All about Constipation: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Chronic constipation is infrequent bowel movements or troublesome sections of stools that persevere for a little while or more.

Constipation is generally described as having fewer than three bowel movements a week.

In spite of the fact that occasional constipation is extremely normal, a few groups experience ongoing chronic constipation that can meddle with their capacity to approach their day-by-day errands. Chronic constipation may likewise make individuals strain unnecessarily to have a bowel movement.

Treatment for chronic constipation depends in part on the underlying cause. However, in some cases, a cause is never found.

What causes constipation?

Your colon’s fundamental occupation is to ingest water from remaining food as it’s going through your digestive system. It at that point makes stool (waste).

The colon’s muscles eventually propel the waste out through the rectum to be eliminated. If stool remains in the colon too long, it can become hard and difficult to pass.

A less eating routine much of the time causes constipation. Dietary fiber and adequate water intake are important to help keep stools soft.

Fiber-rich foods are generally made from plants. Fiber comes in soluble and insoluble forms. The soluble fiber can dissolve in water and creates a soft, gel-like material as it passes through the digestive system.

Insoluble fiber holds a large portion of its design as it goes through the digestive system. The two types of fiber get together with stool, expanding its weight and size while likewise relaxing it. This makes it simpler to go through the rectum.

Stress, changes in routine, and conditions that slow muscle contractions of the colon or delay your urge to go may also lead to constipation.

Common causes of constipation include:
  • delaying the impulse to have a bowel movement
  • travel or other changes in routine
  • certain medications, such as high calcium antacids and pain medications
  • pregnancy
  • low-fiber diet, particularly diets high in meat, milk, or cheese
  • dehydration
  • lack of exercise

Risk factors

Eating a poor diet and not exercising are major risk factors for constipation. Factors that may increase your risk of chronic constipation include:

  • Eating a diet that’s low in fiber
  • Getting little or no physical activity
  • Taking certain medications, including sedatives, opioid pain medications, some antidepressants or medications to lower blood pressure
  • Having a mental health condition such as depression or an eating disorder
  • Being an older adult
  • Being a woman
  • Being dehydrated

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of chronic constipation include:

  • Feeling as though there’s a blockage in your rectum that prevents bowel movements
  • Feeling as though you can’t completely empty the stool from your rectum
  • Needing help to empty your rectum, such as using your hands to press on your abdomen and using a finger to remove stool from your rectum
  • Passing fewer than three stools a week
  • Having lumpy or hard stools
  • Straining to have bowel movements

Constipation may be considered chronic if you’ve experienced two or more of these symptoms for the last three months.

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How to treat and prevent constipation

Changing your diet and increasing your physical activity level are the easiest and fastest ways to treat and prevent constipation. Try the following techniques as well:
  • Aim for about 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, with a goal of 30 minutes per day at least five times per week. Try walking, swimming, or biking.
  • If you feel the urge to have a bowel movement, don’t delay. The longer you wait, the harder your stool can become.
  • Add fiber supplements to your diet if needed. Just remember to drink plenty of fluids because fluids help fiber work more efficiently.
  • Use laxatives sparingly. Your doctor may prescribe laxatives or enemas for a short period of time to help soften your stools. Never use laxatives for more than two weeks without talking to your doctor. Your body can become dependent on them for proper colon function.
  • Consider adding probiotics to your diet, like those found in yogurt and kefir with live active cultures. StudiesTrusted Source have shown that this dietary change can be helpful for those with chronic constipation.
  • Every day, drink 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of unsweetened, decaffeinated fluids, like water, to hydrate the body.
  • Limit consumption of alcohol and caffeinated drinks, which cause dehydration.
  • Add fiber-rich foods to your diet, such as raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, prunes, or bran cereal. Your daily intake of fiber should be between 20 and 35 grams.
  • Cut down on low-fiber foods, such as meat, milk, cheese, and processed foods.

Outlook for constipation?

Most instances of constipation are gentle and effectively treated with changes in diet and exercise. In case you’re encountering chronic constipation or constipation alongside other bowel changes, it’s significant that you converse with your primary care physician.

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