Digestion & Digestive Health - Constipation


Constipation is most often defined as having a bowel movement less than 3 times per week. It usually is associated with hard stools or difficulty passing stools. When the stool is infrequent, or requires significant effort to pass, you have constipation.You may have pain while passing stools or may be unable to have a bowel movement after straining or pushing for more than 10 minutes. Infants who are exclusively breastfed may go 7 days without a bowel movement. Almost everyone gets constipated at some time during his or her life. It affects approximately 2% of the population in the U.S. Women and the elderly are more commonly affected.

Though not usually serious, constipation can be a concern. Some constipation or intestinal blockage causes are due to not chewing your food, dehydration, insufficient fiber, fruit, vegetables and fluids in the diet, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) , lack of exercise, side effect of drugs, or pregnancy. Ignoring the call of nature to remove the bodies waste products, the muscular action in the colon moves the bowel waste in reverse. This action causes the building up or bulging of waste in the colon that weakens the walls. Eventually, this or long term constipation may cause cancer, colitis, diverticula disease, intestinal toxemia, over weight, prolapsed colon and ulcerations. Common causes of constipation are:

  • Not enough fiber in the diet
  • Lack of physical activity (especially in the elderly)
  • Medications
  • Milk
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Changes in life or routine such as pregnancy, aging, and travel
  • Abuse of laxatives
  • Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement
  • Dehydration
  • Specific diseases or conditions, such as stroke (most common)
  • Problems with the colon and rectum
  • Problems with intestinal function (chronic idiopathic constipation)
  • Not Enough Fiber in the Diet
  • People who eat a high-fiber diet are less likely to become constipated. The most common causes of constipation are a diet low in fiber or a diet high in fats, such as cheese, eggs, and meats.
  • Fiber—both soluble and insoluble—is the part of fruits, vegetables, and grains that the body cannot digest. Soluble fiber dissolves easily in water and takes on a soft, gel-like texture in the intestines. Insoluble fiber passes through the intestines almost unchanged. The bulk and soft texture of fiber help prevent hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass.
  • Not Enough Liquids
  • Research shows that although increased fluid intake does not necessarily help relieve constipation, many people report some relief from their constipation if they drink fluids such as water and juice and avoid dehydration. Liquids add fluid to the colon and bulk to stools, making bowel movements softer and easier to pass. People who have problems with constipation should try to drink liquids every day. However, liquids that contain caffeine, such as coffee and cola drinks will worsen one’s symptoms by causing dehydration. Alcohol is another beverage that causes dehydration. It is important to drink fluids that hydrate the body, especially when consuming caffeine containing drinks or alcoholic beverages. Other causes of constipation can be:
  • Lack of Physical Activity
  • Medications , Some medications can cause constipation, including
    • Pain medications (especially narcotics)
    • Antacids that contain aluminum and calcium
    • Blood pressure medications (calcium channel blockers)
    • Antiparkinson drugs
    • Antispasmodics
    • antidepressants
    • Iron supplements
    • Diuretics
    • Anticonvulsants
  • Changes in Life or Routine
  • Abuse of Laxatives
  • Ignoring the Urge to Have a Bowel Movement
  • Specific Diseases , Diseases that cause constipation include neurological disorders, metabolic and endocrine disorders, and systemic conditions that affect organ systems. These disorders can slow the movement of stool through the colon, rectum, or anus.

Symptoms of Constipations

Treatment of Constipation

Important Articles Explaining Constipation

.Article on by well known Gastroentrologist and nutritionist Dr. Anil Minocha (Read Authors Daily Constipation and Digestive Health News/Tips Here )

Constipation is a symptom, not a disease. In the absence of an identifiable cause, it is defined as occurrence of any two of the following symptoms for at least 3 months in the preceding one year:

  • Frequent straining
  • Hard, lumpy stools
  • Sense of incomplete evacuation
  • Frequent sense of rectal blockage
  • Use of manual procedures to facilitate defecation
  • Less than 3 stools per week.

Constipation accounts for 2.5 million physician visits each year. Americans spend about a billion dollars each year on laxatives alone. There is of course the additional cost of work-related absences, visits to the physician office and emergency room, diagnostic tests and the treatment undertaken. In many cases, fecal impaction is a significant factor in the removal of senior citizens from their loved ones to nursing homes. Continue to Read more about Constipation

Alternative Medicine & Natural Therapy to Avoid and/or Get Rid Of Constipation