Constipation

  • Medical Author:
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideDigestive Disorders: Constipation Myths and Facts

Digestive Disorders: Constipation Myths and Facts

What are constipation symptoms?

Symptoms of constipation include:

  • Infrequent bowel movements
  • Straining to have bowel movements
  • Hard and/or small stools
  • Sense of incomplete evacuation after bowel movements
  • Lower abdominal discomfort
  • Abdominal bloating, occasionally distension
  • Anal bleeding or fissures from the trauma caused by hard stools
  • Occasionally diarrhea due to obstruction of the colon by hard stool
  • Rarely colonic perforation
  • Psychological distress and/or obsession with having bowel movements
  • Possible aggravation of diverticular disease, hemorrhoids and rectal prolapse

How is constipation diagnosed (evaluated)?

A careful history and physical examination is important in all patients with constipation. There are many tests that can be used to evaluate constipation. Most patients need only a few basic tests. The other tests are reserved for individuals who have severe constipation or whose constipation does not respond easily to treatment. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 7/16/2015
References
REFERENCE:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2011.

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