Constipation: Constipation associated with bowel movements that are infrequent or hard to pass. The stool is usually hard and dry. Other symptoms will combine abdominal pain, bloating and feeling as if one should not completely pass the bowel movement.
Passing stools becomes also difficult and less frequent than the usual. Normal bowel habits differ from person to person. Some adults go to the bathroom more than once a day, while others may only go every three or four days. Furthermore, some baby passes stools several times a day, whereas others only pass them a few times a week.
If you or your kid pass stools less than usual, it could be a symptom of constipation. It can also be more painful to pass stools and you may feel unable to clear your bowel completely. Your stools will appear dry, hard and irregular, as well as abnormally large or small. Other sign of constipation can include:
- Stomach ache and cramps
- Feeling bloated
- Lack of energy
- Feeling sick
- Being irritable, angry or unhappy
- Loss of appetite
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Causes of Constipation
Constipation usually occurs when stools remain in the large intestine for a long time, and the intestine absorbs too much water from the stools, causing them too hard and dry.
Several factors will increase the chances of having constipation, that’s may include:
- Not eating enough fibre, such as fruit, vegetables, and cereals
- Having limited privacy when using the toilet
- Change in routine or lifestyle, such a change in eating habits
- Ignoring the urge to pass stools
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Immobility or lack of exercise
- Having a high temperature (fever)
- Being underweight or overweight
- Anxiety or depression
Sometimes Constipation may be a side effect of a medicine that you’re taking. Common types of medication that will cause constipation:
- Aluminium antacids (to treat indigestion)
- Antiepileptics (to treat epilepsy)
- Antipsychotics ( to treat schizophrenia or other mental health conditions)
- Calcium supplements
- Opiate painkillers, such as codeine and morphine
- Diuretics (water tablets)
- Iron supplements
Constipation occurs during pregnancy because your body produces more of the female hormone progesterone, which acts as a muscle relaxant.
An increase in progesterone makes it more difficult for the bowel muscles to contract, making it harder to move waste products along.
In rare cases, constipation can be a sign of an underlying condition, such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Hypercalcemia – where there’s too much calcium in the bloodstream
- Underactive thyroid gland (Hypothyroidism)
- Muscular dystrophy – a genetic condition that causes muscle wasting
- Multiple sclerosis – a condition that affects the nervous system
- Parkinson’s disease – where part of the brain becomes progressively damaged, affecting the coordination of body movements
- Spinal cord injury
- Anal fissure – a small tear or ulcer in the skin just inside the anus
- Inflammatory bowel disease – a condition that causes the intestines to become inflamed (irritated and swollen)
- Bowel cancer
Treatment for Constipation
Treatment for chronic constipation conventionally commences with diet and lifestyle changes. If those changes don’t avail, your physicians may recommend medications or surgery.
Diet and lifestyle changes
Your physicians may recommend the following changes to palliate constipation:
- Increase fibre intake- Integrating fibre to the diet increases the weight of stool and speeds its passage through the intestines. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables each day. Keep whole-grain bread and cereals.
- Exercise most days of the week- Physical activity strengthens muscle activity in intestines. Endeavour to fit in exercise most days of the week. If you do not already exercise, verbalize with your physicians about whether you are healthy enough to commence an exercise program.
- Don’t neglect the urge to have a bowel movement. Take time in the bathroom, support yourself enough time to have a bowel movement without disturbance and without feeling rushed.
Different types of laxatives exist. Each works moderately differently to make it easier to have a bowel movement. The following are available over the counter:
- Fibre supplements-Fiber supplements add bulk to the stool. These include calcium polycarbophil (FiberCon), psyllium (Metamucil, Konsyl) and methylcellulose fibre (Citrucel).
- Stimulants- Stimulants including bisacodyl (Ducodyl), Correctol, Dulcolax and senna-sennosides oral (Senokot) cause your intestines to contract.
- Osmotics-Osmotic laxatives encourage fluids to move through the colon. Examples are oral lactulose (Kristalose), magnesium hydroxide (Phillips Milk of Magnesia), magnesium citrate, polyethylene glycol (Miralax). In extension, polyethylene glycol (PEG) (Nulytely, Golytely) is available by prescription.
- Lubricants-Lubricants such as mineral oil allow stool to move through your colon more easily.
- Stool softeners-Stool softeners such as docusate sodium (Colace) and docusate calcium (Surfak) moisten this stool by pull water from the intestines.
- Enemas and suppositories-Sodium phosphate (Fleet), soapsuds or tap water enemas can be helpful to soften stool and produce a bowel movement. Glycerin or bisacodyl suppositories including can soften stool.
If over-the-counter medications don’t avail your chronic constipation, your physicians may recommend prescription medication, especially if have the irritable bowel syndrome.
- Medications that draw water into the intestines- A number of prescription medications are convenient to treat chronic constipation. Lubiprostone (Amitiza) and linaclotide (Linzess), work by drawing water into the intestines and expediting the movement of the stool.
- Other types of medications- Misoprostol (Cytotec), colchicine/probenecid (Col-Probenecid) and onabotulinumtoxinA (additionally called botulinum toxin type A or Botox) all work in varying ways and may be acclimated to treat chronic constipation.
Training Your Pelvic Muscles
Biofeedback training includes working with a therapist who uses devices to improve you learn to relax and tighten the muscles in the pelvis. Relaxing pelvic floor muscles at the right time during elimination can help you pass stool more easily.
During a biofeedback session, a specific tube (catheter) to measure muscle tension is inserted into the rectum. The therapist guides you go through exercises to alternately relax and tighten the pelvic muscles. A machine will gauge the muscle tension and use sounds or lights to help you understand when you’ve relaxed muscles.
Surgery may be a choice if you have tried other treatments and your chronic constipation is induced by a blockage, rectocele, anal fissure or stricture.
For people who become tried other treatments without success and who become the abnormally slow movement of stool through the colon, surgical removal of part of the colon will be an option. Surgery to remove the whole colon is rarely necessary.
Alternative Medicine For Constipation
Many people use alternative and complementary medicine to treat constipation, but these approaches have not been well-studied. Utilizing a probiotic such as bifidobacterium or lactobacillus may be auxiliary, but more studies are needed. Fructooligosaccharide, a sugar that occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables, may be auxiliary as well. Researchers currently are evaluating the usefulness of acupuncture.
Victual a well- balanced diet with plenty of fibre. Good sources of fibre are fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole-grain bread and cereal (especially bran).
Drink 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of water and other fluids a day (unless your medico has you on a fluid-restricted diet). Fibre and water collaborate to keep your conventional.
Eschew caffeine- It can be dehydrating.
Cut back on milk-Some people may need to eschew it because dairy products may be constipating for them.
Exercise regularly-Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
Go to the bathroom when you feel the urge.