Health Impacts of Constipation, Causes, Types, Symptoms, Prevention, Possible Complications, Various Effective Home Remedies and FAQ
What is Constipation?
Constipation is a condition where you may have bowel movements less than three times a week; hard, dry or clustered stool; Stools that are difficult or painful to pass; or a feeling that not all stool has passed.
You can usually take steps to prevent or relieve constipation. Generally, constipation settles on its own in a few days. But chronic constipation becomes a problem.
Health Impacts of Constipation and Treatment
Chronic constipation is characterized by lack of periodicity in defecation, difficulty or pain during defecation without an identifiable organic cause, such as physiological, radiological, or histological. Although this is a common problem in children, at least 5% of children identify an underlying cause.
Constipation can occur in people of any age from infants to older people; overall, it is more common in women than men. Also, the non-white population is reported to have a prevalence of 30% more than the white population.
The pattern and frequency of defecation in children depends on the age of the child. During neonatal period and early infancy, bowel movements can be more than 4 times a day, eventually trends down to 1-2 bowel movements per day by toddler age. At this point, children usually get voluntary control of their sphincter. Hence, there is a link between bowel movement and age.
The following parts of the article lead you to the possible impacts on your health if you get constipation along with its cure and other related information.
Types of Constipation
Constipation pattern is classified into two major categories- Primary and Secondary. These are further divided into subdivisions, they are as mentioned below:
1) Primary constipation
It is a type that occurs without any obvious reason. There are 3 subtypes of this:
- Normal transport constipation – This is a condition where a person feels constipated, but their bowel movement is normal and the stools move through the digestive tract at regular pace. People with normal transport constipation may experience symptoms like stomach bloating and pain.
- Slow transit constipation – People with it do not experience normal intestinal stimulation after eating, called ‘Peristalsis’. Therefore, food moves through the digestive tract more slowly than usual, and the stools take longer to pass through the colon. As the stool sits in the intestine for a long time, the bowel movement of these individuals will be less.
- Outlet constipation – This is due to damage to the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support the intestines and bladder, as well as the uterus of women. In outlet constipation, damage to the pelvic floor muscles or nerves makes it difficult for a person to defecate. This loss can be caused due to various reasons including pregnancy and childbirth.
2) Secondary constipation
Secondary constipation is caused by an underlying health problem (e.g. hypothyroidism, diabetes, any disease affecting the brain or blood vessels, IBS etc.) or side effects of drug use.
Causes of Constipation
The causes of constipation can be divided into the following broad categories:
- Effective (non-organic) or retinative: includes constipation for stool-keeping behavior and when all biological reasons are denied.
- Anatomic causes: includes stenosis or atresia, early displaced rectum, crude rectum, bowel stiffness, stiffness.
- Causes associated with abnormal muscles: includes prune belly syndrome, gastrosis, down syndrome, muscle dystrophy.
- The abnormality-related causes of the intestinal nerve include Hirschsprung disease, pseudo-obstruction, intestinal neuronal dysplasia, spinal defects, tethered cord, spina bifida.
- Drugs: for example- anticholinergic, narcotics, antidepressants, lead, vitamin D addiction etc.
- Metabolic and endocrine causes: such as hypokalemia, hypercalcemia, hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus (DM), or diabetes insipidus.
- Other causes: include celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, cow’s milk protein allergy, inflammatory bowel disease, sclerosis etc.
Symptoms of Constipation
Signs and symptoms of constipation include:
- Passing stool less than three times a week
- Lumpy or hard defecation
- Pushing for bowel movements
- Feel like you have rectal barriers that prevent intestinal movements
- Feel like you can’t completely empty the stool from your rectum
- Your rectum needs help to empty it, such as using your hand to press it on your stomach and using your finger to remove the stool from your rectum.
Constipation may be considered chronic if you continuously experience two or more of these symptoms for more than two-three months.
Also Read:Basil Tea Benefits: 11 Curing Properties
Home Remedies for Relieving Constipation and Maintaining Health
- Stay Hydrated
Dehydration can lead to constipation, so make sure to drink enough water. The water that shines can be even more effective in relieving constipation.
- Eat more Fiber
To treat constipation, doctors often ask people to increase health beneficial fiber intake through their diet, as an increased fiber intake promotes large volume and stability of the bowel movement, making it easier for them to pass through the digestive system more quickly.
- Exercise Regularly
Various research studies have revealed that exercise can help improve constipation symptoms. Studies have linked the outdoor lifestyle to an increased risk of constipation. For this, some healthcare experts recommend increasing exercise to move stool.
- Drink Coffee
For some people, drinking coffee can increase the interest in going to the bathroom. This is because coffee stimulates the muscles of the digestive system. Coffee may contain small amounts of soluble fiber which helps in preventing constipation by improving the balance of the intestinal bacteria.
Take natural laxatives or you can try supplements. The laxatives improve the movement of the intestines, thus helping to relieve constipation.
Probiotics can help prevent chronic constipation. Probiotics are live, good bacteria that naturally occur in the gut. They include ‘bifidobacteria’ and ‘lactobacillus’. People can increase their level by eating probiotic food. Some people with chronic constipation have bacterial imbalances in their intestines. Eating more probiotic foods can help improve this balance and prevent constipation. Probiotics are also found in supplementary form.
‘Prebiotic’ is an indigestible carbohydrate fiber. Prebiotics include ‘oligosaccharide’ and ‘inulin’. Although the diet reduces constipation by improving the stability and majority of the stool, the preorganics have an effect on them by improving digestion health. The pre organic fiber improves digestive health by feeding good bacteria in the intestine, which increases probiotics and improves the balance of intestinal bacteria. Prebiotic fiber includes garlic, bananas, leeks, chickpeas, onions, etc.
- Magnesium Citrate
Magnesium is a popular home remedy against citrate constipation and maintain bowel health. It is a type of osmotic laxative. Taking a moderate amount of magnesium supplements can help in getting relief from constipation. Ask your doctor for the right amount of dose for you.
This dried fruit is a great source of fiber, which makes it helpful in transferring food through the digestive system. Eating a few prunes can help in encouraging intestinal movement. Prunes can be the most affordable natural health beneficial remedies available for constipation. In addition to fiber, the prunes contain sorbitol (It is a sugar alcohol that has laxative effects).
The effective dose can be about 50 grams or seven medium prunes twice a day.
- Avoid Dairy Products
In people with lactose intolerance, eating dairy food can cause constipation as a result of its effect on bowel movements. These include children who are intolerant of cow’s milk protein and adults with lactose intolerance.
Prevention of Constipation
- Include plenty of high-fiber foods in your diet; such as- beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and bran.
- Reduce eating low fiber foods; such as processed foods, and dairy and meat products.
- Eat plenty of liquids.
- Stay as active as possible and try to do regular exercise.
- Try to control stress.
- Do not ignore the urge of passing the stool.
- Try to create regular schedules for bowel movement, especially after meals.
- Make sure that children who start eating solid foods get a lot of fiber in their diet.
Complications of Constipation
- Swelling veins (hemorrhoids) in your rectum: Pressing to keep the bowel movements can cause the veins in and around your stool to swell.
- Cracked skin (anal crack) in your rectum: Large or hard stool can cause small tears in the rectum.
- Stool which cannot be excreta (stool effect): Chronic constipation can lead to accumulation of hard stool stuck in your intestines.
- The intestine (anus prolapse) coming out of the rectum: Pressure to keep the bowel movements can cause a small amount of rectum to spread and come out of the rectum.
Also Read: Benefits & Uses of Brahmi – Health & Beauty
The above article lets you know how you can beat constipation. Remember, the information provided above is based on trusted sources and only for knowledge purposes. Please consult a specialist for more details and proper treatment.
Also Read : Constipation Problem and Treatment(Assamese)
1) What is the normal stability for bowel movement?
A. Intestinal movement should be soft and structured. They should pass easily like toothpaste coming out of the tube.
2) Is there any difference between whether I eat fiber or use supplements?
A. No, there is no difference whether you eat fiber or take supplements. Some patients feel that supplements give them less gas.
3) My doctor asked me to try fiber but my symptoms are worse. How could it be?
A. There are different types of constipation. All types of constipation are not best treated with fiber treatment. For example, it has been observed that symptoms may still remain after the fiber intake in people with dyssynergic stool or slow transit constipation.
4) Will the long-term use of the laxative hurt me or I become addicted?
A. Some people have to take something (like- supplements, laxatives etc.) to make bowel movement easy. Usually fiber does not appear to have caused any harm. However, if you notice any side effects, consult your doctor.
5) Is there any surgery that can cure my constipation?
A. Surgery is always a last resort. Most constipation can be cured by diet change, lifestyle changes and laxative treatment. Surgery is recommended if you have a slow moving colon that has failed all treatments or has a tract blocking structure that causes your constipation. Structures that block the way to defecate through the anus tube can also be lifted by strengthening the pelvic floor through physical treatment.