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Treatments

  • Lifestyle modifications

    Your gastrointestinal (GI) doctor will likely recommend that you make changes to your daily routine, including making sure you consume plenty of fiber, water, and liquids. You should also get regular exercise. You should try to have a bowel movement at the same time each day and when you get the urge to have a bowel movement, be sure to do it.

  • Laxatives or fiber supplements

    Your GI doctor may recommend you take a laxative, as needed, or take regular fiber supplements to try to get your bowels to move more regularly.

  • Lubricants

    A lubricant applied in and around the anus can help make bowel movements less painful and easier.

  • Stool softeners

    You may need to take an oral (by mouth) stool softener to make bowel movements easier.

  • Enemas and suppositories

    Inserting an enema or suppository inside the anus may help you have a bowel movement.

  • Biofeedback training

    You may want to try biofeedback training, which involves training your pelvic muscles to encourage your bowels to move more regularly.

  • Surgery

    In severe cases – especially when there is a blockage – your GI doctor may recommend you undergo surgery to address your chronic constipation.

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Tests

  • Blood test

    Your GI doctor may order a blood test to check for other conditions that may be causing constipation.

  • Sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy

    In this test, your GI doctor closely examines your rectum and colon for blockages or other problems.

  • Anorectal manometry

    This test evaluates anal sphincter muscle function.

  • Balloon expulsion test

    This test evaluates anal sphincter muscle speed.

  • Colonic transit study

    This test evaluates how well food moves through your colon.

  • Defecography

    This is an X-ray of your rectum during defecation.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) defecography

    An MRI is used to assess the function of the defecation muscles and diagnose problems that can cause constipation.