Constipation refers to a condition of the digestive system in which an individual has hard feces that are difficult to pass. Mostly, this occurs when the colon has absorbed too much water from the food that is in the colon.
The slower the food moves through the digestive tract, the more water is absorbed by the colon. Consequently, the feces become dry and hard. This results in painful defecation (emptying the bowels). There are three main problems people face with constipation:
Most people won’t admit it, but the fact is that about 90 percent people are affected by constipation at least once in their lifetime. Out of these, at least 60 percent are chronically affected by constipation.
There are two types of constipation which affect people. One is acute and the other is chronic.
It refers to the recent onset of the condition. It starts suddenly and lasts for a few days. It can be caused by:
Acute constipation requires urgent assessment if it is accompanied by rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, vomiting, and involuntary loss of weight.
Chronic constipation refers to infrequent bowel movements for a longer period of time say for a week or two. Chronic constipation may be a sign of another underlying condition like hypothyroidism and diabetes.
There are many causes of constipation including medications, poor bowel habits, low fiber diets, hormonal disorders, being dehydrated from not drinking enough water, having unusual amounts of emotional stress and high levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy. Read more about constipation causes.
In order to diagnose the exact cause of constipation, a number of tests are required. These tests include collecting the patient history, physical examination, blood tests, abdominal X-rays, barium enema, defecography, and colonic motility studies.
Constipation can be easily treated by including foods high in fiber, non-stimulant laxatives, stimulant laxatives, enemas, suppositories, biofeedback training, prescription medications, and surgery. Read more about treatment of constipation.
The constipation is often preventable, and there are many natural constipation relief remedies that are helpful in improving bowel function. Natural constipation relief remedies include drinking warm liquids, eating fiber-rich diet, improving toilet habits, taking probiotics and exercising on a regular basis. Read more about constipation prevention.
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