As per a survey, every one in five people have chronic constipation. Owning to the misinterpretation of the term, it is widely believed that constipation is “Just having fewer bowel moments,” but it is more than that. Although almost everyone occasionally experiences constipation, long-term or chronic constipation can interfere with a person’s daily life and reduce their productivity levels. Here in this blog, we have compiled everything you need to know about constipation and how to cure it!
What is constipation?
Constipation generally is the condition where the frequency of bowel moments per week drops to less than 3. Although, the key point to notice is the change in the pattern of bowel movements. The frequency of bowel movements is less for some individuals and more for others. Hence, they are good to go as long as the frequency is not disturbed.
Whatever the bowel habits, one thing is certain: the longer one has to wait for the next bowel moment, the harder it is for faeces or waste to pass. The key symptoms of constipation also include:
– The faeces are firm and dry.
– The bowel movement hurts, and passing stools is challenging.
– Having an underlying bloated feeling even after emptying the bowels.
What causes constipation?
The colon’s primary function is to absorb water from leftover food as it moves through the digestive system. The result is a stool (waste). Eventually, the muscles in the colon push the waste through the rectum to be expelled. The stool can become hard and challenging to pass if it stays in the colon for an excessively long time.
Constipation is frequently brought on by poor eating. Therefore, dietary fiber and sufficient water consumption are essential to keep stools soft. Foods high in fiber are typically made from plants. Fibers are categorized into two types, soluble and insoluble. As it travels through the digestive system, the soluble fiber becomes a soft, gel-like substance that can dissolve in water.
Most of the structure of the insoluble fiber is maintained while it passes through the digestive system. Both types of fiber combine with stool to make it heavier and softer overall. As a result, passing through the rectum is much simpler. Constipation can also result from disorders that prevent one from feeling the urge to urinate or slow down colonic muscle contractions.
Constipation is frequently brought on by:
– Consuming diets poor in fiber, especially those heavy in dairy products or cheese
– Being dehydrated
– Low amounts of physical activity
– Postponing the urge to pass bowels
– Certain medications
– Hormonal changes during and after pregnancy
What are the symptoms of constipation?
The key symptoms of constipation include the following:-
– Passing bowels less than three times each week.
– Stools are lumpy, dry, and firm.
– It hurts or is difficult to pass stools.
– Experience cramps or a stomachache.
– Nausea and bloating.
– Feeling like bowels are not clear despite passing the bowels
Methods of diagnosis
It could be time to consult a doctor if constipation doesn’t go away or if one’s worried about their symptoms.
Generally, the healthcare provider
– Will inquire about the symptoms, medical background, and any current drugs or underlying problems.
– May do a physical examination, which may include a rectal examination.
– One may also have some blood tests done to help gauge the thyroid function, electrolytes, and blood count.
To find the source of the symptoms, they could suggest more tests that may include the following:-
Colorectal transit study: Also referred to as marker study, involves swallowing a pill containing tiny markers visible in X-ray scans. Successive X-ray scans are taken over a few days to check intestinal muscles’ functioning and food movement.
Anorectal manometry: An assessment of the function of the anal sphincter muscle is done using an anorectal manometry test. A medical practitioner will put a small tube with a balloon tip into the anus to do this test. They will blow up the balloon and carefully pull it out after the tube is inside. They can assess the anal sphincter’s muscular strength and check the effectiveness of one’s muscle contractions using this test.
Colonoscopy: Another test that medical practitioners perform to check the colon is a colonoscopy. A medical practitioner will use a colonoscope to inspect the colon during this test. This tube has a light source and a camera on it. One will likely forget the examination and shouldn’t experience any pain because sedatives and painkillers are frequently administered. One will follow a liquid-only diet for one to three days before the test. Then, the night before the test, they might need to use an enema or laxative to empty their bowels.
Methods of treatment
The good news is that one can control mild constipation by making a few easy lifestyle modifications. Prevention advice comprises:
– Increasing intake of fiber: Foods high in fiber, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, all contribute to enhancing gut health. However, if one has gastrointestinal sensitivity, avoid high-fructose fruits that can induce gas, such as apples, pears, and melons.
– Increasing physical activity: Exercising regularly can maintain colon healthy.
– Increase water intake by eight glasses daily, and stay away from coffee since it will cause one to dehydrate.
– Don’t ignore the urge to pass bowels
Constipation is a typical issue that people have as they age when taking certain drugs or if they consume insufficient amounts of fiber. Most constipation instances are minor and quickly resolved with dietary and activity modifications. One must consult a medical professional if they have persistent constipation or constipation coupled with other gastrointestinal disturbances.