Constipation

Kevin H. Ashby, MD

Gastroenterologist with offices in Irvine & Foothill Ranch, CA

Constipation causes you to have fewer than three bowel movements per week. Many people experience constipation from time to time, but if your symptoms persist, it may point to a more serious underlying health problem. At his practice in Irvine and Foothill Ranch, California, board-certified gastroenterologist Kevin Ashby, MD, offers safe, effective treatments for constipation. To schedule an appointment, book online or call the office today.

Constipation Q & A

What is constipation?

Constipation is a gastrointestinal problem that causes you to have infrequent bowel movements. Without treatment, chronic constipation can negatively affect your quality of life, making it difficult to go to work, exercise, or spend time with friends. 

Additionally, it may cause you to strain when using the bathroom, which increases your risk of hemorrhoids.

What are the symptoms of constipation?

Common symptoms of constipation include:

  • Having lumpy or hard stools
  • Feeling like there’s a blockage in your rectum
  • Feeling unable to empty your rectum
  • Straining to have bowel movements

Almost everyone experiences constipation at some point, but if you develop any of the above symptoms for three months or more, your condition may be chronic.

What causes constipation?

Slow moving stool is the leading cause of constipation. If the waste in your body can’t move through your digestive tract quickly, it becomes hard and dry, making it difficult to pass.

Other factors that may contribute to constipation include a poor diet, poor bowel habits, physical inactivity, and older age. 

Is there any way to prevent constipation?

If you want to lower your risk of constipation, the team at Kevin Ashby, MD, recommends:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Managing your stress levels
  • Eating a balanced, high-fiber diet
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Establishing a regular schedule for bowel movements

If you experience the urgent need to go to the bathroom, don’t ignore it. Waiting too long may increase your risk of constipation.

How is constipation diagnosed?

To diagnose constipation, the team at Kevin Ashby, MD, reviews your medical history, asks about your symptoms and lifestyle, and conducts a digital rectal exam. 

If you’re experiencing chronic constipation, they might also order blood tests, an abdominal X-ray, or a colonoscopy.

How is constipation treated?

While uncomfortable, constipation usually isn’t related to a serious medical condition. The team at Kevin Ashby, MD, typically recommends holistic treatments to manage constipation. 

For example, diet and lifestyle changes, and in some cases, medications, can significantly improve your symptoms. 

You might also benefit from prescription stool softeners or medications that draw water to your intestines. If your constipation is due to a blockage or stricture in your rectum, surgery may be necessary. 

To further explore treatment options for constipation, schedule an appointment at Kevin Ashby, MD. Book a consultation online or call the office today.

Dr. Ashby treats acute and chronic GI disorders such as:

 

Gerd/Heartburn

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Constipation

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Diarrhea

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Peptic Ulcers

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Gallbladder Disease

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We offer diagnostic procedures and treatments including:

 

Colonoscopy

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Upper Endoscopy

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