Even though it’s not easy to talk about constipation, it’s a very common problem. If you’re one of the 2.5 million people who deal with constipation, you might wonder when it’s time to pause the at-home treatments and see a doctor.
Here at Atlantic Medical Group, gastroenterologist Eric Ibegbu, MD, and our expert team are pros when it comes to providing constipation relief. We don’t just mask the problem. We pinpoint the cause of your constipation so you can get lasting relief.
Read on to learn more about this condition and the signs that it’s time to give us a call.
Is constipation common?
Constipation refers to infrequent or hard-to-pass stools. You might also feel bloated or incomplete after using the restroom. Constipation is normal, and there are many factors that contribute to bouts with constipation, including:
- Not drinking enough water
- Not eating enough fiber
- Being stressed
- Changing your diet
- Consuming a lot of dairy products
- Taking certain medications
- Staying inactive or leading a sedentary lifestyle
Pregnant women may also experience constipation more often during their pregnancy. About 75% of expectant mothers deal with constipation at least once.
What happens if constipation is left untreated?
Many people get relief from occasional constipation by drinking more water, consuming more fiber intake, and increasing physical activity.
Lifestyle habits aren’t the only cause of constipation. Sometimes constipation can occur as the result of IBS or blockages in your colon. If a blockage in your colon or a problem with your muscles is increasing constipation, at-home treatments won’t be enough for you to feel better.
We know that constipation isn’t the easiest topic to bring up, but don’t let your symptoms go unchecked. Prolonged constipation can increase your risk of unwanted complications including hemorrhoids, rectal prolapse, or fecal impaction.
When to seek medical attention
Occasional constipation isn’t unusual, but chronic or prolonged constipation can be a sign of other underlying issues. Consider seeking medical attention if you’ve been dealing with constipation for three weeks without any relief from at-home remedies.
You might also need medical attention if:
- Your symptoms came on suddenly without any explanation
- Constipation is accompanied by stomach pain
- Constipation is accompanied by vomiting
- You’ve noticed bloody stools
- You’ve lost weight (without trying)
Constipation can cause stomach discomfort, but if your pain is severe, you might be dealing with a medical emergency such as appendicitis or perforated intestines. Vomiting in conjunction with constipation may also be a sign of fecal impaction, which requires swift medical attention.
Here at Atlantic Medical Group, our first task is to determine what’s causing your constipation. We guide you through your next steps, whether that’s supplements, lifestyle changes, or mediations. If needed, we may suggest surgery to eliminate any blockages.
Don’t brush off the symptoms of constipation. To explore your options and get the relief you need, call our Kinston or Jacksonville, North Carolina, office today. You can also request an appointment online or fill out this form.