Your Doctor Visit
What your doctor will ask you about: abdominal pain, blood instools, pain with defecation, diarrhea alternating with hard stool,weight loss, anxiety, depression.
Your doctor will also want to knowif you have ever had a barium enema or a colonoscopy, and what theyshowed.
Your doctor will want to know if you or anyone in your familyhas had any of these conditions: colitis, emotional problems, diver-ticular disease.
Your doctor will want to know what you normally eat, and howmany bowel movements you have each week.
Your doctor will want to know if you’re taking any of these med-ications: laxatives, enemas, sedatives such as Valium, opiates such asPercocet, antacids, anticholinergic medications such as Benadryl,calcium channel agents for high blood pressure.
Your doctor will do a physical examination including the fol-lowing: pushing on your abdomen, rectal exam, testing your stoolfor blood.
WHAT CAN CAUSE CONSTIPATION IN ADULTS?
Cause: Medication use
Examples and/or symptoms: Anticholinergics such as Benadryl, antidepressants, calcium channel agents used forhigh blood pressure such as Norvasc
Cause: Laxative habit
Examples and/or symptoms: Overreliance on laxatives until youdepend on them to have a bowel move-ment (can lead to decreased defecationreflex, below)
Cause: Poor diet
Examples and/or symptoms: Constipation-causing diets are those withhigh amounts of carbohydrates and lowamounts of fiber (found in whole grainsand raw vegetables)
Cause: Inflammation of the anus
Examples and/or symptoms: Pain on defecation, anus is tender
Cause: Irritable bowel syndrome
Examples and/or symptoms: Chronic history of anxiety in which loosestools and lower abdominal pain alternatewith constipation
Cause: Decreased defecation reflex
Examples and/or symptoms: A result of chronic use of laxatives or habitual constipation
Cause: Partial bowel obstruction
Examples and/or symptoms: Recent change in bowel habits, can alsoalternate with loose stools