What Happens During an Exam? continued...
These questions may sound personal, but they're the only way your doctor can learn why you're constipated and find the best constipation treatment for you.
Don't be embarrassed or afraid to also ask your doctor questions, such as:
- How often should I go to the bathroom?
- How much fluid should I drink each day?
- How much fiber do I need to eat?
- Which type of laxative will help my constipation while causing the fewest side effects?
- How soon should my constipation improve?
- Do I need to see a gastroenterologist?
- When should I make an appointment to see you again?
During the exam, the doctor may insert a gloved, lubricated finger into your anus to check for a blockage or signs of blood. You may also have tests to rule out conditions that can cause constipation.
Sometimes, your doctor may recommend that you have tests such as a barium enema X-ray, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy. These diagnostic tests allow your doctor to look for problems in your intestines, colon, and rectum.
Once the cause of your constipation has been determined, your doctor will discuss treatments with you. Common constipation treatments include adding more fiber to your diet and taking laxatives.
Stay in touch with your doctor while following your constipation treatment. You may need to switch treatments if one isn't working. It’s possible to become dependent on laxatives and need them to have a bowel movement. In that case, your doctor may have to wean you off laxatives to get your system back to normal.