A lot of people suffer from chronic constipation, and studies have shown that in women it is 2 times more common than in men, and it is more common as you get older.
Chronic constipation means having a hard time passing stool where your bowel movements are really infrequent. You have the urge to pass stool, but even after sitting for so long, it just does not happen. There is a lot of discomfort associated with constipation as it hinders you from actually doing your normal duties.
Myths vs facts about chronic constipation
1. Some people consider having fewer bowel movements, say 5 in a week as having chronic constipation. Well, the truth is normally most adults have bowel movements ranging between 3 and 21 times a week. Therefore, having at least 5 bowel movements in a week should not raise much of an alarm.
2. Bowel movements increase with age, while the truth is, bowel movements do decrease with age.
Symptoms of chronic constipation
If you suffer a combination of the symptoms below, in a spun of three months consistently, then there are high chances you could be suffering from chronic constipation:
– Straining while passing stool and also finding it very difficult. You feel like passing stool, but you find yourself really struggling to do so even after a very long time.
– Experiencing less than 3 movements of bowel per week and passing rather hard stool. Chronic constipation is actually characterized by hard formed stool, small stool or a combination of both, and this happens so infrequently.
– Having discomforts in your abdomen and having your bowel feel like it is blocked or your bowel feeling like it is never empty.
– If you have manually tried to maneuver so as to extract your stool.
You should visit a medical expert to actually clarify these symptoms and make a clear diagnosis.
Causes of Chronic Constipation
It is not clear what causes constipation. Cause could be for unknown reasons or they could be related to some health issues or conditions such as diabetes mellitus, depression, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and immobility. It could also be caused by some medications like opiates or iron and calcium supplements, which are even found over the counter.
Treatment of Chronic Constipation
– You should first start with the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, and this includes a healthy , balanced diet with an intake of lots of water, exercise regularly and allowing for bowel movement- you should not ignore the urge to have the bowel movement.
– Then you can follow on to therapy, which includes:
1. Fiber, which helps you pass softer stools as fiber absorbs water. Softer stool moves much easier through the colon compared to hard stool, thus reducing the strain involved when passing stool during constipation. This is great help in the case of hemorrhoids as well.
Foods rich in fiber include: whole grain, fruits and vegetables like kale, spinach, cabbage and carrots.
the different types of laxatives include:
– Stimulant laxatives- help in the movement of stool through the colon
– Stool softener- they prevent dehydration, allowing bowel movements without a strain
– Lubricants like mineral oil to lubricate bowel and stool.
You should visit your doctor, who will further advise you on the best treatment to use.