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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

My niece is around 3 months, since 20 days she is not passing stools regularly, last time after 5 days induced with soap ,now again since 7 days not passed ,what to do? Can again induce with soap, is it safe? What is the treatment for constipation in infants, red flag signs?

MD - Paediatrics, MBBS, FPEM, Post Graduate Program in Pediatric Nutrition (PGPN, PGDMLE
Pediatrician, Bangalore
Babies on breast feeds pass stools once in 6-7 days.So do not worry Not safe to give soap. If baby is feeding well and active , nothing to worry, you can wait for 1 week
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How long lactihep syrup or any other syrup can be taken for fissure as a softener? Will its discontinuance have an impact and cause constipation?

MBBS, DNB - General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery(FMAS) , Ceritification in Minimal Invasive Surgery, FIAGES
General Surgeon, Kota
Constipation is due to our bad dietary habbit eating high fibre diet like good amount of salads leafy vegetables. Those who don't take dietary precaution will develop constipation as soon they stop laxatives and take low fibre diet.

I have an itchy anus sometimes after eating non veg plus sometimes my butt also heats up and i'm suffering from on and off constipation along with discomfort in anus.

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1. Take home cooked, fresh light food. Take a lot of green vegetables n fruit. 2. Increasing the fibre in your diet 3. Increasing your fluid intake 4. Avoid fast foods, spicy n fried foods 5. Maintain active life style6. Curd is good for u.7. Avoi...

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