University of Pennsylvania Health System

Penn Gastroenterology Q&As

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What Causes Severe Constipation?

Question: My daughter recently started with constipation. After three days, she also stopped urinating. It has now been 14 days since she urinated or has had a natural bowel movement on her own. The doctors have taken an MRI of her spine with contrast, and have done blood work and urine cultures. They are baffled. Any ideas as to what could be causing this?


Answer: Constipation is defined by three bowel movements or less in a week. The possible causes are many. Sometimes, constipation can lead to more serious complications. Your daughter should be evaluated by a gastroenterologist. To make an appointment at Penn Medicine, please call 800-789-PENN (7366) or request an appointment online.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Do I Have a Bowel Obstruction?

Question:
My digestion is fine and I've been eating a lot of fiber, but for the past month and a half there seems to be an obstruction in my bowel movements. I have narrow stools and gas. I always need to drink a lot of water in order to pass my movement. It seems like there is something in the way. Could it be something temporary?

Answer:
An intestinal obstruction (also called a bowel obstruction) occurs when food or stool cannot move through the intestines. The obstruction can be complete or partial. A complete obstruction is a medical emergency. There are many causes and the symptoms can be severe.

As with all digestive concerns, it is best to see a gastroenterologist for a complete evaluation. To make an appointment at Penn Medicine, please call 800-789-PENN (7366) or request an appointment online.