Facts You Should Know About Constipation

Constipation is defined medically as fewer than three stools per week and severe constipation as less than one stool per week. Some of the symptoms of


 constipation include lower abdominal discomfort, a sense of incomplete evacuation (the feeling that you still have to "go") after a bowel movement, straining to have a bowel movement, hard or small stools, rectal bleeding and/or anal fissures caused by hard stools, physiological distress and/or obsession with having bowel movements.

What causes constipation?

Constipation usually is caused by the slow movement of material through the colon (large bowel). Two disorders that cause constipation; 1) are colonic inertia, and pelvic floor dysfunction. There are many causes of and associations with constipation, for example, medications; poor bowel habits; low fiber diets; possibly abuse of laxatives; hormonal disorders; diseases primarily of other parts of the body that also affect the colon; and high levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy.

What are the signs and symptoms of constipation?

Signs and symptoms of constipation may include rectal bleeding and/or anal fissures that are caused by hard or small stools, lower abdominal discomfort, and straining to have a bowel movement.

Call you doctor or other health care professional for treatment for constipation if you have a sudden onset if symptoms that come on suddenly that are severe pain that worsens and are associated with other worrisome symptoms such as suddenly losing weight, or is not responding to simple, safe and effective treatments.

What exams, tests, and procedures cause constipation?

Tests to diagnose the cause of constipation may include a medical history, physical examination, blood tests, abdominal X-raysbarium enema, colonic transit studies, defecography, anorectal motility studies, and colonic motility studies.

What are the goals for constipation therapy? Is there a special diet plan for it? How is it cured?

The goal of therapy for constipation is one bowel movement every two to three days without straining. Treatment may include foods high in fiber, non-stimulant laxatives, stimulant laxatives, enemas, suppositories, biofeedback training, prescription medications, and surgery. Stimulant laxatives, including herbal products, should be used as a last resort because they might damage the colon and worsen constipation.

Natural and home remedies to relieve pain and stop constipation?

Don't suppress urges to defecate. When the urge comes, find a toilet. With the assistance of your doctor and pharmacist, determine if there are drugs that you are taking that could be contributing to constipation. See if the drugs can be discontinued or changed.

Increase the fiber in your diet by consuming more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. (There are other health benefits from this recommendation as well.) It may be difficult to get enough fiber in the diet to effectively treat constipation, so don't hesitate to take fiber supplements if necessary (wheat bran, psyllium, etc.). Use increasing amounts of fiber and/or change the type of fiber consumed until there is a satisfactory result. Don't expect fiber to work overnight. Allow a few weeks for adequate trials.


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