Evolution has developed an excellent coordination among the internal organ systems of living being for the proper functioning of their body. Any abnormality in one system often affects the other and symptom is displayed. One such symptom of other diseases is the Constipation that is results from multiple reasons in the body. It is the decrease in the frequency of bowel movements, difficulty in passing stools often accompanied by lower abdominal pain. Various causes have been associated with constipation that range from decreased intake of fluids in diet to mechanical issues and obstructions of intestines.
Symptoms of Constipation:
There is broad range of symptoms associated with the constipation. A patient may display symptoms of constipation depending on his or her bowel habits, diet, and age. Some of the common problems linked with constipation are:
- Infrequent excretory pattern and difficulty in passage of stool and bowel movement.
- Passing hard stool after prolonged straining
- Patients of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) exhibits campy abdominal pain, excessive gas (flatulence), bloating and infrequent bowel habits
- Patients of intestinal obstruction exhibits nausea, vomiting, absence of a bowl movement and inability to pass gas
- Patients of Distended abdomen exhibits headaches and loss of appetite
Causes of Constipation:
Constipation may result from several causes including a poor diet, poor bowel habits, or problems in elimination of stool, whether physical, functional, or voluntary. The following are some of the most common causes of constipation.
Constipation and Diet:
The most common cause of constipation in the patients has been associated with improper diet. Poor dietary habits, diet rich in animal fat, high protein diet, refined sugars, Low fiber diet accompanied with inadequate fluid intake results in constipation and dry stool. Consumption of alcohol and caffeine rich diet induces excessive urination consequently leading to dehydration. This results in constipation if adequate fluid intake is absent.
Constipation and Poor Lifestyle:
Poor bowel movement habits and ignoring the desire to pass the stool may cause a cycle of irregular bowel movement that result in constipation conditions. The habitual pattern develops in the body where the patient may stop feeling the desire to pass the stool for longer duration. This leads to progressive constipation
Medications That Cause Constipation:
Allopathic medicines have been associated with side effects one of which is constipation. Some of the common medications that may result in constipation are Antispasmodic drugs, Anticonvulsant drugs, Diuretics, Antacids containing aluminum hydroxide and calcium carbonate, Iron tablets Antidepressants etc
Laxative abuse causes Constipation:
OTC medicines have been used as laxatives for treating constipation. Excessive use of these laxatives may develop habitual dependence on laxatives. A tolerance may be develop for which patient may require stronger dose of allopathic laxatives drugs which is harmful. In certain cases the bowel may become insensitive to laxatives resulting in failure of bowel moment.
Constipation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS, Spastic Colon):
Digestive disorders like IBS often change the bowel function. Constipation may result with crampy abdominal pain, excessive gas, flatulence and bloating.
Constipation due to Intestinal obstruction:
Multiple reasons have been associated to cause mechanical compression and interference. Various other diseases have been linked to cause such obstruction in the gut that causes constipation. A few examples are Intestinal cancers, abdominal hernia, volvulus, Intussusception, Twits in intestines, Inflammatory adhesions and joining together of tissues in intestines, Gallstones, swallowed foreign bodies, Postoperative adhesions, Crohn’s disease – an inflammatory bowel disease causes scarring and inflammation if intestines etc.
Mechanical problems of the anus and rectum
Cases have been observed where constipation results due to malfunctioning of the lower digestive system. The bottom part of colon involved in rectal pushing does not function properly resulting in constipation.
Constipation and Nervous Damage within the intestine:
Multiple sclerosis, Injuries and Tumors of Spinal cord, may produce constipation by interfering with the function of the nerves supplying the intestine.
Constipation and Pregnancy:
Constipation is very common during pregnancy and several factors contribute to cause constipation in pregnancy which may result in pain on defecation, sphincter muscle reflex spasm in anus and delay bowel movement. The factors may include mechanical pressure on the bowel by the heavy womb, Hormonal changes during pregnancy, changes in food and fluid intake, Anal fissure, painful hemorrhoids, Iron in prenatal vitamins etc.
Constipation and hormonal Imbalance:
Poor-functioning of the thyroid gland reduces the production of thyroxin hormone that cause hypothyroidism can result in constipation.
Diet Changes, Home and Natural Remedies for Constipation:
- Fiber: it is advisable to increase the intake of fiber or bulk in the diet. Dietary intake and fiber supplement with sufficient water helps in constipation.
- Exercise:Bowel health can be improved with regular physical activity. Daily exercise may activate bowel movements.
- Hydration:Increasing the fluid intake, especially water and fruit juices in addition to beverages with meals aids in constipation relief.
- Alcohol and Caffeine:Decrease alcohol intake and caffeinated beverages, including coffee, tea, or cola drinks. This will help in constipation.
- Bowel Hygiene:Following a routine for bowel clearance and allow enough time as not to strain while having a bowel movement helps in avoiding constipation.