Monday, May 27, 2024

How To Relieve Chronic Constipation

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How Is Constipation Diagnosed

Foods for Constipation you MUST AVOID! The 3 Simple Steps to FIX Chronic Constipation

Your doctor will take a medical history and do a physical exam, most likely including a gentle rectal exam with a gloved finger. They will also likely prescribe a number of routine blood tests , as well as urine and stool tests. According to the Mayo Clinic, other diagnostic tests may include:

  • A sigmoidoscopy to examine the rectum and lower colon
  • A colonoscopy to examine the colon
  • Evaluating how well food passes through your colon with a colonic transit study
  • Taking an X-ray of the rectum during a bowel movement
  • A procedure known as MRI defecography

How Long Will I Need Treatment

IBS-C is chronic. Once youre diagnosed, youll likely deal with symptoms and need to treat it for the remainder of your life. An effective treatment plan eases symptoms, reduces the likelihood of flares, and helps you regain a sense of control over your day-to-day life.

If treatments for IBS-C are successful, you might only think about the condition from time to time. If treatments arent effective, you may find that you think about what you eat, how you feel, and what you can do to feel better entirely too much.

Unlike treatment for IBS-C, treatment for CIC may not be ongoing. CIC is recurring constipation. Periods of constipation may last for several weeks or months. After that time, symptoms stop, and your bowel movements could return to normal. Treatment may only be necessary when youre experiencing constipation or difficulty having a bowel movement.

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When To See A Doctor For Constipation

Most individuals have experienced some form of constipation in their lifetime. While constipation can go away on its own, it is helpful to know what can ease the discomfort of this common ailment. If home remedies for constipation or OTC products do not produce a bowel movement, an individual may need to seek medical attention. Untreated constipation can lead to an impacted bowel.

Constipation may be a symptom of a greater health concern, consult your doctor or healthcare professional if you have not had a bowel movement within a two- to three-week period of time. Furthermore, medical assistance may be needed if you are experiencing severe abdominal pain or concerning blood in the constipated stool. Ask your doctor about recommended home remedies for constipation and prevention of constipation in the future.

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Constipation Remedies And Treatments

Lifestyle Adjustments

  • Eat more fiber. Eating more fiber makes your stool more weighty, helping it to move through your intestines faster. It helps with constipation symptoms. It also lowers badLDL cholesterol levels, lowers the risk of colon cancer, and may help control blood sugar levels. High-fiber foods include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts. You can also take a fiber supplement to add more to your diet.
  • Exercise more. Exercise promotes healthy, regular digestion. Strong abdominal muscles play a role in improving your digestive process. Fitting in a bit of exercise every day may help your constipation symptoms.
  • Drink more water. Increasing your intake of liquids may improve constipation, especially when consumed in combination with a higher-fiber diet.
  • Avoid dairy products. Several studies show a connection between the consumption of dairy products and constipation. Some people believe this may occur in people with an intolerance to dairy, while others believe it has to do with certain components found in milk.

Take Laxatives

A laxative is a type of over-the-counter medicine that can help you with bowel movements. There are a few different options:

Use Enemas

You should use enemas for constipation only after trying other remedies.

Drink Coffee

Take Probiotics

Probiotics are supplements that introduce more good bacteria to the gut. This can help to balance the digestive system.

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Fiber Is Not Always The Answer

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If adding fiber to your diet in the form of food orsupplements makes you more bloated and blocked than before, there are a numberof potential reasons. For example, in slow transit constipation, a conditionwhere the bowel does not move things quickly through, fiber sits in your gut andcan make you feel worse.

Long story short: If fiber makes you worse, dont just addmore. See your doctor.

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Stop Taking Certain Medicines Or Dietary Supplements

If you think certain medicines or dietary supplements are causing your constipation, talk with your doctor. He or she may change the dose or suggest a different medicine that does not cause constipation. Dont change or stop any medicine or supplement without talking with a health care professional.

Weight Management And Satiety

Dietary fibers function as bulking agents in the digestive system. Bulking agents increase the feeling of fullness after eating, and protein has the same effect.

Feeling fuller for longer after eating can help reduce the appetite and lower a persons caloric intake.

Pulses, such as chickpeas, contain both insoluble and soluble fiber, which can delay stomach emptying and slow the rate at which digested food travels through the small intestine, according to a . This can help people feel fuller longer.

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When You Need To Poop But Cannot

Constipation is the medical term for not pooping regularly or finding it hard to poop. Other symptoms include feeling bloated, sick, or having a belly ache.

Constipation does not always have a clear cause. It often happens because a person is not eating enough fiber, drinking enough fluids, or exercising enough. Stress or a change in routine can also cause constipation, and it can be a side effect of some medications.

Traveling can mean that a person does not use the restroom at their usual times, hydrate regularly, or eat their typical diet. Planning bathroom breaks to try and maintain a routine may help.

Stress or anxiety about using a restroom outside of the home can prevent people from emptying their bowels. A person should try to relax, feel comfortable, and not rush.

Natural Constipation Remedies To Empty Your Bowels

Managing and Treating Chronic Constipation
  • Lemon juicea cleansing way to encourage bowel movements is to try taking a glass of water mixed with the juice of half a lemon before bed and when you wake up. You may want to drink with a straw as you could find your teeth becoming sensitive after a regular course of lemon water.
  • Olive oilconsuming a teaspoon of olive oil in the morning on an empty stomach can encourage stool to flow through the gut. The oil acts as a lubricant in the digestive system, meaning its easier for solids to slide through. It also softens up the stool, making it easier to empty your bowels completely.
  • Prune juice/dried prunesone of the more traditional remedies for constipation. Prune juice lacks the fibre of the dried fruit, but both are high in sorbitol content. Sorbitol passes through the gut undigested and draws water into the gut, which bulks up the stool and stimulates a bowel movement.
  • Stewed apricotsa flavoursome favourite to help relieve constipation. De-stone and chop a punnet of apricots in half. Put in a saucepan with 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar, add two tablespoons of water and turn to a low-medium heat. Stew until they begin to soften then take off the heat and leave with a lid on to cool. These are delicious for breakfast and go fantastically with yoghurt and granola.
  • Clear soups Naturally healthy, clear soups add moisture to stools, which can help to make them softer and bowel movements easier. Warm foods, such as soups, are also generally easier for the body to process.
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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.

    Exercise Gets Things Moving

    “Exercise will definitely help with constipation,” says Dr. Eichele. “In some cultures, people go for a walk after a meal. That activity stimulates the digestion process.”

    A 10- or 15-minute walk after a meal means your colon will get moving, too which is a healthy, normal response.

    If you’ve heard of “runner’s gut,” the same principle applies. “Long-distance runners can sometimes struggle with needing to go, due to an overactive colon,” says Dr. Eichele.

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    Mayo Clinic Q And A: Dealing With Chronic Constipation

    DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Is it safe to take a stool softener daily to prevent constipation? What are the side effects of doing so long-term?

    ANSWER: There currently isn’t any research that has examined the specific long-term side effects of taking a stool softener every day. While the risks associated with taking this kind of over-the-counter medication daily are not likely to be significant, it would be a good idea to talk with your health care provider about your symptoms. Although uncommon, an underlying health condition could be part of the problem.

    Constipation typically is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements a week or other symptoms . Chronic constipation refers to these symptoms when they last for several weeks or longer.

    Constipation is a common problem,and there are many types of laxatives available to help treat it. Stoolsofteners, also called emollients, work by drawing fluids into stools, which issupposed to make them softer. This may make it easier to have a bowel movementwithout straining.

    Over-the-counter stool softeners areeffective for some people. However, in controlled clinical trials, there is noevidence that they improve symptoms. While they only are intended forshort-term relief of constipation, using a daily stool softener long-termprobably is not harmful. But there are other ways to help relieve constipationthat often are successful.

    ****************************

    What Counts As Constipation Anyway

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    Its a myth that a daily bowel movement is essential to good health, Wald says. But having fewer than three bowel movements per week, excessive straining, a sense of not being finished, or having hard, lumpy stools are signals you may have constipation.

    About 15 percent of Americans suffer from the condition for months and even years, studies show. Women are three times as likely as men to experience constipation, and seniors are also at high risk.

    Occasional constipation is quite common, says Brian Lacy, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and co-editor in chief of The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Many patients note a change in their usual bowel habits when they change their daily routine, travel, change their diet , or reduce their level of activity.

    But for some people the condition becomes chronic, with uncomfortable symptoms lasting three months or longer.

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    What Is Chronic Constipation

    Constipation becomes chronic when it lasts for weeks to months. The different symptoms of constipation may mean different issues, and thus require different treatments, so you should be clear when describing your unique issues to your doctor.

    To clear up one common misconception among those used to having a clockwork bowel movement daily: it is entirely normal not to have a bowel movement every day. While having too few bowel movements can be a cause of discomfort, there is no physical need to move your bowels daily.

    There are two major types of constipation. The first is a sluggish movement of contents throughout the gastrointestinal tract. The second form of constipation happens closer to the exit, with difficulty getting bowel contents out due to problems with pelvic muscles. For the first form of constipation, treatment can include the addition of fiber via supplements or by increasing your fruit and vegetable consumption. The second form may need further evaluation, with imaging tests or procedures.

    What Causes Constipation

    Constipation in adults has many possible causes. Sometimes there’s no obvious reason.

    The most common causes include:

    • not eating enough fibre, which is found in fruits, vegetables and cereals
    • not drinking enough fluids
    • not moving enough and spending long periods sitting or lying down
    • being less active and not exercising
    • often ignoring the urge to go to the toilet
    • changing your diet or daily routine
    • a side effect of medicine
    • stress, anxiety or depression

    Constipation is also common during pregnancy and for 6 weeks after giving birth.

    Rarely, constipation may be caused by a medical condition.

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    Ask Your Vet About Over

    The following over-the-counter products may treat symptoms of constipation, but make sure to consult your veterinarian before giving any new supplements or medications to your cat.

    There are several types of laxatives that work in different ways. Most over-the-counter options work by causing the body to pull more water into the intestines, which helps soften the stool so its easier to pass.

    Because they pull water into the intestines, laxatives can make other symptoms worse for cats with underlying chronic diseases, causing dehydration. You should ask your vet if theyre a good option for your cat.

    Miralax is commonly used in cats with constipation, and Colace is also an option. Other laxatives that are designed for people can cause issues for cats.

    Oil- or grease-based laxatives like Laxatone should only be used if a vet recommends them and should not be used long-term, as they can affect a cats ability to absorb nutrients from their food.

    It May Boost Satiety And Aid Weight Loss

    How to Correct Your Constipation

    Fibers that form viscous compounds, including psyllium, can help control appetite and aid weight loss .

    Psyllium may aid appetite control by slowing down stomach emptying and reducing appetite. Decreased appetite and calorie intake may support weight loss.

    One study found that taking up to 10.2 g of psyllium before breakfast and lunch led to significant reductions in hunger, desire to eat, and increased fullness between meals compared to a placebo .

    Another older study from 2011 showed that psyllium supplementation on its own, as well as paired with a fiber-rich diet, resulted in a significant reduction of weight, body mass index, and percentage of body fat .

    That said, a 2020 review of 22 trials reported no overall effect of psyllium on body weight, BMI, or waist circumference (

    21 ).

    In one study, taking 5.1 g twice a day for 8 weeks resulted in a decrease in total and LDL cholesterol, as well as an increase in HDL levels in 49 people with type 2 diabetes .

    Interestingly, a review of 21 studies reported that reductions in total and LDL cholesterol are dose dependent. This means greater results were observed with treatments of 20.4 g of psyllium per day than 3.0 g per day .

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    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 .

    The cell phone app Headspace offers a free trial of guided mindfulness meditation sessions. There are also many resources online that teach how to practice mindfulness.

    When To Call Your Doctor

    Constipation can often be treated at home, but chronic constipation that interferes with quality of life warrants a visit to the doctor.

    Unresolved chronic constipation can result in fecal impaction. With impaction, the bowels cannot be evacuated just by the normal muscle contractions that push stool out of the body. Medical intervention is usually needed.

    Speak with your doctor if :

    • You have a fever, rectal bleeding or recent weight loss.
    • Your symptoms interfere with sleep.
    • You are frequently constipated and have a family history of bowel disease.
    • You can feel a lump or mass in your abdomen or rectum.
    • You are over 50 years old and chronic constipation is a new problem for you.
    • You have severe abdominal pain and vomiting.
    • You are not passing gas.

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    Medical Causes Of Constipation

    Constipation is sometimes symptomatic of underlying medical problems, such as:

    • Slow transit some people naturally pass motions less often than most people. It seems their bowel pacemaker may be less active. These individuals are more likely to become constipated with minor changes in their routine.
    • Hernia an abdominal hernia can reduce intra-abdominal pressure, which makes it more difficult to pass a motion.
    • Abdominal or gynaecological surgery a combination of change in routine, strange surroundings, post-operative pain and codeine-containing analgesics is a potent cause of constipation and often needs preventive care.
    • Irritable bowel syndrome characterised by abdominal pain, bloating, and either constipation or diarrhoea or alternating constipation and diarrhoea.
    • Problems of the endocrine system such as hypothyroidism, diabetes or hypopituitarism.
    • Tumour pain while trying to pass a stool could be a symptom of rectal cancer.
    • Diseases of the central nervous system such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons disease or stroke are associated with an increased susceptibility to constipation.

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