Constipation Specialist

Houston Regional Gastroenterology

Gastroenterology & Hepatology located in Sugar Land, TX & Humble, TX

Constipation is a common problem that affects 16% of all adults. Chances are, you improve in a few days, but for ongoing constipation, you need an evaluation at Houston Regional Gastroenterology in Sugar Land and Humble, Texas, to be sure you don’t have an underlying condition that requires medical treatment. The practice’s doctors can help you get quick relief from constipation with customized care that deals with the source of the problem. To schedule an appointment, call one of the offices or use the online booking feature.

Constipation Q & A

What is a normal bowel movement?

Everyone’s bowel habits are different. You may have bowel movements ranging from three times a day to three times a week. As long as your habits are consistent, then that’s normal for you.  

Contrary to popular myth, you don’t need to have a bowel movement every day. However, stool that stays in the intestine too long tends to harden, and then it’s difficult and often painful to pass.

When do I have constipation?

The symptom everyone associates with constipation is having a hard time passing stools. These are a few other symptoms of constipation:

  • Having fewer than three bowel movements weekly
  • Passing hard or lumpy stools
  • Stool that’s painful to pass
  • Straining to have a bowel movement
  • Feeling all stool wasn’t eliminated
  • Feeling your rectum is blocked
  • Needing help to empty your rectum

If you have two or more of these symptoms for three months, you have chronic constipation.

What causes constipation?

Constipation develops when stool passes through the large intestine too slowly. A number of rectal and colon conditions, such as rectocele, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, and celiac disease, can cause it.

 Constipation can also be caused by:

  • Low-fiber diet
  • Dehydration
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Muscle dysfunction
  • Iron supplements
  • Nerve damage
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Metabolic conditions (thyroid disease)
  • Certain medications (especially narcotics)

Tumors, polyps, scar tissue, and inflammation may prevent stool movement by narrowing the intestine.

When should I see a doctor for constipation?

Any time your constipation lasts longer than several days, you should schedule an exam. Seek immediate medical care if you have constipation together with any of the following symptoms.

  • Bleeding from your rectum
  • Blood in your stool
  • Constant abdominal pain
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Lower back pain

How do you diagnose constipation?

While your symptoms are often enough to diagnose constipation, getting to the source of the problem requires diagnostic testing, such as:

  • Blood tests
  • X-ray
  • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Evaluation of muscle function

Your doctor may also perform specialized tests that evaluate food movement through the gastrointestinal tract.

How do you treat constipation?

Your Houston Regional Gastroenterology doctor develops a personalized treatment based on the severity of your constipation and its underlying cause. There are many potential treatments for the variety of underlying causes. Therapies that directly deal with constipation include:

  • Dietary changes (increasing fiber and fluids)
  • Exercise
  • Bowel training
  • Fiber supplements
  • Stool softeners
  • Osmotic agents
  • Lubricants
  • Stimulants

Your doctor may also prescribe medication to promote bowel movements.

If you suffer from constipation, call Houston Regional Gastroenterology or schedule an appointment online.