pouches that form in the colon wall (diverticulitis)
- Too much stool building up in the rectum and anus (fecal impaction)
- Damage to the pelvic floor muscles (can lead to urinary incontinence)
If you are experiencing constipation, come to Columbia Clinic Urgent Care for treatment you can trust. Our kind and compassionate professionals are experienced in treating constipation and can help you find relief. Call one of our locations today to book an appointment, or simply walk right in! We serve patients from Portland OR, PDX, Happy Valley OR, Tigard OR, Milwaukie OR, Cedar Hills OR, Cedar Mill OR, Lake Oswego OR, Oak Grove OR, Vancouver WA, Aloha OR, Minnehaha WA, Gladstone OR, Tualatin OR, West Linn OR, Fairview OR, Oregon City OR.