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23 Jul

Constipation – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Overview:

Constipation is a condition of the digestive system where an individual has hard feces that are difficult to expel. In most cases, this occurs because the colon has absorbed too much water from the food that is in the colon.

The slower the food moves through the digestive tract, the more water the colon will absorb from it. Consequently, the feces become dry and hard.

When this happens, emptying the bowels can become very painful.

 

Causes:

Constipation happens when the colon absorbs too much water. This can occur if the muscles in the colon are contracting slowly or poorly, causing the stool to move too slowly and lose more water.

The most common causes of constipation are:

  • Lack of Fiber in the Diet
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Medications
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Changes in Routine
  • Overuse of Laxatives
  • Not drinking enough Water
  • Some diseases and Conditions.

 

Symptoms:

The main symptoms of constipation are increased the difficulty and straining when passing stools.

Passing fewer stools than usual can be a sign of constipation.

Other symptoms include:

  • stomach ache
  • stomach cramps
  • feeling bloated and nauseous
  • losing appetite

 

Any Affecting Organs:

Constipation on its own can be uncomfortable but not life-threatening. However, severe constipation can develop into more serious conditions, including:

  • rectal bleeding after continually straining to pass stools
  • anal fissure, or a small tear around the anus
  • hemorrhoids, or swollen, inflamed blood vessels of veins in the rectum
  • fecal impaction, in which dried stools collect in the anus and rectum, leading to an obstruction in the path stool would take to leave the body.

 

Prevention and Treatment:

Changing your diet and increasing your physical activity level are the easiest and fastest ways to treat and prevent constipation. Try the following techniques as well:

  • Every day, drink 1.5 to 2 quarts of unsweetened, decaffeinated fluids, like water, to hydrate the body.
  • Limit consumption of alcohol and caffeinated drinks, which cause dehydration.
  • Add fiber-rich foods to your diets, such as raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, prunes, or bran cereal. Your daily intake of fiber should be between 20 and 35 grams.
  • Cut down on low-fiber foods, such as meat, milk, cheese, and processed foods.
  • Aim for about 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, with a goal of 30 minutes per day at least five times per week (try walking, swimming, or biking).
  • If you feel the urge to have a bowel movement, don’t delay. The longer you wait, the harder your stool can become.
  • Add fiber supplements to your diet if needed. Just remember to drink plenty of fluids because fluids help fiber work more efficiently.

 

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/symptom/constipation

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150322.php

 

 

 

 

 

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