Overview Of Constipation Treatment
If a medication or a medical condition is the cause of constipation, eliminating the offending medication or treating the underlying medical condition may relieve the constipation. However, certain conditions require the use of a medication despite its side effects. Although opioid therapy almost always causes some degree of constipation, individual opioids induce constipation to different degrees. One study16 found that fentanyl was less likely to cause constipation than oral morphine. In most cases, a prophylactic laxative should be considered when prescribing chronic opioid therapy because tolerance to the constipating effects of opioids does not develop over time.
When no secondary cause of constipation is identified, empiric treatment should be tried initially for functional constipation. Management should begin with nonpharmacologic methods to improve bowel regularity and should proceed to the use of laxatives if nonpharmacologic methods are not successful. If the constipation is refractory to medical treatment, the patient should be referred to a specialist for further diagnostic evaluation. This may include measurement of colonic transit time, anorectal manometry, defecography, or a balloon expulsion test to assess colonic transit and anorectal function. In rare cases, biofeedback therapy or surgery may be warranted.14
Why Does This Technique Cause Constipation Relief
This breathing remedy increases brain and body oxygen content. When you get increased alveolar and arterial CO2 levels, CO2 will dilate arteries and arterioles. CO2 is the most potent dilator of arteries and arterioles.
Hence, it causes easing the spasm and providing more oxygen for cells. Over 90% of people can stop constipation with this exercise in 1-2 minutes.
This YouTube video provides the same exercise to relieve constipation fast: Constipation Remedies: Relief in 1 Min.
How Do We Empty The Large Intestine
Three methods are commonly used to empty the large intestine:
Enemas push fluid into the rectum. This softens the stool in the rectum but also stretches the rectum, giving the child a tremendous urge to pass a bowel movement. Almost all enemas consist mostly of water with something else mixed in to keep the water inside the intestine. The most commonly used enemas are:
- Fleets® Phosphosoda: contain water and the salt sodium-phosphate. The phosphate is not absorbed in the lower intestine and thus keeps the water from the enema in the intestine.
- Soap suds: contain water with a small amount of soap. The soap is mildly irritating and stimulates the lower intestine to secrete water and salt.
- Milk and Molasses: contain milk sugars and proteins as well as molasses. None of these are absorbed in the lower intestine and thus keep the water from the enema in the intestine.
Suppositories irritate the bottom of the intestine, causing it to contract and push out a bowel movement. Some suppositories also stimulate the intestine to secrete salt and water, softening the stool in the rectum and making it easier to push out. Commonly used suppositories include:
Powerful Laxatives flush out the lower intestine. This generally keeps lots of water in the intestine, softening any stool there, and causing diarrhea. Laxatives commonly used to flush out the intestine include:
- Magnesium citrate
- Miralax® or Glycolax®
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Home Remedies For Constipation Relief
Dietary changes, drinking water, exercise, and taking supplements are among the natural ways to relieve symptoms of constipation. Identifying the factors contributing to constipation can help you decide which remedies are best. A combination of the following remedies may be necessary to treat the problem.
What Is New In The Treatment Of Constipation
Each part of the intestine has a network of nerves that controls its muscles. A great deal of research is being done in order to gain an understanding of how these nerves control each other and ultimately the muscles. Much of this research involves the study of neurotransmitters. This research is allowing scientists to develop drugs that stimulate the various nerves of the colon which, in turn, cause the muscles of the colon to contract and propel the colonic contents. Such drugs have great potential to treat constipation that is due to colonic inertia. The first of these drugs approved for use is prucalopride. These drugs are an exciting development because they offer a new treatment for a difficult-to-treat cause of constipation.
Nevertheless, there are many questions about these types of drugs that must be answered. How effective are they? Will they work in many or only a few patients? Will they work in patients who have damaged their nerves with stimulant products? Since these medications are likely to be used for a lifetime, how safe will they be with many years of use? Will they be used indiscriminately in situations for which simple treatments or more appropriate treatments should be used?
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Further Information On Constipation Relief
If you do notice a change, and it continues for an extended period of time despite dietary changes, you should see your GP or healthcare professional to find out if there is anything they can suggest to help relieve your constipation.
You may also find it helpful to read the resources below, to help you manage your bowel movements.
Increase Dietary Fibre For Constipation Relief
Fibre acts like a pipe cleaner, scrubbing food and waste particles from your digestive tract and soaking up water. It adds bulk to your stool, giving the muscles of your GI tract something to grab on to, so they can keep food moving along. The Mayo Clinic suggests aiming for 20 to 35 grams of fibre a day to stay regular. Foods particularly high in fibre include bran cereals, beans, lentils, oatmeal, almonds, barley, many vegetables, and fresh and dried fruits. All of these things can be home remedies for constipation. If youre constipated and taking in additional fibre, be sure to drink more water than usual to keep your stool soft and easy to pass.
Check out these painless ways to increase your dietary fibre.
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Megacolon Problems Worsening In Women
Although megacolon occurs in both men and women, the instances of women with constipation, impacted feces, and megacolon are quickly catching and will soon surpass men. Megacolons sometimes result from unknown causes, where the colon becomes progressively larger. Its the most prevalent type of acquired Megacolon leading to feeling uncomfortable, and the frequently difficult to deal with, severe constipation.
When impacted, the colon becomes so distended that it extends into the abdominal cavity, leading to the frequent feelings of abdominal pain and bloating. The chronic constipation can also extend into the small intestine and the large intestine , causing significant diarrhea, malabsorption, and weight loss. In severe cases, the pain from Megacolon can even extend into the chest, causing extreme pain and difficulty breathing. The cause of the Megacolon is usually an underlying condition, such as chronic infections, inflammatory bowel disease, or cancer.
How Does Constipation Happen
Constipation happens because your colon absorbs too much water from waste , which dries out the stool making it hard in consistency and difficult to push out of the body.
To back up a bit, as food normally moves through the digestive tract, nutrients are absorbed. The partially digested food that remains moves from the small intestine to the large intestine, also called the colon. The colon absorbs water from this waste, which creates a solid matter called stool. If you have constipation, food may move too slowly through the digestive tract. This gives the colon more time too much time to absorb water from the waste. The stool becomes dry, hard, and difficult to push out.
Pathway of food waste through colon, rectum and anus.
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How Do You Prevent Constipation
You can reduce your chances of getting constipation by:
- Consuming adequate amounts of fiber
- Include plenty of high-fiber foods in your diet, including beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grain cereals, and bran
Instant Home Remedies For Constipation
Diet and Lifestyle modifications may help in relieving symptoms of constipation.
- Stick to the schedule of going to the bathroom at the same time every day
- Add fiber to the diet: Fiber absorbs water and swells, thereby adding bulk to the stool. Total dietary fiber intake should be 25 to 30 grams a day from food
- Have a bowl of 1 or 2 fiber-rich fresh fruits every day. Fruits are extremely rich in water content, vitamins, minerals and digestive enzymes that may help in relieving and preventing constipation
- Citrus fruits: Oranges, Sweet lime
*Note: Drink plenty of fluids when increasing fiber intake as it absorbs water.
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What Are The Causes Of Constipation
Medicines: Over the counter or prescription medicines often carry a side effect of constipation. If symptoms began after starting one of these drugs, ask your doctor to see if there are any alternatives. Please see Guts UK information on Opioid Induced Constipation for more information.
Emotion: there is a strong connection between feelings and how the gut works. This is called the gut brain connection, the gut and brain talk to each other, normal signals involve feeling hungry or getting butterflies Sometimes the brain and gut overshare information. Being upset or depressed can make the bowel slow down or speed up. Emotional upsets, even in childhood, may result in functional constipation many years later.
Disturbed eating behaviour: eating disorders and sustained periods of erratic eating can result in constipation, even if eating behaviour returns to normal.
Ignoring the natural urges to open bowels: ignoring bowel urges because of an aversion to public toilets or time or social constraints can result in changes to both how the bowel muscles work and the pattern of bowel opening.
Excessive straining: this can be because of difficulty co-ordinating the muscles that empty the bowel.
Irregular mealtimes reduced liquid intake and reduced physical activity: these can all worsen symptoms in people with a tendency towards constipation.
Pain, or fear of pain, on passing stools.
- Bleeding in the stool
- or rectal pain
Lower Stress With Mindfulness Meditation
The brain and the digestive tract are so closely linked that researchers have coined the term gut-brain axis.
Digestive symptoms like constipation can lead to anxiety and psychological stress. In turn, stress strongly affects the gut.
Chronic stress is known to modify the gut microbiota and to alter nerve action in the intestines .
Psychological stress influences the gut both directly and indirectly. Availability of coping mechanisms and social support helps determine severity of symptoms and impact on quality of life. Click to enlarge. Image source.
Its important to manage stress, both for overall health and to ease digestive symptoms.
Mindfulness meditation has shown particular promise in reducing IBS symptoms .
In one high-quality study, IBS patients who received online mindfulness training reported a 42% reduction in symptoms at 3 months. By contrast, IBS patients who had access to an online discussion forum reported a 12% increase in symptoms .
The study also showed that the benefits of mindfulness training appear to be long-lasting. Participants who completed all mindfulness training sessions reported sustained benefits 1518 months after the study ended, even without seeking additional treatment .
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Treating Constipation During Pregnancy
Constipation is a common problem in late pregnancy because of the rising level of circulating progesterone, which slows gastrointestinal motility. A Cochrane review45 found two randomized trials for treating constipation in pregnancy. The findings suggest that fiber supplements increase the number of bowel movements and lead to softer stools. Although stimulant laxatives are more effective than bulk-forming laxatives, they also are more likely to cause diarrhea and abdominal pain.45 Therefore, women who are pregnant should be encouraged to add more fiber to their diet if constipation persists, a stimulant laxative may be recommended.
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Dont Be Shy About Discussing Your Severe Constipation
When you areexperiencing severe constipation, you are not alone. Frequent chronic constipation is not only common, but its treatable. Most people have probably had constipation at some point in their lives. On the other hand, symptoms may gradually appear in certain people over time.
Having severe constipation is a tough experience. Not only do you have to frequently deal with the discomfort and the inconvenience of being unable to poop in the bathroom, but you also have to face the fact that you have a condition that isnt well understood by most people. It can be especially difficult to talk about your constipation with other people if its causing you great discomfort or if its impacting your life in other ways. But the first step towards you getting better is to be open and honest about your condition.
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Home Remedies To Treat Severe Constipation
Severe constipation is a problem that has affected everyone at some point in their lives. This happens more often when you become an adult.
Constipation can appear because you:
- Dont eat a balanced diet thats full of grains of flours and fats
- Dont eat enough fiber
- Drink very little water
- Dont exercise on a regular basis
- Take certain medications
Besides causing the inability to use the restroom correctly due to hard stool, this problem also encourages the appearance of:
- Gas and cramps
- Constant pain in your abdominal and rectal area
Constipation isnt considered a huge problem. But, it should be treated before it damages the nerves in your intestines and they forget how to move your stool.
It Seems To Be Good For The Heart
All types of fiber can be good for the heart. The American Heart Association say that dietary fiber can improve cholesterol, and lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity .
Water soluble fibers, including psyllium, could help reduce blood triglycerides, blood pressure, and the risk of heart disease .
A review of 28 trials found that taking a median of 10.2 g psyllium per day could effectively improve markers of heart health, including lowering LDL cholesterol. This can helps reduce the risk of heart disease .
A 2020 review of 11 trials reported that psyllium could reduce systolic blood pressure by 2.04 millimeters of mercury . The authors recommend using psyllium to help treat hypertension .
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This Factsheet Is About Constipation
Constipation is a symptom that can mean different things to different people, but the usual meaning is that a person has difficulty or infrequency with opening their bowels. Constipation affects around 1 in 7 otherwise healthy people. The two groups of people most likely to be trouble by constipation are young women and the elderly especially those who need to take regular medicines.
There is a common belief that people need to open their bowels every day, but this is not the case. Opening the bowels can vary between three times a day to three times a week in healthy individuals. Symptoms can constantly fluctuate and 3 people in every 100 adults have persistent constipation over 20 years. It is a common problem and does not usually mean that anything is seriously wrong. Most cases are temporary and will clear up with simple lifestyle measures.
Medical Treatment For Constipation
If over-the-counter treatments donât do the job, your doctor may prescribe a different kind of medication.
Prescription laxatives such as linaclotide, lubiprostone, and plecanatide work by increasing the amount of water in your intestines and speeding up the movement of stool. Note that Amitiza is approved for use only in women.
Serotonin 5-hydroxytryptamine 4 receptors. Prucalopride is a powerful stimulant thatâs used for chronic constipation without a known cause.
PAMORAs. This is a shorter way of saying âperipherally acting mu-opioid receptor antagonists.â These work on constipation thatâs caused by opioid pain medicines. These drugs include methylnaltrexone and naloxegol
Surgery for constipation treatment
Sometimes constipation is caused by a structural problem in your colon or rectum. Your colon may be blocked or unusually narrow, or you may have a partial collapse or a bulge in the wall of your rectum. In that case, surgery can correct the problem.
Surgery may also be a last resort if your colon just works too slowly and treatments havenât helped. You may need to have a section of your colon removed.
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What Types Of Laxatives Treat Constipation
Lubricant laxatives contain mineral oil as either the plain oil or an emulsion of the oil. The oil stays within the intestine, coats the particles of stool, and presumably prevents the removal of water from the material. This retention of water results in the softer stool. Mineral oil generally is used only for short-term treatment since its long-term use has several potential disadvantages. The oil can absorb fat-soluble vitamins from the intestine and, if used for prolonged periods, may lead to deficiencies of these vitamins. This is of particular concern in pregnancy during which an adequate supply of vitamins is important for the fetus. In the very young or very elderly in whom the swallowing mechanism is not strong or is impaired by strokes, small amounts of the swallowed oil may enter the lungs and cause a type of pneumonia called lipidpneumonia. Mineral oil also may decrease the absorption of some drugs such as warfarin and oral contraceptives, thereby decreasing their effectiveness. Despite these potential disadvantages, mineral oil can be effective when short-term treatment is necessary.
Hyperosmolar laxatives may be digested by colonic bacteria and turned into gas, which may result in unwanted abdominal bloating and flatulence. This effect is dose-related and less with polyethylene glycol. Therefore, gas can be reduced by reducing the dose of