Constipation Types, Causes, Treatment
What is Constipation?Constipation is a disorder of the digestive system that reduces the frequency of bowel movement. Medically a person is said to be constipated if he passes less than three stools a week. Normal frequency can vary from three stools a day to three a week but the it varies from person to person and what is normal for one person may not be so for the other.
SymptomsNot having a daily bowel movement does not necessarily mean that you are constipated but some people think they are. The symptoms are:
- Passing hard stool three times a week or less.
- Unusual straining at stool. In certain cases even soft stool does not pass without unusual straining.
- Abdominal bloating or discomfort.
- Incomplete and unsatisfying expulsion.
Types of StoolIn constipation the stool can be of various types varying from person to person. It can be:
- Dry, hard, large and painful
- Hard covered with mucus
- Dry and crumbling
- Large, black, carrion like
- Slender, quill like
- Hard round balls likes sheep's dung
- Soft but still difficult to pass
- Soft but incomplete expulsion
Causes of ConstipationIn most cases where the stool is hard, constipation is due to dryness of mucus membranes. Should that happen, usually the mouth also becomes dry with increased thirst. Like frequency of bowel movement, causes also vary from person to person. One factor that makes a person constipated may not have similar effect on the other. Common causes are:
- Frequent use of spicy food
- Excessive use of foodstuff that tends to create dryness of mucus membranes
- Insufficient fluid intake
- Pregnancy (not everyone is affected)
- Reduced physical activity
- Continuous bed rest due to sickness
- Intestinal obstruction
- Medication for certain diseases
- Over use of laxatives
- Aging (in some persons)
- Habitual delay in attending the call to bowel movement
- Use of narcotics (including smoking)
Risk FactorsConstipation is said to be the mother of most diseases because the body toxins that should naturally leave on time, stay for much longer creating adverse health conditions. Persistent constipation can cause anal fissures and/or hemorrhoids that could be blind or bleeding and internal or external or both, which is a condition obviously more difficult to treat than constipation. If there is no bowel movement for several days, the stool may become very hard calling for mechanical/manual removal.
Prevention and Treatment of ConstipationIf the stool does pass, try finding out what makes you constipated. Consulting a doctor is fine but in many cases, you are the best person to find the cause. If you can, remove the cause.
- Increase your intake of liquids other than acidic drinks
- Add fibrous food like whole-grain cereals, vegetables, and fruits to your meals
- Review your lifestyle and make necessary changes
- Avoid junk food
- Do not postpone your call to nature just because you are busy otherwise the stool will start becoming harder
- Do not use laxatives unnecessarily
Homeopathy has many wonderful medicines to treat various conditions of constipation.
Home Remedies for Constipation
- Taking a glass of warm milk at bedtime can help
- Ginger tea sweetened with honey taken twice a day frequently relieves the constipation
If it does not help, consult your doctor for diagnosis and proper treatment. For obstinate constipation, consider homeopathic treatment.