WHAT ARE CONSTIPATION AND DIARRHEA?
Constipation and diarrhea are abnormal bowel patterns. Constipation occurs when you have three bowel movements or less in a week.
It often produces dry, hard stools or painful bowel movements. Possible complications of constipation include hemorrhoids, fecal impaction, and torn anal tissue.
On the other hand, diarrhea is associated with loose, watery stools and can occur three or more times in a day. Chronic diarrhea can cause nutrient deficiencies or dehydration.
WHAT CAUSES CONSTIPATION AND DIARRHEA?
Common causes of constipation or diarrhea may include:
- Colon or rectum blockages
- Neurological problems
- Hormone fluctuations
- Certain dietary habits
- Some medicines
- Eating disorders
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Other gastrointestinal diseases
- Food intolerance
HOW ARE CONSTIPATION AND DIARRHEA DIAGNOSED?
To diagnose constipation or diarrhea and its cause, Dr. Ashwath will review your symptoms and medical history.
He then will complete a physical exam and may use blood tests, stool tests, imaging tests, or endoscopy to confirm a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR CONSTIPATION AND DIARRHEA?
Depending on the cause of constipation or diarrhea, your gastroenterologist creates a personalized treatment plan just for you. They might recommend:
If you have constipation, drink more water, eat more fruits and vegetables, get enough exercise, and practice additional healthy lifestyle habits for symptom relief. When you have diarrhea, drink a lot of water and avoid triggers like dairy foods, fatty foods and fried foods.
MEDICATIONS OR SUPPLEMENTS
Some medications contribute to diarrhea or constipation. If your doctor suspects a medicine is causing your symptoms, they might make medication changes or recommend laxatives to treat constipation. Probiotics can help shorten the duration of diarrhea.
TREATING THE UNDERLYING CAUSE
If you have a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that contributes to diarrhea or constipation, such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, your gastroenterologist develops a treatment plan that offers symptom relief and prevents complications.
Don’t live with chronic constipation or diarrhea, as these conditions are often unpleasant and may be associated with a GI problem.