Constipation: What is it?, Why does it happen?, What to do now?

The article is all about Constipation, its common causes & simple steps which if taken, can help in treating & preventing it. However the information contained herein is NOT intended to & hence should NOT be used as a substitute for the advice of a Qualified Medical Professional. Readers are Advised to Always consult their Health care Provider before they Start or Stop taking any Medications.

Constipation is the condition where one is unable to pass stools easily or at all without excessive effort & straining. Usually the stool comes out after great pressure, is hard & dry, leaving the person dissatisfied.

It may be associated with anal pains during and after stools, presence of blood with / after the stool & even a bearing down sensation while straining.

Presence of blood in the stool could be a sign of Acute Fissure – in – ano, Piles / Haemorrhoids & other diseases which may or may not be directly related to the Anus. So, consult a doctor ASAP to avoid worsening of the symptoms.
Causes & Treatment
The following information provides both the Commonest Causes & Simple Corrective measures to treat & prevent Constipation:

Spicy food: Giving the fact that many people feast on Chillies & Masala rich roadside food, the effects are seen as difficulty in passing stools. Hence reduce the intake of spicy as well as junk food.

Diet lacking Fibre: Most Fruits & Green – Leafy Vegetables stimulate bowel movements & help ease Constipation, so eat them regularly. Fruit Juices are devoid of fibre, so better eat the fruits to get fibre.

Smoking: Smoking may also cause or worsen Constipation. Hence, avoid cigarettes, bidis, gutkha & paan masala as well.

Faulty Toilet habits: Don't read anything while passing stool. This is the commonest mistake that most people make. The toilet is a place to release waste matter, not a place to read worldly matters.

Also avoid unnecessary straining at stool. Let the stool come out on its own. Mechanical removal is advised only in very severe cases.

Medicines: Certain Medications can cause Constipation. Ask the doctor who has prescribed those medicines, to know if that's the cause. The doctor will then either change the medicines / dosage or will advise you accordingly. Always Consult a doctor before you start or stop any medicines. Never Self – medicate.

Less Water intake: At least 8 to 10 glasses of water (in sips), should be consumed daily. A glass of warm water on an empty stomach in the morning also helps.

Sedentary lifestyle: Sitting continuously for hours together also contributes to the severity of constipation. Hence, get up from that chair & move about.

Stress: As we all know, stress can cause anything. Hence Breathing & Relaxation techniques are very useful.

Pregnancy: Effect of the hormone Progesterone, reduced physical activity and pressure of the gravid uterus on the colon often causes Constipation in pregnant females. Left untreated, it may lead to Hemorrhoids.

In addition to the above mentioned causes, Constipation can also a symptom of Prolonged travel with Suppression of the urge to pass stool, Thyroid problems, Lead poisoning & Abuse of purgatives.
Also remember that passing 3 stools once a day or 1 stool in 3 days is Normal, as long as you are able to pass Satisfactory stools without pain or excessive straining & the stool consistency is Soft.

Clinical examination of the rectum is necessary if symptoms persist.
Accordingly the doctor may also advise Investigations, depending on the seat of pathology.

Medical Treatment – This usually includes:
Laxatives / Purgatives
Bulk forming agents
Medicines for additional symptoms along with Constipation
Dressing for Wounds / Ulcers / Bleeding from anus

Surgical intervention will be needed as per the disease, its indications & severity of symptoms.


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