If you have an underlying medical condition, constipation will often improve when that disorder is treated. If the cause is slow-transit constipation or pelvic floor dysfunction, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatment options.
- Medication. Medications, along with fiber supplements in your diet, are usually the first treatment option for chronic constipation. Typically, prescription laxatives or medications that increase the fluid content of stool (chloride channel activators) are recommended.
- Biofeedback, pelvic floor retraining. Biofeedback therapy can be helpful if you have pelvic floor dysfunction. Specialists teach you how to coordinate your abdominal muscles with your pelvic floor muscles, which can help you improve your bowel habits. Pelvic floor retraining improves symptoms in about 70 percent of people who have chronic constipation caused by pelvic floor dysfunction. This is a highly specialized form of physical therapy that is not widely available.
- Surgery. If you have chronic, severe constipation and other treatments haven't helped, surgical removal of part of your colon may be an option. Surgery may be a treatment option if you have structural abnormalities that make it difficult for stool to move through your colon or rectum. Surgical removal of the colon is not an option for people with pelvic floor dysfunction.
Read more about treatment of constipation.