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Sam Weissman, MD

Gastroenterologist located in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, NY

Though everyone experiences bouts of constipation, diarrhea, or other bowel irregularities from time to time, if your constipation is a chronic problem, you should schedule an evaluation with board-certified gastroenterologist Sam Weissman, MD, in Brooklyn, New York. Dr. Weissman offers comprehensive evaluations and advanced testing to find the root cause of your change in bowel habits to get you the right treatment. Call his Brighton Beach office or request a consultation online today.

Constipation Q & A

What is constipation?

Constipation occurs when you have fewer bowel movements than normal, causing hard, lumpy stools that are difficult or painful to pass. Medically, constipation is when you have three or fewer bowel movements a week.

However, bowel habits vary from person to person. Some people may only have two or three bowel movements a week, while others may have two to three bowel movements a day. 

When evaluating your gastrointestinal problem, whether you have constipation or diarrhea, Dr. Weissman considers your typical bowel habits when he first evaluates you. 

What causes constipation?

Constipation may develop from any number of causes, including a change in routine or diet. You may also develop constipation if you’re not getting enough fiber in your diet or drinking enough fluids. Constipation is also more common as you get older. 

However, your difficulty having a bowel movement may also be a symptom of an underlying health issue, such as:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Diverticular disease
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Diabetes
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction
  • Colon cancer
  • Lupus
  • Lazy bowel syndrome (poor muscle contraction in the large intestine)

Pregnant women, elderly adults, and people who just had surgery or have given birth may also experience intense bouts of constipation. Constipation may also be a side-effect of certain medications, such as pain relievers, blood pressure medications, diuretics, and antidepressants.

Most causes of constipation resolve with at-home care. However, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Weissman if your constipation fails to improve with at-home care, causes severe abdominal pain, or is an ongoing problem. 

What happens during a constipation evaluation?

Dr. Weissman conducts an in-depth exam to find the root cause of your problem. He asks detailed questions about your normal bowel habits, diet, fluid intake, exercise routine, and the types of medications and supplements you take.

He reviews your medical history, conducts a physical exam, and may request various lab tests such as blood work, urinalysis, or stool testing. You may also need a colonoscopy or endoscopy to confirm or rule out an underlying gastrointestinal problem.

How is constipation treated?

Treatment for your bowel habit changes may initially focus on your lifestyle. 

To alleviate constipation, Dr. Weissman may recommend you add more fiber-rich foods to your diet, drink more fluids, and engage in regular exercise. Medical treatments for changes in bowel habits may depend on the underlying cause of your constipation. Treatment may include:

  • Disease-specific medication
  • Stool softeners or laxatives
  • Antibiotic prescription
  • Anti-diarrheal medication

To get help with your constipation, diarrhea, or other changes in bowel habits, call Dr. Weissman or request an appointment online today.