Gastro Sciences
Diseases of the gut or the gastrointestinal tract can cause significant discomfort and disrupt your day. Many a time, untreated gastrointestinal diseases can result in major life-threatening conditions. The Centre for Gastro Sciences at Meitra Hospital helps diagnose and treat diseases of the digestive tract, liver and pancreato-biliary tract to overcome them with a holistic approach. The state-of-the-art facilities and the speciality wise divisions within the Centre of Excellence are aimed at helping every patient in maintaining a healthy digestive system.

The Centre comprises of three main departments: Medical Gastroenterology, Surgical Gastroenterology and Interventional Gastro Radiology. These departments are led by a team of highly skilled and trained gastroenterologists, surgeons, endoscopists and experts in interventional radiology. Backed by advanced cutting-edge technology these experts treat digestive diseases ranging from minor illnesses to the most complicated ones. The entire spectrum of interventions from minor procedures to the most advanced interventions and surgeries are performed with utmost precision.

Chronic Constipation

Chronic constipation is the difficult passage of stools or fecal matter that can last for several weeks or even longer. It occurs when bowel movements become less frequent often due to changes in diet and inadequate intake of fiber rich foods. Generally, having less than three bowel movements a week is considered as constipation.

Causes

There are numerous causes for constipation. Often the exact cause is difficult to find out. Some of them are:

  • Lifestyle 
    • Stress
    • Intake of low-fiber diet
    • Not drinking adequate amount of water
    • Changes in routine such as travelling
    • Controlling bowel movements
  • Medical conditions
    • Diabetes
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Hyperparathyroidism
    • Structural defects in digestive system
    • Pregnancy
    • Neurological disorders such as stroke
    • Inability to relax pelvic muscles
    • Weakened pelvic muscles
    • Multiple sclerosis
  • Blockages in the colon or rectum
    • Colon cancer
    • Rectal cancer
    • Abdominal cancers
    • Block in intestines
    • Colon narrowing
    • Tears in the skin around anus
  • Certain medications
    • Pain relievers
    • Anti inflammatory drugs
    • Antidepressants
    • Antacids containing calcium
    • Allergy medicines
    • Psychiatry medicines
    • Anti seizure medications
Symptoms

Symptoms of chronic constipation include:

  • Dry and hard stools
  • Passing less than three stools a week
  • Difficulty and pain while passing stool
  • Stomach pain
  • Bloating
  • Feeling that fecal matter is not completely emptied
  • Straining and applying pressure to have bowel movements.
Diagnosis

There are many procedures to diagnose chronic constipation and the underlying cause:

  • Medical history
  • Review of bowel movements
  • Review of lifestyle habits
  • Physical examination
  • Blood tests
  • X-ray
  • Computerised tomography – CT
  • Magnetic resonance imaging – MRI
  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal transit studies
  • Defecography

There are many other bowel function tests used to diagnose and find the cause of constipation.

Prevention

Chronic constipation can be prevented and further progression can be reduced by the following measures:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Exercise regularly
  • Don’t wait to pass stool once you feel the urge
  • Eat a balanced diet including high fiber foods.
Treatment

Most of the less severe cases of constipation can be treated with self care measures. Others require medications and very severe cases might require a surgery.

  • Self-care measures
    • Intake of high fiber diet
    • Drink plenty of water
    • Rule out foods that cause constipation and avoid it
    • Regular exercise
    • Don’t ignore the urge to pass fecal matter
  • Medications may be recommended by your doctor to draw water into the intestines and to ease the move of feces through the colon.
  • Surgery is rarely used. It is used when other measures fail or if there is a structural problem or presence of cancer tissues.

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