Constipation is when a person has less than three bowel movements weekly or when a person has so much difficulty passing out excreta.
Almost everyone has suffered constipation at a point in their lives. Remember trying to poop but the stubborn little shit won’t just come out and your mama says ‘”drink more water”?. That is constipation. There are other symptoms of constipation save from difficulty in passing out excreta.
Other symptoms of constipation
1.Blood in excreta.
2 .Highly dry excreta.
3. Getting a feeling that you are not done passing out stool when you actually are.
4. Needing help to empty your rectum. Due to constipation, some people cannot pass out faeces on their own. They need people to press on their abdomen before they can.
There’s no cause for alarm if you have constipation. About 2.5 million people see their doctors yearly because of it. It is rated among the commonest gastrointestinal complaints people make.
Though there are a set of people very prone to being perpetually constipated. This is called chronic constipation. Constipation is considered chronic when one has had the symptoms above over three to four months. These set of people include:
- Older people: the more a person grows older, the slower the body metabolism and muscle activities. Hence, more constipation.
2. People that do not eat foods rich in fibre-
Low dietary fibre causes constipation. Taking the right amount of fibre and coupling it with good hydration fights constipation greatly. High fibre foods range from vegetables, whole grains, nuts as well as legumes.
3. People that seldomly exercise. Exercise causes better muscle activity and it leads to faster metabolism. A study in 2013 pointed out that people who spent long hours in a particular position had more constipation than people with higher locomotion.
4. People suffering from eating disorders-
Eating disorders like anorexia and orthorexia lead to constipation.
5. People suffering from depression.
6. People with problems of dehydration– Water is unarguably the best liquid the body needs. Not even the best wines can replace water in the body. When one doesn’t have as much water as his/her body needs, digestion problems as well as gastrointestinal anomalies like constipation are bound to step in.
7. Women. The chances of being constipated as a woman increases with pregnancy and childbirth.
Constipation arises from so many causes. Some major causes are:
- Slow movement of stool through the digestive tract. This makes it hard for it to be passed out of the rectum.
- Problems with the colon- the littlest problem in the colon can lead to constipation. These range from colon blockage, inflammation, colon stricture(narrowing of the colon) and rectal cancer.
- Constipation may also rise due to issues like weakened pelvic muscles and inability to relax the pelvic muscles.
Dangers of constipation.
- Small tears in the anus.(annal fissure)
- Fecal impactation. Prolonged constipation can make an individual unable to pass out faeces. This in turn causes a blockage of the intestines with stool.
- Rectal prolapse- this is when the intestine protrudes from the anus.
- Constipation can also lead to an uncomfortable life as well as depression.
Constipation is not a deadly illness. Below are five ways to handle Constipation.
- Consuming the foods rich in fibre. Especially the soluble and non-fermentable ones. Vegetables are rich sources of fibre. Carrots are also very beneficial.
- The use of laxatives and softeners(as your doctor recommends).
- Avoid carbonated beverages and take more water instead. Staying hydrated is one effective way of dealing with constipation due to the great role water plays in digestion. Sparkling water is the best for this.
- Exercise more.
- Take probiotic foods and supplements. Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria that live in the gut. Sometimes, chronic constipation occurs due to the efficiency of probiotics in the gut.
Note: Prolonged constipation could also be a symptom of rectal cancer. Do not hesitate to see a doctor when you notice abnormalities.