Functional Constipation, also known as chronic idiopathic constipation, can be defined as experiencing constipation with no organic etiology or specific cause. Diagnosing criteria can be identified when the following symptoms are experienced:-Feeling of incomplete evacuation of stool- Firm, lumpy stools – #1-3 on Bristol Stool Scale- Straining during bowel movements2 or less bowel movements per weekBeing constipated is never comfortable especially when it persists for months or years at a time. Both adults and children experience functional constipation yet it is more common is children. Often functional constipation is the result of withholding of feces in a child who wants to avoid painful defecation. Sometimes it can happen after just one painful episode. Children with constipation may also experience fecal incontinence or encopresis often caused by an “overflow” of fecal impaction. In functional constipation, it is common to see changes in the muscles that control holding and eliminating and often the muscles are doing the exact opposite of what they should be doing during toileting.
The goals in treatment or management of constipation may require fecal disimpaction, soften stools with either diet modifications and/or laxatives, behavioral modifications, and muscle re-education. Physical Therapy, in conjunction with proper medical management can help break the cycle.
At FunctionSmart Physical Therapy we work with children and their families to retrain pelvic floor muscles, eliminate dyssynergia and make toilet time easier. We use comfortable treatment methods including biofeedback and real time ultrasound to monitor pelvic floor muscle activity. We also incorporate the same strategies for adults with functional constipation. If you have questions about our treatment for Functional Constipation, contact us