Dr. Marc Basson received his undergraduate and medical education at the University of Michigan, surgical training at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, Downstate Medical Center, and St. Mary's Hospital, and then earned a PhD in Experimental Pathology at Yale University before becoming an Assistant and then Associate Professor of Surgery at Yale.
Call your health care professional if you have these concerns:
Symptoms are severe and last longer than three weeks
Recent and significant change in bowel habits, for instance, if constipation alternates with diarrhea
Severe pain in the anus during a bowel movement
Symptoms of other diseases in addition to constipation (for example, tiredness, fatigue, poor tolerance to cold weather may suggest the need to assess thyroid function for hypothyroidism, an underactive gland.)
Constipation for two weeks or longer with abdominal pain, which might be a sign of lead poisoning
When to seek emergency medical care
Although constipation may be extremely uncomfortable, it is usually not serious.
However, it may signal a serious underlying disorder such as
cancer of the bowel. Because constipation may lead to complications, go to a hospital's emergency department for any of the following reasons:
Anal fissures or cracks in the mucous lining (severe pain during defecation in the anal area)
Fecal impaction (immovable intestinal contents) in very young children and in older adults
Rectal prolapse or sagging (occasionally, straining causes a small amount of the intestinal lining to push out from the rectal opening. This may lead to secretion of mucus that may stain
Recurrent vomiting with constipation and abdominal pain (This may suggest intestinal obstruction and needs urgent hospital treatment.)
Severe abdominal pain with constipation that is constant and worsening,
especially if it is accompanied with a fever.