What You Need To Know About Constipation
Constipation is basically an health condition characterized by the body’s inability to pass stool frequently. The longest period of time that an healthy person stays before stooling is usually forty-eight hours ( two days ), any length of time longer than this can be termed constipation.
Constipation is a digestive disorder associated with hard and dry bowel movements at a frequency of less than three times weekly.
Causes Of Constipation
The “human colon” ( an organ in the digestive system ) is charged with the function of absorbing water from the food, it does this and thereby creating stool. The walls of the colon uses peristaltic actions to propel stool down to the anus, and from there it is eliminated. However, anytime that stool stays for far too long in the colon, it gets hard and becomes difficult to eliminate through the anus as faeces.
Basically, the longer stool stays inside the colon, the harder the stool gets.
Bad diet is the sole cause of constipation. When a person takes low level of fiber in his course meal, he risks having constipation.
Inadequate water intake after meal and during the day can as well play a role in causing constipation.
Fiber-rich meals are mostly sourced from plants. And these plant-sourced fibers can be soluble or insoluble in the digestive system. It is the soluble fiber that is degraded into a soft material while it goes through the digestive tract. Whereas the insoluble fiber mostly retains its nature and form while it goes through the digestive tract. The two fiber types combine with stool in the rectum and act as a bulk agent; increasing the bulk, weight and softness of the stool and aiding it to pass smoother through the anus.
Pregnancy also plays a role in causing constipation; it does this through hormonal changes or imbalance. Changes in hormone secretion causes muscular dilation and relaxation of the small intestine. Causing food to move at a slower pace though the digestive system.
In the case of travels, the human brain has been conformed to trigger the urge to defecate at certain time o the day, but due to changes in time across different parts of the world, that urge to defecate may be delayed, resulting into constipation.
In highlights, these are the causes of constipation
- Low water intake
- Low fiber intake
- Not responding to the natural urge of stooling whenever it is felt
- Drugs, such as high intake of pain relievers and calcium antacids
- No exercise.
Medically, there are certain health conditions that have been proven to bring about constipation. They include stroke, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, abuse of laxatives ( laxatives are drugs that bring about relaxation of the muscular walls of the digestive tract ), hormonal imbalance, diverticulosis ( a condition characterized by small pouches found on the internal walls of the colon ), intestinal obstruction, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.
Who Is more Prone To Constipation?
- Those who are above 60 years of age: this is primarily because old people have many underlying diseases which may also cause constipation, including slower rate of food digestion and poorer diet.
- Bed-ridden: those who due to one health condition or the other, are made to spend a greater part of the day in bed, usually risk having constipation. This is because there is general muscle relaxation when laying in bed, as opposed to muscle contraction and relaxation which occurs in the course of undergoing physical activities.
- Pregnant women: due to hormonal imbalance or fluctuations in hormonal secretion due to the presence of a foetus or baby inside the placenta, there seems to be a chance of undergoing constipation. Statistically, about 13% pregnant women suffer constipation during pregnancy.
How Is Constipation Diagnosed?
That question might have been popping through your head. Most sufferers of constipation choose self-medication as a first line of defense, they change diet, exercise regularly, or use laxatives provided by a community Pharmacist.
However, it gets to time that you visit your Physician under these symptoms….
- You have suffered two-weeks long constipation even after the use of laxatives and other self-care treatments.
- Presence of a fresh red blood in your stool ( fresh blood which resembles blood that flows when you cut your skin using a kitchen knife). The blood is basically fresh because hard stool may have cut or torn the tissues in your anus while forcefully coming out. This fresh blood is now collected by your stool and deposited in the bowel of the water closet.
- Incessant abdominal pain.
- Decrease in body weight.
After paying him a visit, your Physician will trace your medical history, ask you questions pertaining to symptoms, he will furthermore carry out rectal tests, hormonal checks, stool checks. It ends there is it is a mild case of constipation.
Severe cases of constipation will warrant the Doctor to carry out the following scans;
- Marker Study
This examination is used by a Doctor to detect how food moves through your colon. A tablet which has markers that appear on X-Ray, is swallowed by the patient. The following few days, several X-Ray scans are shot by the Doctor to examine the path and pace of the pill down the abdomen.
A tube attached to a camera and light-source is used to examine the colon of the patient by the Doctor. Patients are advised to be solely on liquid diet three days prior to the examination day. As well, a laxative is administered on the examination eve in order to ease the bowel.
Sedatives are administered to patients to kill pain sensations. So the examination is not painful to the patient at all. Disorders of the colon are detected this way under severe cases of constipation.
- Anorectal Manometry
This diagnosis examines anal sphincter muscles and their conditions. A thin tube is carefully inserted into the anus of the patient, and using a pumping machine, it is inflated by passing air into the tube through the tip which extends to the exterior, with the tube inflated to a comfortable size while inside the anus, it is carefully pulled out, special care is taken by the Doctor to examine the contractility of the muscles of the anus while the balloon is been pulled out.
How Does Constipation feel like?
You feel full in the abdomen, uncomfortable and occasional migraines. You may have difficulty and feel hurt when sitting down because of a cut in the anus due to forceful evacuation of hard stool, change in walking step to a more awkward one.
How To Treat Constipation
Even though we do not promote self-diagnosis in a latter stage, however when you notice constipation is still in its early stages, you can observe the following to improve your bowel evacuation rates.
- Daily exercises like jumping and jogging for at least 30minutes every day.
- Adequate water intake every day.
- Limited alcohol intake as it dehydrates the body.
- Daily intake of fiber; about 30-40 grams per day.
- Always use the toilet when you feel the urge to evacuate, don’t postpone or delay the evacuation.
- Sparingly use laxatives, but must only be used in accordance with the prescription of a Pharmacist or Doctor. This is due to their side-effects.
Constipation is a common medical condition. It is self-diagnosable however it is important to report to a Physician when it becomes chronic. It largely makes the sufferer feel very uncomfortable through the day and so shouldn’t be left to worsen. Be sure you follow these guidelines in order to receive therapeutic healing in the shortest time possible and also, stay in line of these guidelines to avoid a recurrence.