Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint
in the United States,
affecting more than 4 million Americans and accounting for more than two
million visits to the doctor each year. While
the groups most often affected are women and adults over age 65, constipation
is also a significant problem for people
with cancer . Contributing factors include dietary and activity patterns,
anatomic considerations, pain medication, and a number of cancer treatments .
Though most constipation is temporary
and often perceived as a mere nuisance, persistent difficulty with bowel
movements can lead to long term complications, and there are rare cases of
constipation leading to serious illness and death. Given the potential negative
effects on health, it is important to recognize the factors contributing to
constipation and to practice effective management and prevention tactics.
Bowel motility is the complex function of the intestine
maintaining water balance in the stool...
Stools - bloody; Hematochezia; Melena; Stools - black or tarry
Call your health care provider if
Call your doctor immediately if you notice blood or changes in the color of your stool. Even if you think that hemorrhoids are causing the blood in your stool, your doctor should examine you to make sure that there is no other, more serious cause present.
In children, a small amount of blood in the stool is usually not serious. The most common causes are constipation and milk allergies. However, it is still worth reporting to your doctor, even if no evaluation is needed.
What to expect at your health care provider's office
Your doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical examination, focusing on your abdomen and rectum.
The following questions may be included in the history to better understand the possible causes of your bloody or dark stools:
Are you taking blood thinners (aspirin, warfari...
Spastic colon; Irritable colon; Mucous colitis; Spastic colitis
Symptoms range from mild to severe. Most people have mild symptoms. Symptoms vary from person to person.
Abdominal pain, fullness, gas, and bloating that have been present for at least 6 months are the main symptoms of IBS. The pain and other symptoms will often:
Occur after meals
Come and go
Be reduced or go away after a bowel movement
People with IBS may switch between constipation and diarrhea, or mostly have one or the other.
People with diarrhea will have frequent, loose, watery stools. They will often have an urgent need to have a bowel movement, which is difficult to control.
Those with constipation will have difficulty passing stool, as well as less frequent bowel movements. They will often need to strain and will feel cramping with a bowel movement. Often, they do not eliminate any stool, or only a small amount.
For some pe...
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