Constipation

Mordecai Dicker, MD

Gastroenterologist located in Great Neck, NY

Constipation is an uncomfortable if infrequent nuisance in most people’s lives, but for some, it can be a continual problem that’s exceedingly painful and limiting. If constipation is affecting you frequently or severely, board-certified gastroenterologist Mordecai Dicker, MD, can help. At his practice in Great Neck, New York, Dr. Dicker provides expert treatment to patients who are struggling with constipation, so call today to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment using the online tool.

Constipation Q & A

What is constipation?

Constipation is a problem everyone experiences now and then when it becomes difficult to pass stools because they are dry and hard. The odd bout of constipation isn’t anything to worry about, but if you have severe or frequent attacks of constipation, you should visit Dr. Dicker to see what’s causing it.

Constipation can be incredibly uncomfortable, and painful when the hardened stool does come out, especially if a large, solid stool causes anal tears. If your constipation is particularly severe, your stool may become so hard it blocks your rectum. This condition is known as fecal impaction, a distressing and debilitating problem for which you definitely need medical help.

Why would I get constipation?

Infrequent instances of constipation are likely to be due to simple causes like trying to hold your stools in, mild dehydration from not drinking enough water, a change in your diet, or taking certain medications, particularly painkillers like codeine. Eating too little fiber or too much dairy can cause chronic constipation.

Other potential causes of constipation include:

  • Inactivity
  • Stress
  • Laxative abuse
  • Antidepressants
  • Iron pills
  • Calcium or aluminum antacids
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Pregnancy
  • Digestive nerve disorders
  • Colon cancer
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)

If you get constipation, think about lifestyle issues that could be responsible and take steps to change unhealthy habits. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fiber, exercising regularly, and drinking plenty of water can do wonders for your health.

What should I do if I have constipation?

Drinking lots of water and eating natural “laxatives” like prunes and bran cereals can help ease constipation. Over-the-counter laxatives aim to make stools softer, but it’s best to speak to Dr. Dicker to see if you should take laxatives and if so, which ones.

You also need to call Dr. Dicker about your constipation if you have severe stomach pains and cramping, or you can’t pass any gas. Bloody stools or stools that are very different in shape, size, or consistency to normal, and extreme pain when opening your bowels are also signs that there could be an underlying problem, as is constipation that lasts for several weeks, or is accompanied by unintended weight loss.

Even when you don’t have these symptoms, if your constipation doesn’t get better despite improving your diet and lifestyle, you should visit Dr. Dicker for a checkup. He can run blood tests and muscle function tests or do a colonoscopy to examine your large intestine in more detail.

Once you know why you’re experiencing constipation, you and Dr. Dicker can take action to resolve the cause and relieve your constipation. Call Dr. Dicker today to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment online.