This refers to the common condition in which an individual is not able to pass stool regularly or is not able to completely empty their bowels when they do have a movement. Although many people often only experience constipation for a short period of time it can become a chronic condition, which leads to discomfort and/or pain.
Symptoms of constipation can include:
- Less frequent passing of faeces
- A feeling of still needing to pass faeces after having gone to the toilet
- Excessive straining during bowel movements
- Stomach pains and cramping
Although there is not one cause of constipation, it can be triggered by many factors, such as: certain medications, poor diet, reduced intake of fluids, reduced exercise, piles, recent surgery, sluggish bowel movements and weaknesses in the bowel muscle walls which can lead to difficulty in evacuating stools.
At the Neurogastroenterology Diagnostic Unit we can study function of the bowel using advanced methods to determine the likely cause of your constipation, which allows the doctors to provide tailored treatments. Simple changes, such as dietary or lifestyle changes may first be recommended for the treatment of constipation. If these changes have little or no effect then medication, such as a laxative or special bowel stimulants, can be provided to help with the emptying of the bowel. For patients where difficulty in evacuation is the main problem specific attention can be paid to improvement of pelvic floor muscle function through techniques such as biofeedback etc.