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 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 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.
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:
There are many possible causes behind occurrence of constipation in any person. 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, inactiveness, not taking proper amount of fibers 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.
A person diagnosed with constipation should follow these steps:
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.
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.
For treating constipation, there are some other ways through which a person can deal without using medications as mentioned below:
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.