Constipation is a common digestive issue. This issue affects people of all ages. While we usually consider it as a minor problem, persistent constipation can cause discomfort and affect overall well-being. Here we are going to explain constipation, its signs and symptoms, its causes, and various treatment options.
What is Constipation?
Constipation refers to infrequent bowel movements or issues passing stool. It happens when the muscular tissues within the colon contract slowly or experience abnormal contractions, leading to the slow movement of stool through the digestive system. Consequently, the stool will become tough and dry, making it challenging to pass.
Common Symptoms of Constipation
- Lumpy, dry, or difficult stools
- Stools that are hard or painful to pass
- Feeling as though there’s a blockage in your rectum that keeps you from having bowel movements
- Feeling as though you can’t fully excrete your stool
- Needing help to empty your rectum, whether by pressing with your hands in your abdomen or the use of a finger to remove the stool
Constipation is considered chronic if you’ve experienced two or more of these symptoms for the last three months. So it’s better to discuss your condition with your best gastroenterologist .
Constipation usually takes place when stools remain within the colon (large intestine) for too long. It absorbs the excess water from the stools and makes them tough and dry.
Finding the exact cause of constipation is quite difficult. Since it shows no visible signs in most of the patients. Still, certain factors can increase your chances of developing constipation. These include:
- Not eating enough fiber, which includes fruit, veggies, and cereals
- Ignoring the urge to pass stools
- Immobility or lack of exercise
- Not consuming enough fluids
- Having a high temperature (fever)
- Being underweight or overweight
- Tension or melancholy
- Psychiatric issues brought on through sexual abuse, violence, or trauma
You can find several easy ways to manage constipation. There are lifestyle changes, nutritional modifications, over-the-counter medicines, and home remedies for this issue. No single technique is suitable for everyone. So let’s discuss each of these options in detail:
1. Lifestyle Changes
Incorporating the following lifestyle changes can help alleviate constipation:
- Regular Exercise or Physical Activity: Engaging in everyday exercise promotes overall digestive fitness and stimulates bowel movements.
- Establishing a Consistent Bowel Routine: Try to set up a routine by allocating particular times each day for bowel movements.
- Allowing Ample Time for Bowel Movements: Avoid speeding or straining during bowel movements. Give yourself sufficient time to finish the process effortlessly.
- Managing Stress Levels: High levels of stress can cause constipation. Practice pressure-management strategies like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
- Avoiding Holding in Stools: Respond to the natural urge to have a bowel motion and avoid resisting or delaying it.
2. Dietary Modifications
Making dietary modifications is critical to improving bowel regularity. Here are a few dietary suggestions for dealing with constipation:
- Increasing Fiber Intake: Consume a food regimen rich in fiber through fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Fiber provides bulk to the stool, facilitating its passage through the digestive tract.
- Drinking Adequate Water: Stay hydrated by ingesting enough water throughout the day. This helps melt the stool, making it easier to pass.
- Limiting Processed Foods, Dairy, and Fatty Foods: These can contribute to constipation. Opt for healthier, whole-meal alternatives.
- Adding Probiotic-Rich Foods: These foods are good for your gut health and optimal bowel movements. You can add foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi to your diet plan.
3. Over-the-Counter Medications
For occasional constipation, they can offer brief alleviation. It is important to use these medicines as directed by your doctor. Seeking medical advice from your healthcare professional is suggested if signs persist or worsen. Some other options include:
- Fiber Supplements: These help increase fiber intake and melt the stool.
- Stool Softeners: These resources make the stool easier to pass through by adding moisture.
- Laxatives: Different varieties of laxatives are available, together with bulk-forming, osmotic, stimulant, and lubricant laxatives. They help stimulate bowel movements and alleviate constipation.
4. Home Remedies
Several home remedies can help alleviate constipation naturally. While their effectiveness may additionally vary from person to person, they’re generally safe to try. Here are a few common domestic remedies:
- Drinking Warm Water with Lemon: Start your day with a glass of warm water combined with fresh lemon juice. This can stimulate bowel movements.
- Consuming Herbal Teas: Peppermint, ginger, or senna tea can act as natural laxatives and promote bowel regularity.
- Abdominal Massage or Gentle Yoga Poses: Massaging the stomach or practicing precise yoga poses like the Wind-Relieving Pose or Child’s Pose can stimulate bowel movements.
When to Seek Medical Help
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Constipation is a new problem for you.
- You see blood in your stool.
- You are losing weight unintentionally.
- You have excessive bowel movements.
- Your constipation has lasted longer than 3 weeks.
- You have signs and symptoms of outlet dysfunction and constipation.
Remember, talk openly with your doctor about your bowel movements and any questions or concerns you could have.
Constipation can drastically impact your everyday life and overall well-being. By understanding its symptoms, causes, and treatment options, you can find comfort and enhance your digestive health. However, if constipation persists or worsens, it is important to seek advice from a healthcare expert to rule out any underlying clinical situations and get ahold of suitable guidance.
1. What are the risks of constipation?
Constipation should not be ignored. If it is left untreated, severe complications may arise, including hemorrhoids, anal fissures, fecal impaction, and rectal prolapse, in addition to other related diseases.
2. Which regions does Constipation affect??
Constipated patients may feel tightness in their abdomen, or a sharp, cramping pain deep in their intestines. They may additionally feel full all the time—as if they have just eaten a big meal—even when they haven’t eaten for numerous hours.
3. Can stress cause constipation?
Certain nerves manage the digestion of food. In case of stress and tension, disruption to this system, referred to as the gut-mind axis, can reduce the velocity at which food moves through the gastrointestinal tract. And this may cause constipation.