Guide To Constipation
This digestive conditon is characterized by the difficult and infrequent passage of small, hard stools. It is most common in children and elderly people. Constipation is more common in females and a low-fiber diet is a risk factor.
|If your stools are small and hard, or if you have to strain to pass them, you are probably constipated. How frequently you pass stools is less important because healthy people have bowel movements at widely different intervals. Usual intervals range from three times a day to three times a week. Most people tend to have a regular excretory routine, and bowels usually function best if they are allowed to follow a consistent pattern. Bouts of constipation are common and usually harmless, but occasionally they may indicate an underlying intestinal disorder. If you develop severe constipation which lasts more than two weeks, especially if it first occurs after the age of 50, or if blood is present in the feces, you need to consult your doctor. Persistent constipation may lead to fecal impaction, in which hard feces remain in the rectum. Liquid feces may leak around the partial obstruction resulting in diarrhea.
What Are The Causes Of Constipaton?
A diet low in fiber and fluids is the most common cause of constipation. Drinking too much alcohol or drinks containing caffeine which may lead to dehydration, can also make feces hard and difficult to pass. Other factors that decrease the frequency of bowel movements include:
If constipation is associated with your lifestyle, there are several measures you can take to relieve it and prevent recurrance.
If constipation presists despite taking these measures, you should talk to your doctor who is likely to arrange tests to look for an underlying cause. Your doctor will probably first examine your abdomen and check your rectum by inserting a gloved finger. You may be asked for a fecal sample, which will be examined for the presence of blood. If a cause is not found, your large intestine may be examined with a viewing instrument (colonoscopy) or have contrast X-Rays of your intestines to reveal any abnormalities. If your doctor finds an underlying cause, it’s treatment should relieve constipation. If a particular medication seems to be the cause of your medication, your doctor will prescribe an alternative. You may have an enema (colonic irrigation) in which liquid is passed through a tube into the rectum to stimulate bowel movements. This treatment should be followed by a change in diet to include more fiber.