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Constipation Specialist

Colon and Rectal Clinic of Tampa Bay

Lourdes T Santiago , MD

Colorectal Surgery & General Surgery located in Clearwater, FL

Constipation is a common problem. More than two million people visit their doctor each year because of constipation. Though most causes of constipation resolve with lifestyle changes, some causes may require surgical intervention. At the Colon and Rectal Clinic of Tampa Bay, Lourdes Santiago, MD, is a board-certified general surgeon who specializes in colorectal surgery. To discuss surgical options for constipation, call the office in Clearwater, Florida, or book an appointment online today.

Constipation Q&A

What is constipation?

In general, constipation is when you have less than three bowel movements a week.

However, your normal bowel habits are unique to you. Some people have several bowel movements a day, while others may have a few bowel movements a week.

You have constipation when there’s a change in your normal bowel habits, and your stools are hard, dry, and difficult to pass. 

When should I see a doctor about constipation?

Constipation is a common problem and not always a serious medical issue. However, constipation may be a symptom of an underlying gastrointestinal condition. You should schedule an appointment with your doctor if you have concerns about your constipation or your constipation is a persistent problem.

You should also see your doctor about your constipation if you have severe abdominal pain, it’s been several days since your last bowel movement, or you’re unable to pass gas. Unexplained weight loss is also a concerning symptom you may have with changes in bowel habits.

How is the cause of constipation discovered?

At the Colon and Rectal Clinic of Tampa Bay, Dr. Santiago uses advanced diagnostic tools to find the underlying cause of constipation. Testing might include:

Anal manometry

Anal manometry is a test that measures the strength of the anal and rectal sphincters that help with stool elimination.

Endorectal ultrasound

Endorectal ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound wave technology to generate images of your rectum.


A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure Dr. Santiago uses to examine the lining of your large intestine.

How is constipation treated?

Treatment for constipation depends on the cause. Initially, Dr. Santiago or your primary care provider may recommend lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Increasing fluid and fiber in your diet
  • Adding exercise
  • Changing medication
  • Adding a fiber supplement or stool softener

Dr. Santiago may also recommend biofeedback therapy if your constipation relates to problems with your pelvic floor muscles, which are muscles that assist with bowel movements.

Who needs surgery for constipation?

Dr. Santiago may recommend colorectal surgery for constipation if you have an anorectal blockage from rectal prolapse. If your colon isn’t functioning as it should, Dr. Santiago may perform a colectomy to remove it.

When performing abdominal surgery, Dr. Santiago uses minimally invasive laparoscopic or robotic colorectal surgery.

To discuss treatments for constipation, call the Colon and Rectal Clinic of Tampa Bay or schedule an appointment online today.