Constipation is a common condition that involves infrequent or hard bowel movements that may occur as a result of insufficient fluid consumption or a diet that does not contain enough fiber. Depending on how often you normally have a bowel movement will determine what is considered to be “infrequent” for each individual patient, but is usually defined as fewer than three stools a week. Patients with irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes or other conditions may be at an increased risk of experiencing constipation.
Although constipation is not usually a serious condition, it can lead to complications such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, fecal impaction or rectal prolapse. It is important to seek prompt medical attention for persistent constipation.
Most cases of constipation are temporary and can be resolved through changes in diet and fluid consumption or increasing physical activity. Some patients may require medications, such as over-the-counter laxatives, to help treat constipation and encourage bowel movements. Your doctor will inform you on how to prevent constipation and keep stools from accumulating in the future through healthy bowel habits.
Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
The cause of Crohn’s disease is not known. It is believed to be caused by the immune system mistaking food and bacteria for foreign substances and attacking them. The disease is also believed to be hereditary, as 20% of people affected have a direct relative with Crohn’s disease or another inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Most people with Crohn’s disease experience abdominal pain and frequent diarrhea. Other symptoms include bloody stools, reduced appetite and weight loss. More severe cases can also cause fever and fatigue, while some people experience no symptoms at all. Periods of remission can last for months or years.
To diagnosis Crohn’s disease, your doctor will perform a medical examination and order a blood test, colonoscopy, barium enema or X-ray or CT scan.
Treatment of Crohn’s disease often includes anti-inflammatory drugs, immune system suppressors, antibiotics and over-the-counter medicine. Surgery may be recommended for patients with more severe or unresponsive symptoms. Changes in diet and regular exercise can also help alleviate symptoms.