Almost everyone experience the problem of frequent constipation at some point in their life. And everyone knows how painful andfrustrating it could be.
Constipation refers to decrease in the frequency of bowel movement or difficulty in passing stools. Constipation is a symptom not a disease. Symptoms of constipation varies from person to person. It is a common problem and mainly happens due to lack of fibre diet and less of water intake. It is more common in the women,elderly people and children. In elderly people it increases with the age as there are more health problems and less of physical activity. Studies have shown that constipation is one of the most common digestive complaint in United States. More than four millions Americans have frequent constipation,accounting for 2.5 million physician visit a year.
Causes of constipation
Constipation is usually caused by a disorder of bowel function. Common causes of constipation are as follows:
Inadequate water intake
Inadequate fibre in diet
Disturbance in regular diet due to work pressure ortravelling
Inadequate activity or exercise
Eating large amount of dairy products
Resisting the urge of having bowel movement
Overuse of laxatives
Medicines such as narcotics, antidepressants
Hormonal disorders can also cause constipation such as:
Hypothyroidism can cause constipation by raising the calcium level in blood.
During menstrual period in women, level of estrogen and progesterone is high that can lead to constipation.
Similarly high level of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy also causes constipation.
Chronic constipation may cause due to Blockage in the colon or rectum which in turn may occur due to:
Narrowing of colon
Symptoms of constipation
Infrequent bowel movement or difficulty in passing stools
Rectal bleeding or anal fissure due to hard stools
Prevention and Treatment
Medical evaluation of constipation should be done when constipation is of sudden onset, severe and when associated with other health problems like weight loss. Medical evaluation of constipation may include person history, physical examination, blood test, abdominal X-rays, bariumenema, colonic transit studies, defecography, and colonic motility studies.
Constipation is usually easier to prevent than to treat. The main treatment of constipation includes increased intake of water, fibre in diet and regular exercise of the body. If laxatives are used than should be stopped immediately. Milk of magnesia should be given in that case. And if this not sufficient in creating proper bowel movement, stimulants should be used. In advance case of constipation problem, stimulant laxatives, non-stimulant laxatives, enemas, suppositories, even surgery can be recommended.
Hence the goal of treatment is majorly having proper bowel movement without any straining. And this can be achieved easily by taking simple steps at home such as
Increase the intake of fluids by drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water and other juices
Increase the content of fibre in diet by consuming fruits,vegetables and whole grains
Don’t suppress the urge for going to toilet in any situation
And if in case these simple home remedies does not work in improving health condition , it is recommended to see your doctor or physician immediately.