Constipation Might Be Serious It Should Not Be Left Untreated
6 minute read
Although occasional constipation is very common, some people may experience chronic constipation that largely interferes with their daily tasks. Chronic constipation may also cause excessive straining and pain to have a bowel movement. More importantly, if it is overlooked and left untreated, it can eventually lead to serious complications such as hemorrhoids and anal fissure . Owning to relevant symptoms and complications considerably impair patients quality of life, being aware of warning signs of constipations contributes to appropriate and timely treatments.
Does Not Having Regular Bowel Movements Cause Toxins To Build Up In My Body And Make Me Sick
Dont worry, this usually isnt the case. Although your colon holds on to stool longer when you are constipated and you may feel uncomfortable, the colon is an expandable container for your waste. There is possibly a slight risk of a bacterial infection if waste gets into an existing wound in the colon or rectum.
Processed And Fried Foods
Fast food doesnât necessarily have a health halo around it, but hereâs one thing you might not know about your fave burger-and-fries combo: It could be the trigger behind your constipation, says Dr. Bedford.
Why? Processed foods tend to be high in fat and low in fiber, a combo that is rough on the colon, and can often slow down motility . If youâre not getting enough fiber in your diet outside of your fast-food meal, it can lead to constipation.
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Can I Prevent Constipation
In many cases, you can. These things can help:
Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fiber. Good sources are fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole-grain bread and cereal .
Drink 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of water and other fluids a day . Fiber and water work together to keep you regular.
Avoid caffeine. It can be dehydrating.
Cut back on milk. Dairy products can constipate some people.
Exercise regularly. Do something active for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge.
What Should I Expect When I Talk To My Doctor About My Constipation
Talking to your doctor or anyone about your bowel movements is not the most pleasant of topics. Know that your doctor is there for you. Doctors are trained health professionals who have discussed just about every health topic you can think of with their patients.
Your doctor will first ask you questions about your medical history, bowel movements, and your lifestyle and routines.
- What are your current and past diseases/health conditions?
- Have you lost or gained any weight recently?
- Have you had any previous digestive tract surgeries?
- What medications and supplements do you take for other disorders and for the relief of constipation?
- Does anyone in your family have constipation or diseases of the digestive tract or a history of colon cancer?
- Have you had a colonoscopy?
Bowel movement history
- How often do you have a bowel movement?
- What do your stools look like?
- Have you noticed any blood or red streaks in your stool?
- Have you ever seen blood in the toilet bowl or on the toilet paper after you wipe?
Lifestyle habits and routines
- What food and beverages do you eat and drink?
- What is your exercise routine?
Your doctor will also perform a physical exam, which includes a check of your vital signs . He or she will use a stethoscope to listen to the sounds in your abdomen. Your abdomen will also be touched to check for pain, tenderness, swelling, and lumps.
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Pharmacy First Scotland: Constipation Treatment From Your Pharmacy
Constipation isn’t usually serious and can be treated by a pharmacist. Your pharmacist may recommend that you contact your GP practice if required.
Also speak to your pharmacist if you think your child might be constipated. Laxatives are often recommended for children alongside diet and lifestyle changes.
You may be able to treat constipation yourself by making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle . If these changes don’t help and the problem continues, you should see your pharmacist.
However, you should see your GP for advice if:
- you notice any rectal bleeding
- you notice any unexplained weight loss
- you have persistent tiredness
- your constipation lasts longer than 14 days without improvement
Other Reasons Constipation Could Cause Your Diarrhea
While usually constipation and diarrhea are short bouts, be aware that certain underlying medical problems can also cause both constipation and diarrhea, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome , Irritable Bowel Disease and Crohns Disease. If you suspect a more serious problem, see your doctor.
Stop the D3 cycle before it stops you up, and dont let constipation cause diarrhea in your family.
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Where Should I Keep My Medicine
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C . Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
What Happens In Your Body When You’re Constipated
What does it mean to be “regular,” and what happens in your body when this occurs? I’m breaking down this common bathroom issue along with three of the most effective habits for prevention.
Each year approximately 2.5 million people in the United States see a doctor for constipation. While the frequency and severity of constipation varies greatly, the underlying cause is the same: waste product moving abnormally slow through the large intestine. The result is that bowel movements are less frequent and irregular.
But exactly what does it mean to be “regular,” and what happens in your body when this occurs? I’m breaking down this common bathroom issue along with three of the most effective habits for prevention.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Constipation
Different people have different bathroom habits. So someone who doesn’t have a bowel movement every day isn’t necessarily constipated. One person might go three times a day, while another might go once every 23 days.
But if you’re going less than you normally do, or if it’s often hard or painful to go, you might be constipated. A person with constipation might:
- feel full or bloated
- feel pain when making a bowel movement
- have to strain to make a bowel movement
- notice a little blood on the toilet paper
Is Incontinence More Common In Women
Incontinence is much more commonly seen in women than in men. A large part of this is because of pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. Each of these events in a womans life can lead to bladder control issues. Pregnancy can be a short-term cause of incontinence and the bladder control issues typically get better after the baby is born. Some women experience incontinence after delivery because of the strain childbirth takes on the pelvic floor muscles. When these muscles are weakened, youre more likely to experience leakage issues. Menopause causes your body to go through a lot of change. Your hormones change during menopause and this can alter your bladder control.
Men can also experience incontinence, but it isnt as common as it is in women.
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Causes And Risk Factors Of Constipation
The GI tract, which consists of a series of hollow organs stretching from your mouth to your anus, is responsible for digestion, nutrient absorption, and waste removal.
In your lower GI tract, your large intestine, or bowel which includes your colon and rectum absorbs water from your digested food, changing it from a liquid to a solid .
Constipation occurs when digested food spends too much time in your colon.
It can also occur when your colon absorbs too much water, making your stool hard and dry and difficult for your rectal muscles to push out of your body.
A wide range of factors can lead to constipation. According to the NIDKK, these include:
- Delayed emptying of the colon caused by pelvic floor disorders and colon surgery
- Gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome
- Certain medicines and dietary supplements, including antacids that contain aluminum calcium supplements anticholinergics and antispasmodics anticonvulsants, which are used to prevent seizures calcium channel blockers diuretics iron supplements medications used to treat Parkinsons disease certain pain medications and antidepressants
Other lifestyle-related causes of constipation include:
- Not eating enough fiber
What Is Constipation Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint, resulting in 2.5 million doctor visits annually. Generally, a person is considered constipated when they have fewer than three bowel movements a week, or their stool is difficult to pass. In total, about 16 percent of the population experience constipation symptoms, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases .
While constipation is uncomfortable , its considered a symptom rather than a disease in itself.
Its also important to know that normal bowel habits can differ from person to person some people may pass stool three times a day others three times a week.
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What Causes A Large Bowel Obstruction
People of all ages and genders can get large bowel obstructions.
In children younger than three, a disorder called intussusception may cause blockages. In children with this problem, one segment of the intestine collapses inside another segment . The collapsed segments can block the bowel and blood flow.
Up to half of adults who develop a large bowel obstruction have colorectal cancer. A cancerous tumor causes the blockage.
Other causes of bowel obstructions in adults include:
Can Constipation Be Prevented Or Avoided
There are things you can do to reduce constipation. These include:
- Add more fiber to your diet. Adults should eat between 20-35 grams of fiber each day. Foods, such as beans, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are high in fiber.
- Drink more water. Being dehydrated causes your stool to dry out. This makes having a bowel movement more difficult and painful.
- Dont wait. When you have the urge to have a bowel movement, dont hold it in. This causes the stool to build up.
- Get physical. Exercise is helpful in keeping your bowel movements regular.
- Beware of medicines. Certain prescription medicines can slow your digestive system. This causes constipation. Talk to your doctor about how to prepare for this if you need these medicines.
- Talk to your doctor if you are being treated for certain diseases that are related to constipation. He or she may have additional guidance for lowering your risks.
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How To Prevent Constipation
There are various things you can do to help keep your bowels healthy and avoid becoming constipated. If you are in any doubt, consult your GP or Healthcare Professional before making significant changes to your regular diet. A dietitian will also be able to guide you.
- As a general rule, eating more high-fibre foods can prevent constipation. However, if constipation is a result of Colitis or Crohns disease, increasing fibre intake could have a detrimental effect
- There are two different types of fibre soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre dissolves in the intestines to form a gel type substance. This helps food move along the digestive tract. Insoluble fibre is not dissolvable and moves through the intestines without being absorbed. This fibre adds bulk to bowel movements and helps to reduce constipation
- Make sure you drink lots of fluids to keep the stools moist e.g. at least 1.5-2 litres of water based drinks per day
- If you are taking any medicines ask your doctor or chemist if they could be adding to your constipation. If possible, try to remove constipating medications
- If really necessary, try using a fibre supplement such as fybogel and possibly suppositories or mini-enemas to help regularise the bowels, but they should not be used long term. Some foods can act as natural laxative for some people, these include prunes, figs, liquorice, coffee/tea, spicy food
- If possible, increase your physical activity as this helps to increase bowel activity
A Lot Goes On Inside Your Body When Youre Constipated
When youre having a cup of coffee with your neighbour, your bowel movement is probably the last thing youre talking about. Its not a very comfortable topic of discussion, but of course, everyone has constipation every now and then. Want to know what it is that happens to your body when youre feeling constipated? Were here to explain it all.
Dr Carolyn Newberry explains to Bustle six things that happen to your body when youre experiencing constipation. can affect the way other parts of your body function and feel, she explains.
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Are There Any Medical Conditions That Can Cause Constipation
Some of the more common medical conditions that cause constipation include endocrine problems, such as decreased function of the thyroid gland or diabetes. Colorectal cancer is another medical condition that can cause constipation but it usually also accompanied by other symptoms including blood in
What Are The Symptoms Of Incontinence
The main symptom of incontinence is a leakage of urine. This could be a constant dripping of urine or an occasional experience of leakage. If you have incontinence, you might have large amounts or small amounts of leaked urine. You might experience leakage for a wide variety of reasons often depending on the type of incontinence you have.
You might leak urine when you:
- Have an urge to urinate, but cant make it to the toilet on time.
- Have to get up in the middle of night to urinate .
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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.
What Do You Do If Your Really Constipated
Take these steps:
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What Is A Large Bowel Obstruction
A large bowel obstruction is a blockage that keeps gas or stool from passing through the body. An intestinal blockage can occur anywhere in the large intestine.
The large bowel obstruction may block the bowel completely or partially. A blocked intestine may rupture, causing a life-threatening infection.
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Why did I get a large bowel obstruction?
- What is the best treatment for a large bowel obstruction?
- Am I at risk for another large bowel obstruction?
- How can I prevent another large bowel obstruction?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
A large bowel obstruction is a serious medical emergency. Not all bowel blockages require surgery. But you still need to be in the hospital. There, your healthcare provider can treat dehydration and drain excess fluid. This care can prevent more serious problems. Most surgically treated bowel blockages improve, resulting in normal bowel function afterward.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/21/2020.
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What Are The Complications Of Going Too Long Without Pooping
Researchers have discovered that not pooping affects not only the digestive system, but also the body as a whole. Some of the complications associated with going too long without pooping include:
- Fecal impaction. A fecal impaction is a hard piece or pieces of stool that make the stool extremely difficult to pass. You may have to seek medical attention for the stool to be removed.
- Bowel perforation. If excess stool backs up in the intestines, it could put too much pressure on the intestines. This can cause the intestines to perforate or tear. The stool can spill into the abdominal cavity and cause severe and often life-threatening symptoms because stool is acidic and contains bacteria.
- Increased risks for cardiovascular events. Chronic constipation is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events, such as a heart attack. Doctors think that chronic constipation increases stress and inflammation in the body that affects the heart. However, its important to note that this doesnt mean all people with constipation problems are going to have heart problems, just that the risk could be greater.
If you havent pooped in a week or more, its important to seek medical attention to avoid severe complications.
What Are The Complications Of Large Bowel Obstruction
A bowel blockage can stop blood flow, causing part of the intestine to die. As pressure builds up from the blockage, intestinal bacteria can leak into the bloodstream.
You may develop peritonitis, an abdominal infection. You are also at risk for a life-threatening system-wide infection called .
Your healthcare provider may surgically remove a segment of dead intestine. In that case, you may need a colostomy. With a colostomy, poop empties into a sealed bag outside your body.
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