Constipation is a condition that affects many people and can have various causes. Constipation is having fewer than three bowel movements per week, and the constipated person often has difficulty passing stool. What most people don't know is the three types of constipation. Let us explore the symptoms of constipation, the severity, and when it's time to see a doctor, not just a laxative.
What are the 3 Types of Constipation?
There are three main types of constipation: normal-transit constipation, slow-transit constipation, and pelvic floor dysfunction constipation.
- Normal-transit constipation is the most common type and is caused by problems with the muscles and nerves that control bowel movements.
- Slow-transit constipation is caused by problems with the way food moves through the intestines.
- Pelvic floor dysfunction is when the muscles around the anus and rectum are too weak or too tight to allow regular bowel movements.
What are the Symptoms?
Each type of constipation has its own set of symptoms.
- Normal-transit constipation is characterized by difficulty passing stool, a sense of urgency, and straining.
- Slow-transit constipation is characterized by complex, dry stools that are difficult to pass, a feeling of fullness after eating and bloating.
- Pelvic floor dysfunction constipation is characterized by a feeling of obstruction in the rectum, pain during bowel movements, and incomplete evacuation.
The severity of constipation can vary from person-to-person. Some people may only experience mild discomfort, while others may find that their quality of life is significantly impacted. If you are experiencing constipation symptoms, it is essential to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Laxatives may provide temporary relief but should not be used as a long-term solution.
What Type of Constipation Do You Have?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the diagnosis of constipation can be complicated. However, there are a few methods that can be used to help determine the type of constipation you are experiencing.
One way to determine your constipation type is by your symptoms. However, some general symptoms are common to constipation, such as difficulty passing stool, a sense of urgency, and straining.
Another way to determine your constipation type is through diagnostic testing. This may include an ultrasound or a colonoscopy to look at food movement through the intestines, or a pelvic examination to assess the muscles around the anus and rectum.
If you are unsure what changes to make or if your constipation is severe, it is crucial to speak with a healthcare professional.
How Constipation is Treated?
There are a number of ways to treat constipation, both short- and long-term.
One of the most important things you can do to treat constipation is to make changes to your diet. This may include eating high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and avoiding foods high in fat and sugar. You may also need to drink more fluids, as constipation can often be caused by dehydration.
Another important part of treating constipation is exercise. Exercise can help stimulate the bowels and promote regular bowel movements.
If lifestyle changes do not relieve constipation, you may need to take medication. Various drugs are available to treat constipation, including laxatives, stool softeners, and enemas. It is important to speak with a doctor before starting any new medication.
How Constipation Can Impact Your Life?
Constipation can significantly impact your life, both physically and emotionally.
- Physically, constipation can cause pain, discomfort, and other symptoms such as bloating and gas. It can also lead to other health problems, such as hemorrhoids and anal fissures.
- Emotionally, constipation can be embarrassing and frustrating. It can cause a sense of isolation, as people may feel too ashamed to talk about it openly. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression.
When to see a Doctor?
If you are experiencing constipation symptoms, it is essential to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Constipation is often managed through lifestyle changes. However, if constipation does not improve after making these changes, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain or bleeding, you should see a doctor immediately.
GI Associates' specialists and doctors can help diagnosis and treatment of all types of constipation. Please contact us if you'd like to set up an appointment with a doctor or have further questions. We offer high-quality Gastrointestinal care for all gastrointestinal issues and abnormalities.