Constipation refers to bowel movements that are infrequent or hard to pass. Constipation is a common cause of painful defecation. Severe constipation includes obstipation and Fecal impaction, which can progress to bowel obstruction and become life threatening. Constipation is a symptom with many causes. These causes are of two types: obstructed defecation and colonic slow transit.
HOW IS CONSTIPATION DIAGNOSED?
The diagnosis will be done by a general physician or an Endocrinologist if it is a very severe case. The doctor will usually carry out a blood test and stool test in a lab as well as Barium study to find any possible blockages in the patient’s colon. This can also be diagnosed with an X Ray or a colonoscopy.
HOW IS CONSTIPATION TREATED?
The treatment of constipation should focus on the underlying cause if known. Laxatives are used, milk of magnesia is recommended as a first-line treatment due to its low cost and safety. Stimulants should be used only if this is not effective. In cases of chronic constipation, polyethylene glycol appears superior to lactulose. Prokinetics may be used to improve gastrointestinal motility. Constipation that resists the above measures may require physical intervention such as manual disimpaction.
DID YOU KNOW?
Constipation is a very common problem during pregnancy and also leads to acute hemorrhoids if not treated aptly.
Constipation is commonly caused by nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and a sudden change in diet or lifestyle, lack of physical activity and lack of fluids in the body. Occasionally, the problem may also be a symptom of a serious underlying issue such as poor functioning of the thyroid gland, excess absorption of calcium, cysts in the ovary, infections or inflammation in the bowels etc. The frequently reported symptoms of constipation are an uncomfortable feeling of bloating, abdominal pain, vomiting, extreme difficulty and pain in passing stool. The bowels are not emptied properly and regularly causing complications. A healthy person should have at least three bowel movements in a week, preferably more. Otherwise, the condition is known as constipation.
The home remedies of constipation have been seen to have great benefits and can effectively restore healthy bowel functions. Unless, the problem is quite severe, simple home remedies for constipation can work just fine. A proper nutritious diet and regular physical exercise are, of course, of paramount importance. Along with this, you can take juices of citrus fruits, olive oil, aloe-vera juice, black tea, green tea, warm milk, honey, warm water, baking soda solution and flaxseed oil to cleanse your system of toxins and to improve the functioning of the muscles of the digestive system. It is best to avoid processed food, saturated fats, pork, cheese, caffeine and alcohol. It is important to include at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber (for women) and 30 to 35 grams of fiber (for men) in your daily diet in order to facilitate bowel movements and the passage of the food through the digestive tract easily. You may also use laxatives in order to gain relief from constipation but the overuse of laxatives is harmful for the digestive system as the muscles are weakened and loosened and this may eventually worsen the constipation problem.
Constipation during pregnancy occurs in about 50% of pregnant women worldwide. The pregnancy hormone progesterone relaxes all the smooth muscles of the body and this includes the muscles of the bowels. This leads to constipation. The condition rarely worsens or causes complications but if you experience extreme pain while passing stool or pass blood and mucus with stool, you should immediately consult a doctor. In most cases, small frequent meals, probiotic bacteria and regular exercise are sufficient to keep the condition in check.
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