About 16 in 100 adults struggle with constipation on a regular basis. We may joke about the condition from time to time, but constipation can cause some serious problems.
If our intestines don’t clear out properly, it can turn into a constipation emergency which can be life-threatening.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of constipation and haven’t gotten a constipation diagnosis yet, keep reading. We’re going to tell you how to get the right diagnosis and what constipation treatment looks like.
How to Get a Constipation Diagnosis
To get a definitive constipation diagnosis, you need to talk to your primary physician. For further evaluation, he/she may ask you to see a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist known as a gastroenterologist.
At the beginning of your assessment, your physician is likely to ask about your medical history. Here are some questions you should know the answers to:
- When your constipation started
- How often you have bowel movements
- What your stool looks like on a regular basis
- Whether or not you strain during bowel movements
- Whether or not you’ve had blood in your stool
- Whether you’ve had prior endoscopies or colonoscopies (and what the results were if so)
- What other GI symptoms you’re experiencing
- What relieves or exacerbates your constipation
- What your usual diet looks like
- What your family and personal GI history look like
- What medicines (prescribed and over-the-counter) you’re currently taking
Know the answers to all of these questions before you go to the doctor’s office. The more information you can give them, the better your treatment regimen will be.
After asking these questions, your physician may perform a rectal exam. It sounds scary but it’s necessary to ensure that you don’t have any blood in your stool.
Additionally, your physician may decide to order x-rays, scopes, or other tests. These can help determine the cause of your constipation.
Constipation Risk Factors
Many factors influence how well (or not well) your bowels move. So, there are many risk factors to keep in mind:
- Being older in age
- Being a woman
- Being dehydrated
- Not getting enough fiber in your diet
- Getting little to no physical activity
- Taking certain medications, including opioids and sedatives
- Having a mental health condition, including depression or an eating disorder
In addition to these risk factors, there are also great conditions that constipation may be a part of. If you feel that these risk factors don’t apply to you, you may be dealing with a greater problem.
For example, constipation is one of the many kidney disease symptoms. If your physician can’t find a cause for your constipation, you may need kidney disease consulting and treatment.
Most cases of constipation are resolved with diet and lifestyle changes and/or laxatives.
However, a constipation emergency may not be easily treated. These emergencies may require enemas or surgery to prevent the colon from exploding from the pressure.
Get Constipation Relief Today
If you’re experiencing symptoms of constipation, you need to get a constipation diagnosis and treatment before you form a constipation emergency.
To learn more about your body and how to take care of it, check out the rest of our blog.