Constipation is a condition where a person cannot empty their bowels frequently and effortlessly. If a person is suffering from constipation, their stool may become stiff and lumpy and might also become unusually large making it difficult to pass through.
The severity of constipation varies on a case-to-case basis and this is a condition that can affect people of all age groups. While constipation is a common but transient condition for many people, it can also be a long-lasting (chronic) condition for certain people, impairing the quality of life and causing substantial pain and discomfort.
Some of the typical characteristics of constipation also include the following:
- Your faeces are firm and dry.
- Pain during bowel movement and difficulty in passing stool
- You have the impression that your bowels are still not completely empty.
Some of the common constipation causes are:
Old Age– Older adults have a tendency to be less active which can result in a slower metabolism. The older set of people also tends to have weaker muscle contractions along their digestive tracts leading to constipation.
Gender– Women during pregnancy and after giving birth are more prone to constipation due to hormonal changes. Stool passage is slowed and delayed due to squished uterine causing hindrance in the smoother flow inside the intestines.
Dietary choices – Lack of high-fibre meals in our diet is what causes constipation in several cases. High-fibre foods help digestion by keeping food moving. Consuming high-fibre meals can also help immensely in constipation prevention.
Existing health conditions– Having pre-existing digestive and neurological conditions (diseases of the brain and spinal cord) can also contribute to constipation.
Constipation signs and symptoms include:
- You empty your bowel fewer than three times each week.
- Your stools are lumpy, dry, and firm.
- You experience cramps or a stomachache.
- You get nausea and bloating.
- After a bowel movement, you feel as though you haven’t entirely emptied your system.
Self-care and lifestyle changes are one of the primary steps towards constipation treatment in mild cases. You can follow these measures to seek relief from recurring constipation
- Extra water should be consumed two to four times daily. Avoid alcohol and caffeine-containing beverages because they can dehydrate you.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and other high-fibre foods. Reduce your intake of high-fat foods like cheese, pork, and eggs.
- Examine your toilet-sitting technique. Bowel movement may be made simpler by squatting, raising your feet, or leaning back.
- Include commercially available supplemental fibre in your diets, such as Metamucil, Citrucel, or Benefiber.
Apart from these lifestyle changes, constipation treatment may also require medical help or surgical intervention in extreme cases. The doctors will review your vitamins and prescriptions (if you take any). Consumption of certain supplements can be a primary cause of constipation. Your doctor can urge you to stop taking the supplement or adjust the dosage or switch to a different medication. Never discontinue using a prescription or dietary supplement without first consulting your doctor.
If a structural issue with the colon is the reason for constipation, your doctor might advise surgery. An obstruction in the colon (intestinal obstruction), a restriction in a section of the intestine (intestinal stricture), a rip in the anus (anal fissure), or the collapse of a segment of the rectum into the vagina are examples of these issues (rectal prolapse). Surgery may be used to treat some causes of constipation due to outlet dysfunction. Visit your nearest multi super speciality hospital in case you are facing extreme constipation despite making lifestyle changes and following prescribed medication.