Tips on How to Get the Best Constipation Treatment in Tampa FL

Constipation: Symptoms, Causes, and Relief

Constipation Treatment Tampa FLWhen someone says they’re constipated, the complaint is met with immediate sympathy from anyone who has suffered this seemingly innocuous symptom. Despite the annoyance and inconvenience, there’s the discomfort and often pain accompanying constipation.

And that doesn’t even take into consideration other medical conditions. In addition to the bloating, gas, and abdominal pain often involved, constipation can negatively impact your quality of life.

Unfortunately, constipation is common among all age groups in the United States. About 16 percent of all adults struggle with constipation, and it’s more than twice as prevalent (33 percent) among those age 60 and older.

The good news is that constipation responds well to treatment, and many constipation treatments are readily available in the form of both self-help and medical interventions.

In this post, we explore the symptoms of constipation and present a stool chart that enables you to rate your stool on a scale of 1 to 7 (with 3 or 4 being the objective). We then examine the common causes of constipation and reveal steps you can take — with or without medical supervision — to alleviate constipation and improve digestion overall.

Recognizing Constipation Symptoms

People with constipation can be mild to severely uncomfortable. Symptoms vary considerably and typically include one or more of the following:

  • Small hard, and dry stools that are difficult to pass
  • Incomplete stools
  • Skipping days between stools
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Cramps
  • Gas

It’s not uncommon for some people to use the bathroom for a bowel movement only once or twice a week and not even know they are constipated. This is their “routine,” so they believe it’s normal. This may sound odd, but it’s a common symptom in clinical practice. However, it can result in complications that include:

  • Hemorrhoids
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Anal fissures (tears in the skin around the anus)
  • Rectal prolapse (the large intestine detaches inside the body and pushes out of the rectum)
  • Fecal impaction (hard, dry stool becomes stuck in the body and cannot be expelled naturally)
  • Infection as stool putrefies or rots in the digestive system between meals and days without a bowel movement.

Conducting a Self-Evaluation of Your Stools

Whenever the topic of constipation arises, the logical question is this: What’s considered normal/healthy? Bowel activity varies considerably, ranging from one to three times daily to three times weekly (the rule of three). You’re constipated if you have fewer than three bowel movements per week.

Another, perhaps more accurate, indicator is the shape and consistency of your stool, which you can evaluate using the Bristol Stool Chart shown below:

  • Ideally, the stool is type 3 or 4 and is easy to pass without being too watery
  • Types 1 and 2 are characteristic of constipation
  • Types 5–7 reflect various degrees of diarrhea

Exploring the Causes of Constipation

By examining the causes of constipation, we can identify possible solutions to the problem. Here are the four most common causes of constipation:

  • Not drinking enough water: To form normal stools, sufficient water is needed in the colon. Drinking roughly half your weight in ounces will often solve this problem; for example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should be drinking at least 80 ounces of water daily — that’s 10 cups, 5 pints, or 2.5 quarts. Coffee, black tea, and alcohol dehydrate, so you may need to increase your water intake if you also consume these beverages.
  • Eating excessive amounts of protein (particularly animal protein): Paleo and keto diets are often high in fat and protein. Many people, particularly women, have a hard time digesting excessive amounts of fat (even healthy fats), causing the bile secretion from the gallbladder to be sluggish. Bile is needed for good fat digestion and helps to move the bowels. We also need water to make bile because bile is 95 percent water.
  • Eating excessive amounts of refined grains or sugar: Sugar feeds harmful bacteria and can cause yeast overgrowth in the intestines. At times this can loosen stools. However, the opposite may happen for some people — stools become hard or difficult to move. High-sugar foods are also typically low in fiber, contributing to constipation.
  • Feelings of anxiety or stress: Under stressful conditions, the brain focuses less on digestion and more on survival. This can lead to imbalances in the vagus nerve, which controls digestion. Anxiety can also have the opposite effect and cause loose stools. Have you ever been so busy you don’t find time for the bathroom? In this case, the stool is backing up and can cause the overgrowth of bacteria into the small intestine and cause constipation.

Finding Relief for Constipation

Effective treatment for constipation requires a personalized approach that targets what’s causing it in the individual. Here at BioDesign Wellness Center, we have a comprehensive Digestive Repair Guide that addresses all causes, allowing us to choose a menu of treatment options to address each patient’s needs.

For any given patient, treatment may include one or more of the following options:

  • Guidance on specific food items, including dairy, eggs, greens, and gluten
  • Digestive enzymes and, in some cases, increasing stomach acid facilitate the breakdown of foods
  • Guidance on physical activity to improve digestion and metabolism
  • Abdominal massage to enhance motility (the movement of food and waste products through the intestines)
  • Gut healing products reduce inflammation, improve digestion, address any infections (overgrowth of harmful bacteria, viruses, or fungi), and build resilience
  • Vagal retraining to stimulate and tone the vagal nerve, which connects the brain directly to the digestive tract
  • Stress reduction and restoration of the body’s stress response
  • Healthy oils to enhance overall health and function at the cellular level

Constipation Treatment Tampa FLIf you’re constipated, we strongly encourage you to do something about it, however mild your symptoms may be. Diet and digestion are crucial for ensuring that every cell in your body receives nutrients for healthy structure and function.

When food and waste products aren’t moving as they should through the digestive tract, the situation can have far-reaching implications for your health and fitness, not to mention your comfort and quality of life.

If you’ve tried self-help approaches for alleviating constipation — drinking more water, eating healthier, and reducing stress — to little or no avail, consult a functional and integrative medicine practitioner for evaluation and testing. Contact us to schedule your evaluation if you’re in or near Tampa, Florida.

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Disclaimer: The information in this blog post about constipation is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect current medical thinking or practices. No information contained in this post should be construed as medical advice from the medical staff at BioDesign Wellness Center, Inc., nor is this post intended to be a substitute for medical counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate medical advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a licensed medical professional in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.