Constipation & Diarrhea
Beverly Hills Digestive Disorders
Extremely frequent or infrequent bowel movements can negatively impact your quality of life – and can be a sign of an underlying GI condition. There are numerous causes of both diarrhea and constipation. A systematic approach to accurate diagnosis is necessary for effective treatment of these conditions.
Causes of Constipation
Constipation is defined as a reduction in the frequency of bowel movements that creates discomfort. Common causes of constipation include:
- Diet-related changes to the stool
- Slowed intestinal movement
- Certain medications
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Colon obstruction
- Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
- Abnormal potassium or calcium levels
Constipation can occasionally be a presenting sign of colon cancer – which can be diagnosed by a colonoscopy. If you have had a change in your bowel habits or are tired of struggling to have a bowel movement, you should seek an opinion from your gastroenterologist.
Why Do I Have Diarrhea?
Diarrhea is defined as loosening of the stool, with a change in consistency, frequency, and occasionally with an increase in urgency.
Diarrhea can be caused by:
- Dietary factors
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
- Other conditions that cause rapid intestinal movement
If you have consistent, chronic diarrhea, contact your GI doctor. He or she will develop a workup to diagnose potential issues, which include stool studies, blood work, and occasionally an EGD and colonoscopy to obtain biopsies from the small intestine and colon. A hydrogen breath test may be ordered as well.
If you are looking for a solution for your chronic diarrhea, contact Center for GI Health today at (310) 657-4444. Our Beverly Hills gastroenterologist can help you with your problem.