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Ask a Doctor

January 5th, 2017

Q: Are there surgical treatments for constipation?

A: About 80 percent of people suffer from constipation at some time during their lives; occasional constipation is normal. The assumption that everyone should have a bowel movement every day has led to overuse of laxatives.

Constipation can be caused by inadequate fiber and fluid intake, sedentary lifestyle and some medications (painkillers, iron and calcium supplements, aluminum-containing antacids, etc). It may be aggravated by travel, pregnancy or a change in diet. More serious causes of constipation include narrowing in the colon, so see your doctor if constipation persists more than 3 weeks.

The majority of constipation is successfully treated with a high-fiber diet (fruits and vegetables) and increasing hydration. 

Your doctor may prescribe an over-the-counter or prescription laxative. If these fail, the colon can be assessed for slow motility, called "colonic inertia," which can be treated surgically by removing the colon and attaching the small bowel to the rectum so that the patient can eliminate through the anus. 

— Dr. Shauna Lorenzo-Rivero, board certified colorectal surgeon with University Surgical Associates 

Learn more about Dr. Lorenzo by reading her profile here. To schedule an appointment, call (423) 267-0466. 

Posted by University Surgical  | Category: colorectal surgery
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