Constipation is a health condition where a person has difficulty emptying their bowels. While home remedies and lifestyle changes can help you get rid of the problem, although sometimes you may need medical attention for constipation problems. There can be many reasons for constipation, one of the major ones is when the stool passes through the patient’s colon a bit too slowly. You should know that the slower your food moves through your digestive tract, the harder the feces will become.
If you don’t know how to determine if you have this problem or not, then you should know any person that moves their bowels less than 3 times a week may have constipation. There are also some natural ways to cure constipation if you don’t wish to start yourself on a medication course.
Sometimes constipation can happen due to a blockage in the large intestine and in this case the patient will require urgent medical attention. Another reason for constipation can be due to the lack of fiber or water. In this article, we will cover all the information that you should have about constipation.
Symptoms of Constipation
Symptoms of constipation can be easily distinguishable, here are all the main symptoms of constipation:
- Difficulty in passing stool
- Straining when passing stool
- Passing less stool than ordinary
- Lumpy, dry, or hard stool
There are other symptoms of constipation that aren’t as common as other symptoms. Here is a list of other symptoms of constipation:
- Pain and cramping in the abdomen
- Loss of appetite
Complications Caused By Constipation
Constipation is a disease that can be uncomfortable on its own but it is not usually a life-threatening disease. Constipation can turn into a huge problem if it goes untreated for a long time or if it is a symptom of a much more serious health condition. If your constipation is a symptom of an underlying health condition, then the damage that can happen due to constipation is:
- Rectal bleeding after straining for too long.
- Symptomatic hemorrhoids (piles), which is another health condition.
- Fecal impaction
Another rare complication caused by constipation is the reduced quality of living and depression.
What Causes Constipation?
Just like any health complication, it is caused by a certain lifestyle or diet. There are many reasons for constipation, here are some of the main causes of constipation:
- Lack of Fiber In Diet
People who take high dietary fiber are lesser to experience constipation in their lives. Fiber is great for regular bowel movements, especially if you combine a high fiber diet with a lot of hydration. Here are some of the high fiber food items:
- Whole grains
- Lentils, chickpeas, and other legumes
If you’re suffering from constipation, then you should stay away from low fiber food:
- High-fat foods, like cheese, meats, and eggs
- Highly processed food items such as white bread
- Fast foods, chips, and other processed foods
- Physical Inactivity
Lower levels of physical activities in your day-to-day life can lead to constipation. According to some studies, physically fit people are less likely to experience constipation than people who don’t engage in physical activities. The reason for this isn’t clear but it does help. People who spend several days or weeks in bed or people who sit at their jobs for a long time may have a higher risk of constipation.
People with an intestinal problem such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are at a much greater risk of constipation than without the condition. A person with IBS may experience:
- Abdominal pain
- Changes in the frequency of the stool
As people age, the risk of constipation increases. Up to 40% of older people can experience constipation at least once in their lifetime. The exact connection between aging and constipation may be unclear. One of the primary theories is that as people age, food takes longer to pass through the digestive tract. A lot of older people also become less physically active during old age which can lead to constipation.
Also, underlying health conditions, medications, and lower fiber intake or dehydration can lead to constipation with old age.
- Sudden Change In Routine
Sudden changes in your routine can also lead to constipation. Whenever a person travels, their routine changes from their normal one. This sudden change in routine can affect your digestive system. A result in the study shows that a lot of people experienced constipation when they went to another country.
A change in routine in eating meals, going to bed, and using the bedroom at different times can increase your risk for constipation.
- Overuse of Laxatives
Some people don’t use the bathroom as often and they take laxatives to solve this issue. Laxatives help with bowel movements, but the constant use of certain laxatives allow their body to get used to their action.
Continuous use of laxatives can cause it to become a habit as a person may keep on taking them even when they don’t need them. In other words, laxatives can become a bad habit. This means the more a person depends on laxatives, if that particular person stops using the laxatives, they may be at risk of constipation. Overuse of laxatives can also lead to:
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Internal organ damage
- Not Using Bathroom When Needed
If you keep on ignoring your urge to have a bowel movement, the urge may slowly go away until the person no longer feels the need to go. You should keep in mind that the longer you ignore your need to go, the drier and harder the stool will become.
- Not Drinking Enough Water
Regularly drinking enough water can easily reduce risk of constipation. Other fluids that you can intake to reduce your risk of constipation are naturally sweetened fruit or vegetable juices.
You should keep in mind that certain liquids can increase the risks of dehydration and can make constipation worse for some people. If you’re suffering from constipation, then you should reduce your intake of caffeinated sodas, coffee, and alcohol.