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Dr. John Hsiang, Senior Consultant Gastroenterologist
Constipation is a common digestive problem that affects people of all ages.
It occurs when a person has difficulty passing stools or does not have regular bowel movements. This can result in infrequent, hard, and dry stools that are difficult or painful to pass.
Constipation can have many causes, including:
In some cases, constipation may also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), hypothyroidism, or diabetes.
A Gastroscopy, also known as an Upper GI Endoscopy, is a procedure to examine the oesophagus (gullet), stomach, and duodenum (first part of the small intestine).
It is done by having a gastroscope safely inserted through the mouth and maneuvered by your Doctor.
A gastroscope is a flexible tube with a camera attached to it. This gives your Doctor an internal view of your upper digestive system to detect abnormalities such as polyps, ulcers, inflammation, or cancerous growths along the mucosal lining.
If your Doctor discovers these issues during an examination, they can remove any polyps or tissues to be sampled for further investigation.
The main symptom of constipation is difficulty passing stools. Other symptoms may include:
If constipation persists for a long time, it may lead to other complications such as haemorrhoids, anal fissures, or faecal impaction (when stool gets stuck in the rectum).
Most cases of constipation can be treated at home with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter remedies. However, if you experience the following symptoms along with constipation, it may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition and you should consult a doctor:
Usually, a Gastroscopy is done while you are asleep due to the sedatives that will be administered to you. An anesthetic will also be sprayed into your throat to numb your swallowing sensation.
You will be placed on your side and given to wear a mouth guard to prevent yourself from biting on the scope. With the necessary preparations in place, your Doctor will proceed with the gastroscopy examination.
The whole procedure should take about 10 to 15 minutes and you should be discharged within the same day. You will be advised not to drive or operate machinery for the day due to the drowsiness you may feel from the sedatives.
Consulting a Gastroenterologist for your symptoms helps in obtaining an accurate diagnosis, giving you peace of mind. It also aids in detecting and ruling out more serious diseases like ulcers and cancer.
At Richmond Gastro, our team ensures a smooth and comfortable consultation and diagnosis process, making endoscopy less daunting than you may think.
Treatment for constipation usually involves making lifestyle changes, such as drinking more water, increasing fibre intake, and exercising regularly. Over-the-counter laxatives may also provide relief.
In more severe cases, a doctor may prescribe prescription medications or recommend a procedure to empty the bowels, such as an enema or colonoscopy.
Besides making lifestyle changes and taking medication, there are other ways to relieve constipation at home. These include:
If you experience chronic or recurrent constipation, it is essential to consult a doctor to determine the underlying cause and develop an effective treatment plan.
MBChB (NZ), FRACP (Australasia), MD (Doctorate), FRCP (Edinburgh), FAMS (Gastro)
Dr. John Hsiang is a Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist with more than 20 years of clinical experience in public and private practice.
Dr. John’s special clinical interests are in gastroesophageal reflux disease, stomach conditions, fatty liver, and gastrointestinal cancer screening
Dr. John has spent more than five years in the Singhealth cluster serving in the Gastroenterology Department at Changi General Hospital and Sengkang General Hospital.
Indigestion, gastroesophageal reflux disease, helicobacter pylori infection, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhoea, hepatitis B, fatty liver disease, management of abnormal liver tests.
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Here at Richmond Gastroenterology Centre, we strive to ensure the most efficient claims process for our patients. To that end, our team works diligently with their insurers to obtain Letters of Guarantee and pre-authorization certificates prior to any procedures.
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Dr. John Hsiang is an Accredited Specialist Across All Private Hospitals in Singapore.