Constipation - Health Center


By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

Constipation - Overview

Constipation is one of the taboo topics that no one really wants to talk about. In case you have suffered from this problem, you know that it can come out to be very painful as well as frustrating at times. It has been noticed that everyone gets constipated at one phase of their life or the other.

All around the world nearly 6% of people are known to suffer from constipation.Women as well as elderly people are known suffer more than the others.

Though this is not a very serious condition, it can come out to be one of the major concerns for people.

Causes Of Constipation

Constipation is a condition which occurs when the bowel movements of a person come out to be more difficult or less frequent than normal. The normal interval of time between the bowel movements tends to range from one person to other. Some people are known to be have a bowel movement three times a day, while others have it around two to one time. When people go for more than three days without a bowel movement, it is considered too long a period. After a period of three days, the stool or human faeces become hardened and are quite difficult to pass.

The following are the criteria which are considered if a person is suffering from constipation. In case you are suffering from any of the following for a period of three months or so, you could be suffering from constipation:

  • Excessive straining during the bowel movement, which is noted for more than 25% of the times.
  • Hard stools passed out more than 25% times
  • Incomplete evacuation of the bowels
  • Two or fewer bowel movements within a period of a week.

The Causes Of Constipation:

Constipation usually occurs due to the disorder of the bowel functions of the body. This is not a structural problem of the body. Some of the major causes for the occurrence of constipation are as follows:

  • Inadequate intake of water
  • Inadequate consumption of fibre in the diet
  • Disruption of the normal, everyday routine of the person, maybe due to travelling
  • Inadequateamount of exercising and immobility
  • Consuming a large amount of dairy products
  • Extra stress
  • Resisting the urge to pass the stools; this can mostly be observed in people who are suffering from haemorrhoids.
  • Overuse of laxatives; which with the passage of time cause the weakening of the bowel muscles.
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Several neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis too are known to trigger constipation.
  • Overconsumption of antacid medicines, which are rich in potassium and calcium
  • Several medicines, such as narcotics and antidepressants
  • Acute depression
  • Several eating disorders
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Impending pregnancy
  • Cancer of the colon

Symptoms Of Constipation

Some of the major symptoms of constipation are as follows:

  • Infrequent as well as untimely bowel movements
  • Having great difficulty with bowel movements
  • Swelling in the abdomen, followed by abdominal pain
  • Excessive pain
  • Induced vomiting

Diagnosis Of Constipation

A large amount of people do not need any diagnostic tests in order to diagnose constipation. Only a very limited number of people face constipation as a major disorder which they are unable to deal with.

However, it has been recommended that if a person suffers from constipation for more than two weeks, then he should be seeing a doctor immediately. This helps the doctor to look into the cause of the disease and then go out for the treatment of the same.

Some of the tests that are conducted by the doctors for the timely detection of constipation are as follows:

  • Blood tests – These are done in order to check the person for abdominal imbalance
  • Barium Studies – They are done to look for obstruction in the colon
  • Colonoscopy – This is again done to look for an obstruction in the colon.

 A large number of people who suffer from constipation do not have an serious illness arising from it.

Preventive Measures of Constipation

There are several means by which you can make sure that your can keep constipation at bay.

Some of them are as follows:

1. Eating a balanced diet which contains a large amount of fibre. Fruits, vegetables as well as leguminous diets are rich in fibre and therefore can be included in the diet in order to keep constipation at bay.

2. Make sure that you drink 1—2 quarters of water on an everyday basis. Some of the other fluids such as coffee and soft drinks should be drunk in a limited amount because they tend to have a dehydrating effect on the human body. Also, some people should be avoiding milk as it too can cause constipation.

3. Make sure that you exercise regularly.

4. Try taking warm fluids in the morning.

5. Add prunes and bran cereal to your diet.

6. Make sure that you do not consume any laxatives.

Make sure that you immediately see your doctor in case you have the following complications:

  • Passing of blood in the stool
  • Losing of weight even without dieting
  • Severe pain accompanying bowel movements
  • Constipation lasts for a period of more than two weeks.
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