Constipation is a common condition that affects people of all ages. It can mean inability to completely empty your bowel

Constipation has different meanings to different people. For many people, it simply means infrequent stools. For others, however, constipation means hard stools, difficulty passing stools (straining), or a sense of incomplete emptying after a bowel movement.

Constipation is a common problem. The time between toilet trips increases compared with your usual pattern. It is simply a change from your usual pattern that may mean that you are constipated.)

Sometimes, crampy pains occur in the lower part of your tummy (abdomen) You may also feel bloated and feel sick if you have severe constipation.

 

Causes:

  • Antacid medicines containing calcium or aluminum.
  • Changes in your usual diet or activities.
  • Eating a lot of dairy products.
  • Not eating enough fibre
  • Eating disorders.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Not going to the toilet when you feel the urge to.
  • Not drinking enough water (dehydration).
  • Overuse of laxatives.
  • Problems with the nerves and muscles in the digestive system.
  • Resisting the urge to have a bowel movement, which some people do because of hemorrhoids.
  • Some medications (especially strong pain drugs such as narcotics, antidepressants, or iron pills).
  • Stress and Depression.
  • Underactive thyroid (called hypothyroidism)

·         Physical Inactivity.

·         Milk; Some people become constipated when they consume milk and dairy products.

·         Pregnancy; Pregnancy brings about hormonal changes which can make a woman more susceptible to constipation. Also, the uterus may compress the intestine, slowing down the passage of the food.

·         Aging; As we get older our metabolism slows down, resulting in less intestinal activity. The muscles in the digestive tract do not work as well as they used to.

 

Symptoms/Signs:

  • Lower abdominal discomfort.
  • Infrequent bowel movements.
  • Trouble having a bowel movement (straining to go).
  • Hard or small stools.
  • A sense that everything didn’t come out.
  • Swollen belly or belly pain.
  • Throwing up

 

Prevention:

Constipation is usually easier to prevent than to treat.

Fibre (roughage) is the part of plant food that is not digested. It stays in your gut and is passed in the stools (faeces). Fibre adds bulk and some softness to the stools. High-fibre foods include the following:

  • Whole-meal or whole-wheat bread, biscuits and flour.
  • Fruit and vegetables. Aim to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day. One portion is: one large fruit such as an apple, pear, banana, orange, or a large slice of melon or pineapple; OR two smaller fruits such as plums, satsumas, etc; OR one cup of small fruits such as grapes, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, etc; OR one tablespoon of dried fruit; OR a normal portion of any vegetable (about two tablespoons); OR one dessert bowl of salad.
  • Wholegrain breakfast cereals. A simple thing like changing your regular breakfast cereal can make a big difference to the amount of fibre you eat each day.
  • Brown rice, and wholemeal spaghetti and other wholemeal pasta.

Top Foods to Prevent Constipation.

Fortunately, there are many foods to avoid that can make constipation worse. Here is a list of foods to eat to help relieve constipation. When planning a healthy diet, it helps to include plenty of high-fiber choices to help   you stay regular.

  • Flax seed.
  • Beans.
  • Kiwi.
  • Berries.
  • Pears, plums, and apples.

 

Treatment:

Diet and lifestyle changes are usually recommended as the first treatment for constipation.

  • Gradually increasing daily intake of fibre, making sure you drink plenty of fluids, and trying to get more exercise.
  • If these aren’t effective, your GP may prescribe an oral laxative medication that can help you empty your bowels.
  • Treatment for constipation is effective, although in some cases it can take several months before a regular bowel pattern is re-established.

 

Article BY eDokita Team

Reference:

  1. Medicine Net; Jay W. Marks, MD. Symptoms, Causes, Overview of Constipation. 2016 http://www.medicinenet.com/constipation/page2.htm
  2. WebMD; Symptoms of Constipation. 2016 http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-constipation#1
  3. Medical Newstoday; Christian Nordquist. 2016 http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150322.php?page=2
  4. info; Constipation in Adult’s Overview, Causes and Prevention. 2016 http://patient.info/health/constipation-in-adults-leaflet
  5. Wikipedia; Treatment and Prevention of Constipation. 2016 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constipation

NHS Choice; Introduction and Treatment of Constipation. 2016 http://www.n hs.uk/conditions/constipation/pages/introduction.aspx