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Last Updated: May 19, 2020
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Overview of Constipation With Symptoms & Techniques to Treat Constipation at Home

About Symptoms Causes Prevention Diagnosis Treatment Techniques Home Remedies Medication

What is Constipation?

If a person gets three bowel movements in a week time period, it is considered as a condition of constipation. This condition is characterised by an infrequent bowel movement. An individual faces hard stool and difficulty in expelling feces from rectum. It is caused when a person’s colon is absorbing too much water from the food.

This happens because of slower movements of the food in the digestive tract. As a result, the removal process of stool becomes a difficult and painful situation. It occurs due to change in lifestyle of a person and can be cured if the lifestyle is restored.

Chronic constipation is a condition in which a person even face difficulties in performing their daily tasks. The reason behind occurrence of it is difficult to find and might vary from one person to another.

What are the Symptoms of Constipation?

It is a condition where a person is facing difficulties in removal of feces from the body and the signs and symptoms of constipation are as mentioned below:

  • Bowel movement which is less than 3 times in a week or fewer bowel movements as compared regular weeks time period movements.
  • During the process of passing stool straining like conditions
  • Loss of appetite and cramps in lower abdomen area
  • Facing lumpy, hard and small stool
  • Swollen belly or stomach aches
  • Nauseous and belly bloating feeling
  • Feeling in form of everything didn't come out and there is a blockage in rectum
  • A condition arises when to remove stool from rectum, it is mandatory to press abdomen area or use fingers.

What are the Causes of Constipation?

There are many possible causes behind occurrence of constipation in any person.Few of them are:

  • Blockage in the colon or rectum due to anal fissures
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Colon or rectal cancer
  • Narrowing of the colon
  • Rectum bulge like conditions
  • Certain neurological conditions that creates problems in nerve around the colon and rectum
  • In activeness
  • Not taking proper amount of fibres in diet
  • Stress
  • Extensive of laxatives
  • Administration of antacids containing calcium and aluminium
  • Issues in muscles involved in elimination like weakened pelvic muscles
  • Disease conditions like diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Hyperparathyroidism affecting hormone of the body

Other systemic diseases affecting organs and tissues or whole body are the causes that can be considered as behind the development of chronic constipation.

  • Being older with respect to age
  • Dehydration
  • Female gender
  • Not drinking enough water daily
  • Ignoring going to toilet
  • Increased intake of milk or other dairy products are also some factors that increase the chances of it.

What are the Prevention For Constipation?

A person diagnosed with constipation should follow these steps:

  • Beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grains like high-fiber foods should be included in daily diet plans.
  • Start your day with warm liquids such as warm water.
  • Increased intake of water and other forms of fluids.
  • Limit intake of foods which have low amounts of fiber such as meat, milk etc.
  • Improve physical activity and get regular exercise as this can increase muscles strength of intestine.
  • Reduce factor leading to stress
  • Stop ignoring urge of stool or poop.
  • After every meal, create a schedule for bowel movement
  • For ease of constipation, laxatives can be taken for a day or two."

How to Diagnose Constipation?

Diagnosis of disease can be done by primarily conducting a physical examination, and understanding the medical history making clinician identify the type and cause of constipation. Healthcare professional will look after and inform patient about maintaining daily diet diary through which they can advise about intake of high –fiber foods.

By means of conducting blood tests of thyroid hormone and calcium, abdomen X-rays, liquid barium study to understand the anatomy of bowel and rectum, colonic motility and anorectal studies, defecography and magnetic resonance imaging defecography, medical professional can diagnose the severity of constipation for people who are not responding to treatment.

What is the Treatment of Constipation?

Treatment of any disease depends on its underlying cause and in case of it, it is important to identify whether it is acute or chronic constipation. Other factors needs to be considered before suggesting any treatment for constipation patients are recording their bowel movements, stool characteristics etc. For recurring constipation, doctors advice treatments like change in lifestyle by performing more exercise, drinking more water and eating more fiber.

Many treatment plans includes implementation of dietary fiber sources like fruits and vegetables, wheat or oat bran, polycarbophil, psyllium seed, synthetic methyl cellulose, lubricant laxatives such as mineral oils, emollient laxatives (stool softeners) like docusate, hyperosmolar laxatives such as lactulose, sorbitol, polyethylene glycol, over-the-counter like saline laxatives, stimulant laxatives, enemas, suppositories, combination products.

How To Get Rid Of Constipation?

  • Drink warm beverages, more so in the morning
  • Add vegetables and fruits in your diet
  • Drink up to four more glasses full of water in a day, unless your doctor has limited fluid intake for some other reason
  • Have fibrous cereals
  • If you feel the need, take a mild stool softener or laxatives such as magnesium hydroxide. Don’t prolong laxative use for over two weeks without consulting your doctor. If the laxatives are overdone, then the symptoms may worsen.
  • Have a wholesome diet rich in fiber. Good fiber sources are vegetables, legumes, fruits and multi grain bread like bran.
  • Eat a well- balanced diet with plenty of fiber. Good sources of fiber 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 doctor has you on a fluid-restricted diet). Fiber and water work together to keep you regular.
  • Avoid caffeine. It can be dehydrating.
  • Cut back on milk. Some people may need to avoid it because dairy products may be constipating for them.
  • Exercise regularly. Do something active for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
  • Go to the bathroom when you feel the urge.

What are the Home Remedies For Constipation?

For treating constipation, there are some other ways through which a person can deal without using medications as mentioned below:

  • Increasing fiber intake - A person experiencing constipation can handle it by adding 18g to 30g of fresh fruits, fortified cereals and vegetables in every day food intake.
  • Keep hydrated – drinking high amount of water can also give rid of it.

  • Addition of bulking agents like wheat bran can help in softening stools and making it easier to pass.
  • Performing regular exercise can help in regulating body processes including passing of stools.

  • Avoid ignoring stools – It is prevented or treated if a person allows the body's natural urge to pass the stool.
  • Use of homeopathic remedies like calcarea carbonica, nux vomica, silica bryonia and lycopodium are offered by many doctors for treating it.

What is the Best Medication for Constipation?

It occurs when stool does not pass through easily and for resolving such issues medication like over-the-counter medication and other medication purchased on doctor’s prescription. Without consulting a doctor, it is not recommended to use any medication for constipation.

Fiber supplements like calcium polycarbophil, methylcellulose, fiber, psyllium, wheat dextrin can be prescribed for bulking stool and increase bowel movement. Magnesium citrate and hydroxide, and polyethylene glycol are examples of osmotic drugs that help in holding more fluid for stool. Stimulants like bisacodyl are used for squeezing the intestine and suppositories inserted into rectum provide ease in passing the stool.

Popular Questions & Answers

I am suffering from balance problems vertigo sinking sensation chronic tinnitus for last 2 years upset stomach excessive gas indigestion etc Dr. Prescribed me thimin 100 mg twice daily livpres supplement twice daily and stemetil 5 mg sos will this cure my chronic problem I am very depressed.

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, Diploma in Otorhinolaryngology (DLO), MRCS- Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, DLO RCS England, FRCS
ENT Specialist, Bangalore
Dear Mr. lybrate-user, since you have been having symptoms over a long time, it is very important that you see a good ent surgeon and identify the problem so the correct treatment can be given. It would be depressing and stressful to anybody if th...

28 year old male from england. One night in the middle of january I suddenly woke up in what I can only describe as a state of panic. My heart was racing I was heavy breathing and my body went really stiff, this lasted for no more than 5-10 seconds it has only happened once but since then I have had a pain in the left hand side of my stomach it feels like a knot like something is in there that shouldn't be, pain in my back the lower and upper parts the pain in my back started on my left side but is now on both sides. I've noticed 2 squishy lumps at the bottom left and side of my back. I notice the discomfort in my stomach more when i'm sat down as to when stood up or laying down. I notice when I urinate a lot of urine comes out but no pain or burning sensation or no more frequent than normal. I have suffered with diarrhea for many years now sometimes I have to use the toilet right after eating. But some days I feel constipated. I can see undigested food sometimes in my stool. I'm sleeping well and haven't noticed any weight loss. I sometimes feel sick but haven't been sick since this started. I have had blood tests done and they have all come back normal. I also did a urine sample and that came back normal. I am currently waiting for an ultrasound scan on the 26th of april. I had the lumps looked at on my back by 2 different doctors and they both said they didn't think they were of any concern. I have recently become a father for the first time, my son is 6 months old and he is my absolute world. I have suffered with anxiety for many years and I am now back on 50 mg of sertraline daily, because of my anxiety I have convinced myself that I have kidney or stomach cancer I spent a lot of time googling my symptoms. I spend most of my time worrying and crying that my son is going to grow up without me. My family history that I know of is diabetes runs on the female side (grandmother, mum, sister) my sister and father both have ibs. In 2019 my mum had stage 2 uterus cancer but has recovered well after surgery. My grandfather died of a stomach aneurysm in 2001 he also had stomach cancer at the time of his death. I've tried to be as detailed as possible with this and any help would be really appreciated i'm just so scared I don't want to leave my son.

MBBS, DPM (Psychiatry)
Psychiatrist, Thrissur
Dear stress patients worry too much. Stress in today’s day & age where stress is high, feelings of frustration can emerge. It is our perception that can change our current negative situation into a healthy & positive one. Another way of perceiving...

Current condition of pappa age: 53 weight: 60 height: 168 cm my dad had 1 block of 95% so we did ptca-om on 10/10/2018. From that day to till now he is not normal and did not able to go to work. Currently our cardiologist prescribed 3 tablets: 1) rosurica gold 10 mg- contains: aspirin (75 mg) + rosuvastatin (10 mg) + clopidogrel (75 mg) 2) escigress cz 0.25 - contains: escitalopram (10 mg) + clonazepam (0.25 mg) 3) rabolin dsr: contains: domperidone (30) + rabeprazole (20 mg) he always says that he feels 1. Some times different sensations like vibration in blood vessels and minutes shocks in heart. 2. Continuous tingling in palms and more in fingers. 3. Numbness, or a decrease in the ability to feel or sense pressure or texture in hands. 4. Heart burn. 5. Feeling of burns in different parts of body like in back on left side of chest. 6. Always feel to lay on bed. 7. Second-degree hemorrhoids without blood from last 20 years 8. Hyperglycaemia sometimes (sugar level on border) 9. He feels that the stent became loose or pain at the site of stent in heart. 10. Always feels tired and weakness. 11. Hyper acidity with a lot of burps. 12. Digestion problem (sometimes indigestion and constipation). 13. Feeling of fluttering in vessels or muscles (now became rarer). 14. Feeling of piercing in back and on the site of stent in heart (now became rarer). 15. Sometimes pain in shoulder, upper back, chest. 16. Frequent pain or burning sensation in chest and upper back. Due to lighten our financial condition is worst, that's why he always takes tension, stress, depression, and burden. He thinks a lot even on a small thing and takes tension of that, his thinking capacity is too high. Irritability on small things. He always thought negatively, never thinks positive. He always blame us that why we did angioplasty, because he never became normal like how he was before angioplasty. He lost his 10 kg weight. He feels that his body is completely damaged from inside. When he hears something bad anything about health of somebody then he thinks alot and applies that's on himself and feels like that person's health condition on himself. He is vaccinated with 1st dose of covisheild vaccine on 12/04/2021.

MD - Psychiatry, MBBS
Psychiatrist, Vadodara
Your father's symptoms suggest that he might have post cardiac disease depression and anxiety. With proper medications and counseling sessions, he can definitely find improvement.

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