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Constipation in New Jersey

Constipation is common. The Digestive Health & Nutrition Center has two convenient locations in Lawrenceville and Princeton, New Jersey where you can receive the exceptional care you deserve. Angela Merlo, MD is an experienced Gastroenterologist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of constipation in adults and children.

What is Constipation?

Constipation is one of the commonest digestive complaints. The definition is controversial because there is a range of what is considered normal stools. Constipation encompasses a variety of symptoms such as:

  • Infrequent stools
  • Difficulty in passing stool and the need to strain
  • Hard consistency to stool
  • Sense of incomplete evacuation

Constipation that is mild and of short duration is best handled conservatively with an increase in dietary fiber, fluids and physical activity. Medical attention is needed for persistent or more severe cases.  Alarm features of constipation that warrant urgent medical attention from a specialist include:

  • Acute onset
  • Blood in stool
  • Change in size or shape of stool
  • Family history of colon cancer or colon polyps
  • Persistent constipation despite diet and lifestyle changes
  • Personal history of colon polyps or cancer
  • Unintentional weight loss

What Causes Constipation?

There are many causes of constipation. Dr. Merlo may recommend blood tests or specialized diagnostic procedures to determine an underlying cause.

  • Digestive structural disorders: colon polyps, colon cancer, rectal ulcers, adhesions
  • Endocrine disorders: diabetes, hypothyroidism
  • Functional disorders: IBS, idiopathic
  • Lifestyle: inadequate dietary fiber, inactivity
  • Medications
  • Metabolic disorders: hypercalcemia, renal insufficiency
  • Muscular disorders: dystrophy
  • Neurologic disorders: spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease

Colonoscopy is the commonest procedure performed in Gastroenterology to eliminate possible structural causes of constipation. Dr. Merlo is expert at performing colonoscopy and the associated specialized techniques of polyp removal and dilatation of strictures. Dr. Merlo is also successful in relieving constipation in patients who commit to her recommended diet and lifestyle changes.

If you or your children are experiencing constipation and seek an expert adult or pediatric Gastroenterologist, contact the Digestive Health & Nutrition Center in Lawrenceville or Princeton, New Jersey for an appointment with Dr. Merlo.