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 . See how prebiotic supplements can help ease digestion.
Drink 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of water and other fluids a day . Fiber and water work together to keep you regular.
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.
Research And Statistics: Who Gets Constipation And The Toll It Takes
The major risk factors for chronic constipation are being female and being elderly, according to a 2015 study published in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging. Other studies suggest that constipation seems to be getting more common. A February 2014 study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that from 1997 to 2010, the incidence of constipation among patients released from a hospital stay more than doubled, from 21,190 patients to 48,450.
Besides being a drain on well-being, constipation is also a drain on the medical system: In a study in the same journal published in April 2015, researchers found that between 2006 and 2011, the frequency of constipation-related emergency room visits increased by 41.5 percent, from 497,034 visits to 703,391 visits, while the average cost for each patient rose by 56.4 percent, from $1,474 in 2006 to $2,306 in 2011.
Chronic constipation may lead to other difficult issues, as well. According to an article published in March 2019 in the American Journal of Managed Care, people with constipation typically have poorer general health, mental health, and social functioning compared with those without. No wonder, since the average person suffering from constipation without a cause has to try approximately four over-the-counter and two prescription medications before settling on a treatment that works.
Alternative And Complementary Therapies
While there are few high-quality studies showing that alternative therapies can effectively treat constipation, a 2015 review of studies published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that acupuncture and herbal treatments like psyllium can make a difference.
RELATED: What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Don’t Miss: Omeprazole For Ibs
Diarrhea & Constipation Spiritual Meaning Causes Symptoms Prevention
Diarrhea is an increase in the looseness of stool, an increase in the frequency of bowel movements or both.
It may be either chronic or acute, and each has different treatments and causes.
Diarrhea that lasts less than 14 days is termed acute diarrhea . Chronic diarrhea lasts longer than 30 days.
The average American adult experiences diarrhea four times a year.
Children usually have 7 to 15 cases of diarrhea by the time they reach age 5.
Worldwide, there are over 2 billion cases of diarrheal disease every year. More importantly, about 2 million children under the age of 5 years die from diarrhea.
What Prescription Drugs Treat Constipation
Lubiprostone is a selective chloride channel activator that increases secretion of chloride ions from the cells of the intestinal lining into the intestinal. Sodium ions and water then follow the chloride ions into the lumen, and the water softens the stool. At a dose of 24 micrograms twice a day, lubiprostone significantly and promptly increased bowel movements, improved stool consistency, and decreased straining. The most common side effect of initial clinical studies was mild to moderate nausea in 32% of patients treated with lubiprostone, compared to 3% of the controls.
Linaclotide is an oral drug that is not absorbed from the intestine. It stimulates the cells lining the small intestine to secrete fluid into the intestine. The increase in fluid secretion leads to an increased number of bowel movements. In addition, when it is associated with the abdominal pain of IBS, the pain also is reduced. Although the improvement in pain may be due to the improvement, linaclotide has been shown also to reduce the sensitivity of intestinal pain nerves, and this mechanism of action also may account for the decrease in pain.
The only common side effect of linaclotide is diarrhea. It should not be used in children below the age of six because of serious toxicity to very young mice in animal studies, and should be avoided in children ages six through 17.
Miscellaneous drugs to treat constipation
Recommended Reading: Almond Milk Cause Bloating
How Can Constipation Affect You
Although people often worry about it, there is no reason to believe that constipation causes a poisoning of the system. It can cause feelings of sluggishness and bloating, but there is no evidence that bugs or toxins leak from the bowel into any other part of the body. Another common idea is that constipation may lead to cancer but there is no evidence that long-term constipation increases the chances of getting bowel cancer.
It is important to remember that the vast majority of cases of constipation are easily resolved with simple diet, lifestyle or medication change. However if constipation does not respond to different treatments there can be medium to long term effects including:
- Haemorrhoids or fissures: bleeding from haemorrhoids, or more rarely a fissure at the anus, is the commonest complication of constipation.
- Rectal prolapse: chronic straining can lead to the rectal wall protruding out through the anus.
- Faecal impaction: elderly or immobile patients may get so badly constipated that they quite literally get bunged up and this will need prompt treatment by either the GP or hospital.
- Diverticular disease: this is where small hard stools lead to increased intestinal contractions, creating pressure which causes the inner section of the intestine to bulge through the protective outer tube of muscle which surrounds it, creating a little pouch of intestine .
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.
Recommended Reading: Zoloft And Probiotics
What Causes Obstipation In Children
Children are prone to obstipation too. It is primarily because of their diet and trying to withhold the stool to avoid pain. Those children who lack fiber in their diet and do not have sufficient intake of water are prone to obstipation. Congenital and neurological diseases can also increase the possibility of having obstipation.
When Should I Seek Medical Care For Chronic Constipation
If the main problem is straining to push the stool out, chronic constipation should probably be evaluated early. This difficulty might be due to pelvic floor dysfunction, and the treatment of choice is biofeedback training, not laxatives. If it is not responding to the simple measures discussed previously with the addition of hyperosmolar products or milk of magnesia, it is time to consult a physician for an evaluation. If a primary doctor is not comfortable performing the evaluation or does not have confidence in doing an evaluation, he or she should refer the patient to a gastroenterologist. Gastroenterologists evaluate constipation frequently and are very familiar with the diagnostic testing described previously.
Read Also: How To Cure Diarrhea While Pregnant
What Otc Laxatives Treat Constipation
Saline laxatives contain non-absorbable ions such as magnesium, sulfate, phosphate, and citrate [for example, magnesium citrate , magnesium hydroxide, sodium phosphate). These ions remain in the colon and cause water to be drawn into the colon. Again, the effect is softened feces.
Magnesium also may have mild stimulatory effects on the colonic muscles. The magnesium in magnesium-containing products is partially absorbed from the intestine and into the body. Magnesium is eliminated from the body by the kidneys. Therefore, patients with impaired kidney function may develop toxic levels of magnesium from chronic use of magnesium-containing products.
Saline laxatives act within a few hours. In general, potent saline products should not be used on a regular basis. If major diarrhea develops with the use of saline products and the lost fluid is not replaced by the consumption of liquids, dehydration may result. The most frequently-used and mildest of the saline products is milk of magnesia. Epsom Salt is a more potent saline laxative that contains magnesium sulfate.
Stimulant laxatives cause the muscles of the small intestine and colon to propel their contents more rapidly. They also increase the amount of water in it, either by reducing the absorption of the water in the colon or by causing active secretion of water in the small intestine.3
Can Constipation Cause Internal Damage Or Lead To Other Health Problems
There are a few complications that could happen if you dont have soft, regular bowel movements. Some complications include:
- Swollen, inflamed veins in your rectum .
- Tears in the lining of your anus from hardened stool trying to pass through .
- An infection in pouches that sometimes form off the colon wall from stool that has become trapped and infected
- A pile-up of too much stool/poop in the rectum and anus .
- Damage to your pelvic floor muscles from straining to move your bowels. These muscles help control your bladder. Too much straining for too long a period of time may cause urine to leak from the bladder .
Recommended Reading: Heartburn Peanut Butter
Medical Definition Of Constipation
- Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Reviewed on 3/29/2021
Constipation: Infrequent and frequently incomplete bowel movements. Constipation is the opposite of diarrhea and is commonly caused by irritable bowel syndrome , diverticulosis, and medications. Paradoxically, constipation can also be caused by overuse of laxatives. Colon cancer can also narrow the colon and thereby cause constipation. A high-fiberdiet can frequently relieve constipation. If the diet is not helpful, medical evaluation is warranted.
What Are The Symptoms Of Constipation
Symptoms of constipation include:
- You have fewer than three bowel movements a week.
- Your stools are dry, hard and/or lumpy.
- Your stools are difficult or painful to pass.
- You have a stomach ache or cramps.
- You feel bloated and nauseous.
- You feel that you havent completely emptied your bowels after a movement.
Recommended Reading: Can Turmeric Supplements Cause Diarrhea
When Should I Call My Doctor
- Constipation is a new problem for you.
- You see blood in your stool.
- You are losing weight unintentionally.
- You have severe pain with bowel movements.
- Your constipation has lasted more than three weeks.
- You have symptoms of outlet dysfunction constipation.
Remember, talk openly and honestly with your doctor about your bowel movements and any questions or concerns you may have. Pooping is something we all should be doing. Constipation may be a temporary situation, a long-term problem or a sign of a more serious condition. Be safe. See your doctor, especially if youve noticed a change in your bowel pattern or if your life is being ruled by your bowels.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/07/2019.
Signs And Symptoms Of Constipation
Symptoms of constipation may also include the following:
- Lumpy, dry, or hard stools
- Stools that are hard or painful to pass
- Feeling as though there’s a blockage in your rectum that keeps you from having bowel movements
- Feeling as though you can’t completely empty your stool
- Needing help to empty your rectum, whether by pressing with your hands on your abdomen or using a finger to remove the stool
Constipation is considered to be chronic if you’ve experienced two or more of these symptoms for the last three months, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Recommended Reading: Can Too Much Salad Give You Diarrhea
Spiritual Meaning Of Diarrhea
Fear is commonly involved in cases related to diarrhea. In some cases, it is a relief from something that we can not accept and digest, instead, we keep carrying it with us.
All experiences and impressions have something beautiful and useful to you. Open yourself without fear and let them stay inside you.
Constipation is a striking manifestation of a psychological problem on a physical level.
It is often related to greed and manipulation of things, especially material things.
You may have difficulties letting old ideas go, as well as allowing repressive issues to come out. You are constipated both mentally and physically, and you can not leave certain things in the past.
Put the past and your fear aside and stop repressing things you find uncomfortable to face. Allow the flow of life to pass through you generously and you will find the safety you are looking for.
Why Does Constipation Occur
There are three main physical causes. One of the causes is where the muscles of the intestine and large bowel stop working properly this results in slow movement of contents through the bowel down to the rectum . This is termed slow transit constipation and patients have an infrequent urge to go to the toilet.
Another type of constipation is called obstructed defaecation where the movement of the bowel is normal, but the person experiences symptoms of difficulty with emptying their bowel. Patients may need to strain, and feel they cannot empty. There are some patients who have both slow transit and obstructed defaecation.
Finally, there is constipation-predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome when the person has difficulty with bowel opening and abdominal pain associated with not going. This type of constipation can be made worse with stress or depression.
Read Also: Mayo And Ibs
Examples Of Constipation In A Sentence
constipationconstipationHealth.comconstipationclevelandconstipation SELFconstipationUSA TODAYconstipationWashington PostconstipationForbesconstipation oregonliveconstipationABC News
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘constipation.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Complications Of Chronic Constipation
Some of the complications of chronic constipation include:
- Faecal impaction the lower bowel and rectum become so packed with faeces that the muscles of the bowels cant push any of it out.
- Faecal incontinence an overfull bowel can result in involuntary dribbling of diarrhoea.
- Haemorrhoids constant straining to open the bowel can damage the blood vessels of the rectum.
- Rectal prolapse the constant straining pushes a section of rectal lining out of the anus.
- Urinary incontinence the constant straining weakens pelvic floor muscles. This makes the involuntary passing of urine more likely, especially when coughing, laughing or sneezing.
Read Also: Klonopin Ibs
When To See A Doctor About Constipation
If increasing fiber intake, exercise and hydration don’t solve the problem, your constipation may be characterized as chronic. Depending on the cause of chronic constipation, you may need physical therapy or even low-dose laxatives to treat the problem.
For chronic constipation, it’s important to meet with a professional who can help guide you to the right kind of therapy. This is especially important if you have any warning signs of disease, such as weight loss, bleeding or pain, or stools that become pencil-thin and stay that way.
All things considered, you should see a doctor if constipation or any other physical discomfort is interfering with your daily life.
What Natural Or Home Remedies Relieve And Treat Constipation
Natural and home remedies to relieve pain and stop constipation?
Don’t suppress urges to defecate. When the urge comes, find a toilet. With the assistance of your doctor and pharmacist, determine if there are drugs that you are taking that could be contributing to constipation. See if the drugs can be discontinued or changed.
Increase the fiber in your diet by consuming more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It may be difficult to get enough fiber in the diet to effectively treat constipation, so don’t hesitate to take fiber supplements if necessary . Use increasing amounts of fiber and/or change the type of fiber consumed until there is a satisfactory result. Don’t expect fiber to work overnight. Allow a few weeks for adequate trials.
What if constipation does not respond to natural and home remedies?
These efforts should not be discontinued but other measures should be added. If it is infrequent, that is, every few weeks , it probably doesn’t matter what other measures are added-emollient, saline, or hyperosmolar laxatives, enemas, and suppositories. Even stimulant laxatives every four to six weeks are unlikely to damage the colon. Unfortunately, the tendency when using stimulant products is to unconsciously increase the frequency of their use. Before you know it, you’re taking them every week, or more often, and there is a concern that permanent colonic damage might result.
Don’t Miss: Can Eating Salad Cause Diarrhea
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.
What Lab Tests And Other Medical Tests May Be Done To Find The Cause Of My Constipation
Your doctor can order no tests or many types of tests and procedures. The decision of which ones your doctor might order for you depends on your symptoms, medical history, and overall health.
Colonoscopy: A colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy an internal view of your colon with a scope may be performed. During this procedure, a small sample of tissue may be taken to test for cancer or other problems and any found polyps will be removed.
Colorectal transit studies: These tests involve consuming a small dose of a radioactive substance, either in pill form or in a meal, and then tracking both the amount of time and how the substance moves through your intestines.
Other bowel function tests: Your doctor may order tests that check how well your anus and rectum hold and release stool. These tests include a certain type of x-ray , done to rule out causes of outlet dysfunction constipation, and the insertion of a small balloon into the rectum .
Recommended Reading: Can Food Poisoning Cause Constipation