Constipation is a common occurrence that happens to many individuals. It happens when your bowel movements are tough and occur less frequently than normal. The condition, in most cases, is not serious and can be remedied easily. Individuals suffer from constipation when bowel movements occur only a few times a week. In certain cases, when the movement takes longer than 3 days, it is too long. You should immediately visit your doctor to have your condition examined.
How Is It Caused?
The primary cause of the condition occurs when the colon absorbs too much water. This happens when the muscles in the colon contract at a very low speed, resulting in the stool moving extremely slow and losing too much water, making them harder to pass.
The other causes:
- Very little fiber in the diet – Individuals who consume a high quantity of fiber are less likely to suffer any episodes of constipation. Foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain high levels of fiber.
- Lack of activity – Studies have shown that individuals who tend to become physically inactive may get constipation. This usually happens with older adults. Anybody who has been confined to a bed for a protracted period stands a higher chance of suffering from the condition. Health practitioners are under the impression that being active keeps the levels of metabolism high, therefore, the body is able to process everything quicker.
- Medications – There are several medications on the market that can cause constipation. Some of them are narcotic pain drugs, diuretics including chlorothiazide, antidepressants and calcium channel blocking drugs.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome – If you have IBS, you are prone to suffer from constipation.
- Not consuming enough water – Drinking a lot of water frequently will mitigate the chance of constipation.
- Pregnancy – Women who are pregnant go through hormonal changes, as a result, this may lead to being constipated (1).
Take Home Note:
Constipation occurs when bowel movements are less frequent than normal. It usually occurs as a result of not having adequate levels of fiber, inactivity, certain medications, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, not consuming enough water, and even during pregnancy.
You will experience several symptoms, which are an inkling that you have constipation. One of the major ones is that you are encountering less than 3 stools a week. Another symptom is that you are experiencing lumpy or hard stools. Individuals who suffer from the condition have reported that they find it difficult to have bowel movements.
The other symptoms that have been discovered are individuals having the feeling that a blockage has occurred in the rectum, which impedes any bowel movement. Another symptom linked to the one aforementioned is feeling as if you are not able to fully pass the stool from your rectum. Individuals with constipation have also reported that they need assistance to empty their rectum by the use of their hands to press on the abdomen (2).
Take Home Note:
Symptoms you will incur if you have the condition are encountering less than 3 stools a week, experiencing a hard stool, feeling a blockage in the rectum and needing assistance to empty the rectum with hands by pressing on the abdomen.
How Does It Occur?
There are several reasons why the condition occurs in individuals. Some of the reasons are the following:
- Your diet has recently changed, and your daily activities have changed.
- The body is not receiving sufficient levels of water and fiber.
- When you eat a lot of dairy products you become susceptible to the condition.
- If you are inactive, you increase the possibility of getting constipated.
- Being stressed on a regular basis.
- When you use too many laxatives.
- Use of certain medications such as narcotics and antidepressants.
- If you are suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
- When you experience problems with nerves and muscles in the digestive system.
- It can occur as a result of being pregnant.
- If you have colon cancer, you are susceptible to the condition (3).
Take Home Note:
There are numerous reasons why constipation occurs. The most common ones are changing your diet, not acquiring enough water and fiber, being inactive, using too many laxatives, suffering from stress and using medication such as narcotics and antidepressants.
The Remedy To Get Constipation Relief
In order to get relief from constipation, in most cases, adjustments will need to be made to the individual’s diet. Persons who are suffering from chronic constipation may encounter difficulties during treatment. Your health practitioner will prescribe bulk-forming agents along with the dietary change. Individuals who are not active will have to increase their activities as well as incorporate daily exercise into their routine.
With regard to the diet, individuals suffering from constipation will have to ensure that they consume a high level of fiber. A fiber supplement may be incorporated into the diet. Some of the most popular fiber supplements are psyllium and methylcellulose. The supplements will not cause any harm if it is taken with enough water.
You need to keep yourself hydrated at all times. It is necessary to consume 6 to 8 glasses of water during the day. Two things that you should limit the intake of is alcohol and caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and cola. For every cup of coffee or tea you have, also make sure you match it with a glass of water. This excludes the 8 daily glasses already mentioned.
Another remedy is to make a stringent schedule of going to the toilet at the same time every day. This period should occur after meals and you should permit adequate time to not strain while having a bowel movement. Lastly, you should not buy laxatives that contain senna or buckthorn. Studies have proven that taking that in the long haul, they can cause damage to the lining of the bowel (4).