Bowel movement frequency varies a lot from person to person. Some people have bowel movements three times a day while for others, three times a week is normal. Constipation occurs when the movements become less frequent than the person is used to, and the feces become harder and more difficult to pass.
Generally speaking, constipation is the term used when bowel movements are less than three times a week and sometimes pain and straining accompany the passing of the feces. Occasional constipation is very common and is usually nothing to worry about but if it persists, it can develop into a chronic condition which can cause discomfort and bloating.
What Causes Constipation
The main cause of constipation is usually a dysfunction of the bowel, as opposed to a structural disorder as found in other gastrointestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease or colitis.
Common causes of constipation include:
- Lack of fiber and or, water in the diet
- Disruption to normal diet possibly due to traveling, eating on the go, or eating foods the person
is unused to
- Lack of exercise
- An excess of dairy products
- Resisting, or ignoring, the urge to have a bowel movement
- Heavy reliance on laxatives, which over a prolonged period, can weaken the bowel muscles
- Strong pain medication such as narcotics or antidepressants
Sometimes a blockage in the colon or rectum may slow or stop stool movement. In this case, causes of constipation may include:
- Bowel obstruction
- Colon or rectal cancer
- Narrowing of the colon
- Anal fissure
Constipation symptoms don’t vary too much from person to person and usually include a number of the following:
- Two or fewer bowel movements in a week
- Straining during bowel movements
- Hard stools
- Incomplete evacuation or feeling as if you can’t empty the stool from the rectum
- Swollen abdomen
The majority of people do not require extensive testing for a constipation diagnosis. Only a small number of patients with constipation have a more serious medical problem. However, it is important to discover the cause of the lack of bowel movements, so a correct constipation diagnosis can be made. If the practitioner has reason to suspect the underlying cause of the constipation could be more serious, then tests including barium studies or a colonoscopy may be ordered to look for a potential obstruction of the colon.
In most patients, constipation is due to either; colonic inertia, a condition in which the colon contracts poorly and retains the stool, or obstructed defecation, where the person has to strain hard to push the stool out of the rectum.
When to See a Doctor for Constipation
It is advisable to see a doctor for constipation if you have had infrequent bowel movements for more than two weeks. It is important that the source of the problem is determined – often it is a simple issue such a change in diet which is causing the constipation, but sometimes it may be caused by colon cancer, so early detection and treatment is very important.
It is also important to see a doctor for constipation if you have been using laxatives for a while and when you cease them, constipation is still present. You should also see a doctor for constipation if you have never been constipated before, if you notice blood in your stools, or if you have abdominal pain.
If you don’t see a doctor for constipation the condition can lead to unpleasant complications such as hemorrhoids and rectal prolapse, a condition in which part of the intestine pushes out through the anus from too much straining.
Natural Constipation Treatment
Most people with constipation do not want to rely on over-the-counter or prescription medication for a prolonged period and so they seek natural constipation treatment. Several types of natural laxatives exist which may be helpful in the short-term. However, natural constipation treatment depends on identifying the underlying cause, and this is the route taken at LifeWorks Wellness Center.
When a patient presents with constipation symptoms, the LifeWorks’ practitioner will perform a functional evaluation to help to determine cause(s) of the constipation. The natural constipation treatment is tailored specifically to the individual patient, who will be evaluated to see what kind of nutritional supplementation will be required to re-establish the proper functioning of the colon.
Clearwater & Tampa Constipation Treatment
Lifeworks Wellness Center is long recognized as one of the foremost natural health clinics in the US. At our Florida alternative medicine office we have been offering treatment for constipation for a long time and many of our patients have benefitted from it. Our patients fly in from all over the world because they simply can’t find clinics offering solutions to their constipation problems and natural medicine for their constipation where they live.
We have helped many patients regain their health and we would love to help you, too. To become a patient, or for more information, feel free to call our New Patient Coordinator at (727) 466-6789 or simply submit an online web form with your request.
*Disclaimer: Individual patient results may vary based on a patient's medical history and other factors.