Ask a doctor
Are there surgical treatments for constipation?
A: The majority of constipation is successfully treated with a high-fiber diet and increasing hydration. Your doctor may prescribe an over-the-counter or prescription laxative. If these fail, the colon can be assessed for slow motility, called "colonic inertia." This can be treated surgically by removing the colon and attaching the small bowel to the rectum so the patient can eliminate through the anus.
Constipation can mean infrequent bowel movements (BMs) or decrease in the volume of stool, straining to have a movement, a sense of incomplete evacuation or the need for laxatives. About 80 percent of people suffer from constipation at some time during their lives; occasional constipation is normal. The assumption that everyone should have a BM every day has led to overuse of laxatives. It can be caused by inadequate fiber & fluid intake, sedentary lifestyle and some medications (painkillers, iron and calcium supplements, aluminum containing antacids, etc). It may be aggravated by travel, pregnancy or change in diet. See your doctor if constipation persists more than three weeks.
— Dr. Shauna Lorenzo-Rivero, University Surgical Associates; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society