An overview of chronic constipation diagnostic tests

It is normal for people to get constipated once in a while as caused by any of the following: stress, less fiber in diet, lack of water intake, sedentary lifestyle or change in dietary habits. Usually,doctors tell individuals to increase intake of fiber from fruits and vegetables as remedy for constipation. There are also over-the-counter (OTC) medicines like laxatives to relieve the discomfort. People who are engaged in different sports or exercise suffer less from constipation. Nonetheless, when symptoms are still present despite these changes, it may already be chronic constipation.Using more laxatives to treat symptoms is not advisable because too much stimulation of the digestive system can result in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). A good course of action is to visit a doctor for medical advice.

Usually, doctors require adequate medical data about a patient to diagnose properly.There is a possibility that chronic constipation indicates a more serious medical condition that must be given proper intervention.If this is the case, chronic constipation is considered as secondary constipation. Metabolic disorders, Neurologic disorders, colon diseases or abuse of narcotic drugs can lead to chronic constipation. To precisely arrive at the cause of chronic constipation, doctors may require different laboratory tests as illustrated by the following:

Diagnostic tests for chronic constipation
*Scope Tests This has 3 tests: sigmoidoscopy, rigid proctoscopy and colonoscopy. Bleeding, inflammation and tumors in different parts the colon can be detected through these tests by the doctors. A biopsy can also be performed using the colonoscope.

*Defecating Proctogram X-ray- It determines how the sigmoid colon and rectum releases stool efficiently.

*Anal and Abdominal Ultrasound – Sound waves reflect and create image of abdomen and anal sphincter muscles.

*Anorectal Testing – This test can evaluate if the rectum and pelvic floor muscles do their jobs properly when passing stool.

*Colonic Motility Test – One of the most innovative diagnostic tests for chronic constipation. An endoscope attached with a special balloon is inserted into the colon. By using this test, doctors can reach a decision whether a surgical procedure is necessary for the patient or not.

*Hydrogen Breath Test – Some cases of chronic constipation maybe caused by lactose or fructose intolerance.
This test measures the amount of hydrogen gas in the breath.

Indeed, advances in technology allows doctors to perform complex diagnostic tests for chronic constipation. Because of such advances , doctors are more equipped to treat chronic constipation effectively.