Constipation is a condition in which bowel movements occurs less often than usual or consists of hard, dry stool that are painful or difficult to pass. This is usually due to your digestive system working more slowly than normal and waste material moves too slowly.
When food moves through the colon, water is absorbed and waste products or stool forms, which is pushed toward the rectum. Constipation occurs when the colon absorbs too much water and the stool becomes too hard and dry. This happens because the colon's muscle contractions are slow or sluggish, causing the stool to move through the colon too slowly. Some common causes of constipation include:
There are different constipation treatments, including a change in diet and lifestyle habits, and if this doesn’t work, surgery may be recommended. Diet and lifestyle changes can include an increase in fibre intake, as well as exercise.
There is also a variety of laxatives that may be recommended, and they include stimulants, fibre supplements, lubricants like mineral oils, stool softeners, and osmotics, which help fluids to move through the colon effectively.
You may also take certain medications that are used to draw water into your intestines, to speed up the movements of your stool. These medications are usually prescribed if normal, over-the-counter laxative products do not help. As a final step, surgery may be recommended to patients that cannot find relief in any other treatment option.
As a specialist gastroenterologist, Dr Michael Elliot specialises in constipation and can advise a variety of constipation treatments to patients. Based in Claremont, Dr Elliot performs all of his surgery at the Life Kingsbury Hospital Claremont.
For more information about constipation treatments that are available, please contact Dr Michael Elliot.