Colorectal DivisionConstipation & Bowel Dysfunction
Constipation is a symptom that refers to infrequent bowel movements or other irregularities such as a hard stool or excessive straining. Constipation may be a sign of a dangerous bowel problem such as colorectal cancer or a benign condition like pelvic floor dysfunction (see below). Usually lifestyle habits cause constipation; for example, inadequate fiber and fluid intake, physical inactivity or environmental factors can lead to infrequent and/or hard stools. In these cases, it is fairly easy to reverse constipation through basic lifestyle changes. Fiber supplements may be taken, but it is important to learn about laxatives, enemas and suppositories from an expert first. Surgery is seldom recommended in benign cases of constipation.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction occurs when an individual’s pelvic floor muscles contract, instead of relax, keeping the rectum from emptying during a bowel movement. Treatment typically consists of a specialized physical therapy know as biofeedback. During biofeedback, a therapist helps improve a person’s rectal sensation and pelvic floor muscle coordination through a number of techniques. About 75 percent of patients demonstrate significant improvement using these techniques.