Constipation: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Constipation?

Constipation is a condition in which a person has fewer than three bowel movements a week or has bowel movements with stools that are hard, dry, and small, making them painful or difficult to pass.

Recovery Time

Recovery depends on the cause, most of the cases get relieved within 2-3 weeks.


To diagnose the cause of constipation the doctor will perform a physical exam, medical history and order specific tests.
  • Blood test
  • Lower GI Series
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy
  • Colorectal transit studies
  • Anorectal function tests
  • Defecography

FAQs prepared by doctor

Q1.  Are there surgeries that can resolve my constipation?
  • Surgery is always a last resort.
  • Most constipation can be resolved with diet, lifestyle changes and laxative therapy. Surgery is recommended if you have a slow moving colon that has failed all medical treatments or if you have a structure blocking the way that is causing your constipation. Structures blocking the way of stool moving through the anal canal can also be lifted by strengthening the pelvic floor through physical therapy.
Q2.  Are there chances of constipation during pregnancy?
  • Yes
  • The uterus is located in the abdominal cavity along with tightly packed small and large intestines. As the uterus expands in size and weight, the outward pressure in all directions compresses the intestines and the stomach, and this pressure interferes with the mechanical aspect of gastric digestion (stomach s contraction and expansion) and the propulsion of chyme (digestive mass) through the intestines (motility).
  • Some iron tablets used to treat anemia during pregnancy may actually make constipation worse.
  • If you don t exercise much, your whole system will be sluggish. As your pregnancy progresses, and your baby gets bigger, increased downward pressure on your pelvic area makes constipation more likely.
Q3.  What are the drugs causing constipation?
Calcium channel blockers used in hypertension  and antidepressants used in depression.
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