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Constipation services offered in Chesterfield, MO

Constipation is a common problem that results from an underlying cause. In most cases, constipation resolves on its own with at-home care. However, if you have ongoing problems with constipation, Gateway Gastroenterology in Chesterfield, Missouri, can help. The gastroenterologists take a patient-centered approach to care and can design a plan to ease your constipation. Call the office or request an appointment online today.

Constipation Q & A

What is constipation?

The medical definition of constipation is having three or fewer bowel movements a week. However, bowel habits vary from person to person. Some people have a bowel movement several times a day, others a few times a week.

So, constipation is when you have fewer bowel movements than normal, and your stools are hard, dry, and difficult to pass. 

Constipation is common and affects almost everyone at some point in time. However, constipation is a symptom that occurs from an underlying cause.

What are the common causes of constipation?

Many factors affect your bowel habits, including your daily routine, diet, and stress. You may develop constipation from any number of causes, such as:

  • Change in schedule
  • Traveling
  • Not eating enough fiber
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Stress
  • Resisting the urge to go
  • Side effect of medication
  • Medical conditions, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Diverticular disease
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Structural abnormality
  • Nervous system conditions, such as multiple sclerosis

Constipation may lead to other problems when left untreated, such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, or bowel impaction. 

When do I need gastroenterology care for constipation?

You should schedule an appointment at Gateway Gastroenterology if you have constipation that fails to resolve with at-home care or your constipation is an ongoing problem. 

Your gastroenterologist takes a compassionate and patient-focused approach to care. They ask detailed questions about your symptoms, lifestyle, and medical history to determine the root cause of your constipation.

You may also have diagnostic tests to rule out health conditions that might explain your irregular bowel habits, such as an abdominal ultrasound, blood work, or stool test. 

Your gastroenterologist may also recommend a colonoscopy to evaluate your large intestine and look for signs of disease.

What are the treatments for constipation?

Treatment for constipation focuses on the underlying cause. However, Gateway Gastroenterology also recommends lifestyle changes to improve bowel habits, such as:

  • Adding more fiber and fluid to your diet
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Creating a regular bathroom routine
  • Taking a fiber supplement

Your gastroenterologist may also recommend stool softeners, laxatives, or an enema.

Though rare, in some cases, a gastroenterologist may perform surgery to treat the underlying cause of constipation, such as removing a blockage or widening a narrowed portion of the intestine.

For help with constipation, call Gateway Gastroenterology or request an appointment online today.