What Is Constipation?
Constipation is the inability of a person to have regular bowel movements. It could mean either that the bowel movements are present but infrequent, or in extreme chronic conditions, that they do not occur at all. In the chronic state, constipation could prolong for a few weeks. During this period, it could add to immense discomfort to the person and could severely affect their productivity.
Everyone might experience difficulties in passing stools now and then. However, it is diagnosed as a chronic condition if the bowel movements occur less than thrice a week.
Constipation must be addressed before it becomes a chronic issue. Though it can be completely treated, a cause for it may never be diagnosed. The treatment could be through very simple modes, including home remedies.
What Are the Symptoms of Constipation?
Constipation can easily be diagnosed by observing the bowel movements. If there are fewer than three of them per week, then it is a surefire indication of constipation. Apart from this, even infrequent stools, or the feeling of retention in the abdomen even after having a motion can be termed as constipation.
If excess physical effort such as strain on the abdomen or the need to press the abdomen while passing stools is experienced, then that is an indication too. The stools might feel hard and difficult to pass out.
If these symptoms keep on recurring, at least twice within the past three months, then it is a case of chronic constipation. Medical help might be needed to resolve the issue.
What Is the Cause of Constipation?
Usually, no single cause of constipation is identified, even in patients who have a chronic problem. The following are considered to be indicative factors:-
- There could be some kind of obstruction or blockage in the rectal passage. This could be due to a physical condition such as anal fissure or piles. It could also indicate colon or rectal cancer, for an outgrowth might have narrowed the passage. It might be because of bowel stricture as well, which is a condition where the bowels are extremely constricted.
- The problem might also lie with the muscles that surround the rectal area. These problems could be the failure of the pelvic muscles to relax or the lack of coordination of their actions. The muscles could have become weakened due to age or other health conditions.
- The cause might also lie in the diabetic condition of the person or the excessive secretion of the thyroid gland, which is known as hyperthyroidism.
- Pregnancy changes the hormonal composition of women. This could probably be the cause of constipation.
- A spinal cord injury might also obstruct bowel movement.
- It could be on account of a stroke or a condition known as multiple sclerosis.
What Are the Risk Factors for Constipation?
The following are some of the factors that could bring about constipation in people:-
- Dietary deficiencies are usually a big culprit. If your diet does not have adequate amount of fiber, then the undigested waste of the body does not get enough roughage to form stools and pass out of the body. This leads to constipation. People who subsist on protein diets, for instance, lack fiber and could be constipated.
- The chances of suffering from constipation increase as one grows older. This is due to a large number of reasons, including the wear and tear of the muscles around the bowels. After the age of 60, there might be frequent complaints of constipation.
- Women are at a higher risk of constipation than men are.
- People who do not have a healthy consumption of fluids are at a greater risk too. A fair amount of water and fluids is required for the proper passage of stools from the system.
- Substance abusers frequently suffer from digestive disorders such as constipation.
- People who lead a sedentary life are also more vulnerable to constipation.
- Certain medication, such as those that are used to lower blood pressure, could be the causes of constipation.
How to Prevent the Chances of Constipation?
In most cases, constipation can be prevented, or even treated by the use of certain home remedies and changes in the lifestyle. If this is a chronic issue with you, then you might need to check out these methods:-
- First of all, ensure that your daily routine includes a fair amount of physical exercise. Especially if you have a desk job, you must have a routine of going for a walk for at least half an hour a day. Apart from other things, this tightens up your abdominal muscles, and enables the stools to pass out faster and better.
- Include in your diet foodstuffs that have high amounts of fiber. Green leafy vegetables must be included as much as possible. Eat at least two portions of fruits each day. Bananas are considered to be the best for constipated persons, and apples are also recommended.
- Use minimal cooking methods. Do not alter the natural change or nature of foods with the addition of chemicals and spices. Reduce the intake of oil. Eat more of salads and boiled fibrous vegetables.
- You must drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day. Having a full glass of warm water early morning as soon as you wake up, and then following it with a banana, is a good method to cure constipation. If the case of constipation is mild, this much should actually be enough to take care of the condition.
- If you are a smoker, completely avoid it. Smoking increases the chances of constipation.
- Also reduce the intake of caffeine-containing drinks such as coffee. These can also increase the chances of constipation.
- Having milk based foods is a good idea. However, if you are lactose-intolerant, this will not work for you.
- You could also practice some exercises for strengthening your abdominal muscles. This helps in the easy passage of stools.
You should not let constipation to rule you. With a little care, you can control the situation as well as you can.