Can Long-Term Constipation Affect Your Overall Health and Body Function?

constipation relief in Atlanta Constipation can have a different meaning for every person. In some cases, constipation can refer to infrequent bowel movements. In others, it can mean having stool that is difficult to pass. Constipation could also define the feeling of an incomplete bowel movement. In this blog, the premier colorectal surgeons at Piedmont Colorectal Associates discuss long-term constipation and its impact on your health.

What Is Long-Term Constipation?

Generally speaking, long-term, or chronic, constipation lasts three months or more. The condition can even continue for years if not treated. It is characterized by its disruptiveness to the individual’s life, and it is not relieved by dietary or lifestyle changes. Because of this, long-term constipation requires medical intervention and medication.

Long-term constipation can be caused by a number of conditions, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Bowel stricture (narrowing of the colon)
  • Crohn’s disease, IBS, and other bowel diseases
  • Immobility
  • Anal and rectum tears
  • Neurological issues, such as Parkinson’s disease
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction

Certain medications, such as diuretics, opiates, and anti-diarrheal medicine, can also lead to chronic constipation.

When constipation occurs for an unknown reason, it is referred to as chronic idiopathic constipation.

Impact to Health

Long-term constipation can impact your health and lead to other conditions if not addressed.

Rectal bleeding. When stool is difficult to pass, it can lead to straining, which can result in rectal bleeding. This can be caused by small tears in the anus but is more often related to hemorrhoids. Rectal bleeding is usually accompanied by pain, itching, irritation, and anal swelling.

Hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are painful swollen veins around the anus and can be either internal or external. Long-term constipation contributes to the likelihood that an individual will develop hemorrhoids.

Fecal impaction. Chronic constipation can result in dried stool that collects in the anus and is not emptied properly. Once stool has become impacted, it is very difficult to pass without medication or medical attention. When fecal impaction occurs, you may also notice numbness or a loss of sensation around the anus, rectal prolapse, and frequent anal bleeding.

Bowel incontinence. Bowel incontinence is linked to constipation. When fecal impaction occurs, the hard stool can stretch the muscles of the rectum, which ultimately weakens or damages them. Involuntary soiling can follow.

Constipation Treatment in Atlanta

If long-term constipation has impacted your health and you are ready to experience relief, it is time to take action. The top colorectal surgeons in Atlanta at Piedmont Colorectal Associates are available to evaluate, diagnose, and develop a treatment plan for you. Schedule an appointment today.