What Is Constipation?

Constipation is a common gastrointestinal condition characterized by infrequent bowel movements or difficult passage of stools. It typically involves fewer than three bowel movements per week, and the stools can be harder, dryer, and more difficult to pass, leading to discomfort or pain.

smiling man crossing his arm

What Causes Constipation?

Several factors can contribute to constipation, including:

  • Dietary habits: Insufficient fiber intake from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Fluid intake: Not consuming enough water and other fluids.
  • Physical activity: Lack of exercise or prolonged inactivity.
  • Medications: Certain medications like painkillers, antidepressants, and iron supplements can lead to constipation.
  • Medical Issues: Constipation can be a side effect of diabetes, thyroid disorders, and neurological conditions.
  • Age: Older adults are more prone to constipation due to a slower metabolism and changes in gastrointestinal function.

What Are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of constipation include:

  • Less frequent bowel movements than usual for the individual.
  • Straining during bowel movements.
  • Hard or lumpy stools.
  • A feeling of failing to evacuate the bowel.
  • Discomfort or pain in the abdominal area.
  • Bloating.

How Is Constipation Treated?

Treatment for constipation varies depending on the underlying cause but often includes:

  • Dietary changes: Increasing fiber intake through diet or supplements.
  • Increased fluid intake: Encouraging more water and non-caffeinated beverages.
  • Exercise: Promoting regular physical activity to stimulate intestinal activity.
  • Laxatives: Used judiciously under medical guidance.
  • Prescription medications: For chronic constipation that doesn’t respond to lifestyle changes.
Background media

When Should I See a GI Doctor for Constipation?

If your constipation persists for over three days, schedule an appointment at Peak Gastroenterology Associates to evaluate your condition. It may be an urgent medical issue if any of the following symptoms accompanies your constipation:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in your stool
  • Persistent abdominal pain
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Lower back pain
  • Vomiting
  • Fever

These symptoms may indicate a more serious underlying condition that requires prompt evaluation.

doctor on a tablet
doctor on a tablet light gray

Schedule Your Appointment Discover Real Care

Request Appointment
Contact us media

Why Choose Us?

At Peak Gastroenterology Associates, we understand how debilitating constipation can be. Our team is dedicated to providing personalized and effective treatment plans, integrating dietary management, lifestyle changes, and medical interventions as needed. We offer a compassionate and supportive environment, ensuring that each patient feels heard and understood while receiving the highest standard of care. Our practice also offers much more than premier gastrointestinal treatment. We have a multi-specialty team of renowned physicians who offer a full spectrum of medical care, allowing you to thoroughly improve your overall health in one convenient location.

Most people don’t talk about constipation, so it’s easy to believe that few people have the problem. But the truth is that 16 percent of all adults struggle with constipation. If your constipation doesn’t improve in a few days, the doctors at Peak Gastroenterology Associates can help restore regular bowel movements. We offer customized treatments at our Colorado Springs, Denver, and Lone Tree clinics. Call the office nearest you or schedule an appointment online for relief from constipation.

Constipation FAQ

What is a normal bowel movement?

Each person has different bowel habits. You may have a bowel movement three times a day, three times a week, or anywhere between the two. If your habits are consistent, then that’s normal for you. While you don’t need to have a bowel movement every day, a stool that stays in the intestine too long tends to harden and cause constipation.

What symptoms develop if I have constipation?

The most common symptom of constipation is having difficulty passing a stool. You may also have symptoms such as:

  • Having fewer than three bowel movements weekly
  • Passing hard stools or small lumps
  • Finding it painful to pass a stool
  • Straining to have a bowel movement
  • Feeling like all the stool wasn’t expelled
  • Feeling like your rectum is blocked
  • You may also find that stool gets stuck as it leaves your body

What causes constipation?

Constipation occurs when a stool passes through your large intestine too slowly. This problem can develop due to health problems affecting your rectum and colon, such as rectocele, diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease. You’re also more likely to become constipated if you have any of the following:

  • Low-fiber diet
  • Dehydration
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Muscle dysfunction
  • Nerve damage
  • Thyroid disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Certain medications

Any condition that narrows the intestine, such as tumors, polyps, scar tissue, and inflammation, may also result in constipation.

When should I see a doctor for constipation?

If your constipation lasts longer than three days, you should schedule an appointment at Peak Gastroenterology Associates. Constipation should be evaluated immediately when other symptoms are present, including the following:

  • Bleeding from your rectum
  • Blood in your stool
  • Constant abdominal pain
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Lower back pain
  • Vomiting
  • Fever

The team of providers at Peak Gastroenterology Associates can help determine the root cause of your constipation and recommend effective treatment options that will offer you relief.

How do you diagnose constipation?

Your symptoms are usually enough to diagnose constipation. However, determining what caused your constipation may require more digging with testing such as:

  • Blood tests
  • X-rays
  • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Evaluation of muscle function

Your GI doctor at Peak Gastroenterology Associates may also perform tests that evaluate food movement through the colon.

How do you treat constipation?

Your doctor customizes your treatment depending on the severity of your symptoms and the cause of your constipation. While there are many possible treatments for the potential causes, these therapies are used to improve your constipation:

  • Dietary changes
  • Exercise
  • Fiber supplements
  • Stool softeners
  • Osmotic agents
  • Lubricants
  • Stimulants
  • Bowel training

If you have trouble with constipation, call Peak Gastroenterology Associates or schedule an appointment online today. Our GI specialists deliver world-class, patient-focused care in Denver, Colorado Springs, Lone Tree, and to patients throughout Colorado and beyond.

Contact us media
Peak Patient
Peak patient
Accessibility: If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact our Accessibility Manager at (719) 636-1201.
Contact Us