Constipation Specialist

Northern Virginia Gastroenterology, P.C.

Gastroenterology & Hepatology located in Centreville, VA & Sterling, VA

Constipation is more than just difficulty having a bowel movement — it can be quite painful and may represent a serious issue in your digestive tract. At Northern Virginia Gastroenterology, P.C., with offices in Centreville, Sterling, and Chantilly, Virginia, the team of board-certified gastroenterologists, including Lance Lasner, MD, and Nisha Chand, MD, provides comprehensive digestive health care. They can find the cause of your persistent constipation and help you get symptom relief fast, so book your appointment online or call the office nearest you for help now.

Constipation Q&A

What is constipation?

Constipation means difficulty passing stools, very infrequent stools, or both. Healthy people can have as few as three bowel movements per week, so you may have constipation if you have two or fewer bowel movements in a week. 

What are the symptoms of constipation?

Constipation may cause issues including: 

  • Hard stools
  • Dry stools
  • Lumpy stools
  • Small stools
  • Straining to pass stools
  • Sensation of a full bowel, even after having a bowel movement
  • Abdominal cramping

Constipation can be quite uncomfortable or even painful, with increasing symptoms the longer you go without a bowel movement. Chronic constipation can lead to complications like hemorrhoids, anal fissures, impacted stools, and diverticulitis. 

What causes constipation?

Constipation can occur when dehydration, dietary changes, activity changes, or medications cause unusually slow stool movement through your intestines. When stool moves more slowly than usual, it loses a lot of the water that keeps it soft, so it grows drier and harder to pass.

Lack of muscle coordination in your pelvic and anal muscles can potentially contribute to constipation as well. Although it’s rare, a bowel blockage could also cause constipation. 

How is constipation diagnosed?

In most cases, the Northern Virginia Gastroenterology, P.C. team can diagnose constipation during a discussion about your symptoms. 

To determine the root cause of your constipation, you may need tests like lab work, stool tests, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, abdominal X-ray, or other tests.

What is the best treatment for constipation?

Constipation treatment usually involves lifestyle changes along with medication as needed. If you have an underlying issue or a complication of constipation, treatment starts with addressing that problem. 

A few of the changes that the Northern Virginia Gastroenterology, P.C. may recommend include: 

  • Increasing the fiber in your diet, which may include supplements
  • Avoiding foods that trigger constipation 
  • Drinking more water
  • Avoiding beverages that can dehydrate you, such as caffeine
  • Exercising regularly
  • Never delaying bowel movements

If you’re taking a medication that’s causing chronic constipation, the team may prescribe an alternative drug that works just as well, but without the constipation side effect.

If your constipation is causing ongoing discomfort or making your life difficult, it’s time to find out what the problem is and how you can correct it. Call the nearest Northern Virginia Gastroenterology, P.C. office or click on the provided booking tool to arrange your appointment now.