Constipation is a common gastrointestinal problem and can be defined as infrequent bowel movements usually accompanied by difficult passage of stool. In spite of being a very serious problem per se constipation also leads to several more medical conditions, therefore it must be taken seriously and treated properly and on time.
What Causes Constipation?
In many cases constipation develops as a result of insufficient intake of dietary fibers or inadequate consumption of water. Furthermore, it can occur due to the intake of certain drugs such as antacids, antidepressants etc. Constipation is one of the characteristics of many different medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, spastic colon and gut disorders. Many pregnant women have problems with slow bowel movement. And finally, in some people constipation is associated with stress (physical or emotional).
What Are Symptoms of Constipation?
People suffering from constipation usually have difficulty in evacuating the bowel, bowel movements are infrequent and painful. The stool is dry and hard to pass. Defecation is generally accompanied by abdominal pain, pain in the anal area and cramps. Since passing stool is infrequent people suffering from constipation also have problems with bloating, excessive gas and abdominal distension.
What Are Side Effects of Constipation?
There are several side effects of constipation. In many people constipation eventually leads to piles (hemorrhoids) and formation of anal fissures. They develop as a consequence of strain during the process of defecation. In severe cases prolonged and excessive straining during bowel movement may cause rectal prolapse.
Another serious problems of constipation is fecal impaction. The stool may be very dry and one is simply unable to defecate. Fecal impaction is a serious condition and requires invasive methods which break up the stool and ease its elimination.
Excessive reabsorption of some toxins that are normally eliminated via stool is another side effect of constipation. The toxins may induce some other medical conditions. It is also believed that constipation may weaken the immune system and make the person more susceptible to infections and other illnesses.
Lethargy, fatigue, mood swings, sleep disorders are several more side effects of constipation. And finally, in people suffering from constipation excessive usage of laxative is a common cause of lazy bowel syndrome.
Treatment for Constipation
In order to properly treat constipation it is essential to identify its underlying cause. Two most significant parts of the treatment include consuming plenty of food rich in fibers and intake of sufficient amount of water. Constipation can also be properly taken care of with regular exercise. The sooner the constipation is brought under control the lesser chances that some of its side effects will occur are. If constipation continues in spite of the previously mentioned measures, one should consult a doctor for further help.