Is Chronic Constipation a Worry?
May 23, 2019
Let’s talk about poop. The average adult should expect to
have between three to twenty-one bowel movements per week. Everyone is
different, so the exact number of bathroom visits isn’t set in stone.
Medically speaking, constipation is defined as having fewer
than three bowel movements per week.
While it isn’t unusual to get constipated from time-to-time, some people
have chronic constipation, which interferes with their ability to go about
their everyday lives
What Causes Constipation?
This unpleasant condition is caused by one of several factors such as consuming a diet low in fiber, prescription pills, laxative abuse, and disease of the colon.
Stress can also cause constipation by slowing digestion to a
crawl or causing inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
Most of these issues can be fixed easily within a couple of days.
Older people, women, and people with sedentary lifestyles
are likelier to suffer from chronic constipation.
The most common symptoms of constipation include abdominal
pain, strain when passing stool, and hard stool.
More serious symptoms include rectal bleeding, nausea, vomiting, and anal fissures as a result of passing a hard stool.
Seek medical attention as soon as possible if experiencing any of these symptoms because there could be underlying health issues such as cancer of the colon, diabetes, hypothyroidism or irritable bowel syndrome.
The easiest way to treat constipation is to eat more fruits, vegetables, and other high-fiber foods, and increase your physical activity.
Managing stress eases constipation because it improves
digestion and reduces inflammation in the colon.
Laxatives should be taken as a last resort because they can damage the colon, making constipation worse.
When seeing the doctor about chronic constipation, she may choose to perform a series of tests (full body physical examination, blood testing, midsection X-rays, colonoscopy, defecography, among many others). Test results will determine a suggested course of treatment, which might be something as simple as a prescription for laxatives to help get the bowels moving.
Surgery might be considered if the condition has persisted
for a long time and no other treatment seems to be working, or when part of the
colon isn’t working as it should and needs to be removed.
If you suffer with constipation, please don’t let embarrassment
keep you from seeing your doctor.