Constipation Specialist

Park Avenue Colon and Rectal Surgery

Colorectal Surgeon & Minimally Invasive Surgery located in Murray Hill, New York City, NY

Everyone occasionally has constipation, but 15% of adults struggle with chronic constipation, which can be caused by a blockage or inflammation that needs specialized medical care. You can get the personalized treatment you need from Marsha Harris, MD, FACS, FASCRS, at Park Avenue Colon and Rectal Surgery in Murray Hill, Manhattan. Dr. Harris offers comprehensive treatment, including lifestyle changes, medication, and minimally invasive surgery. To learn more about your treatment options, call the office in New York City, or schedule an appointment through the online booking system today.

Constipation Q & A

How do I know when I have constipation?

You don’t need to have a bowel movement every day, but having fewer than three bowel movements during a week means you have constipation. Other signs of constipation include:

  • Having a hard time passing stool
  • Experiencing pain when trying to have a bowel movement
  • Straining to have a bowel movement
  • Feeling like all the stool wasn’t eliminated
  • Feeling like your rectum is blocked

Many people with constipation also experience abdominal cramping, gas, and bloating.

What causes constipation?

You may become constipated for many reasons, including:

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

Colon cancer, benign polyps, rectocele, and scar tissue cause constipation when they block the intestine. Inflammatory conditions such as diverticulitis tend to narrow the intestine, resulting in constipation.

How does a motility disorder cause constipation?

Motility refers to the movement of food and waste through the intestines. That movement occurs when muscles lining the intestine contract and relax. When motility in your colon stops, you develop constipation.

Emotional stress and lack of physical exercise affect motility. The most common causes of dysmotility, however, are nerve and muscle problems.

How is constipation diagnosed?

After you have a physical exam and a digital rectal exam, you may need other tests to determine the cause of your constipation. That could include blood tests, a colonoscopy, or sigmoidoscopy. Some patients may need specialized tests such as anorectal manometry or a colonic transit study, to name a few.

How is constipation treated?

Once Dr. Harris diagnoses the underlying condition responsible for your constipation, she develops a customized treatment plan. Whenever possible, your treatment begins with lifestyle changes that boost stool movement through your intestines, such as eating more fiber, drinking more fluids, and getting regular exercise.

Dr. Harris may recommend laxatives or prescription medications that relieve chronic constipation. If your constipation was caused by opioids, you might need medications that can reverse the effect of opioids on your intestines.

Bowel training can get you in the habit of having regular bowel movements. Biofeedback can help to retrain your muscles.

If your constipation is caused by a blockage, narrowed intestine, cancer, or diverticulitis, you may need minimally invasive surgery to remove the problem and repair the colon.

Don’t wait to get help for constipation. Call Park Avenue Colon and Rectal Surgery or book an appointment online today.