Constipation: General Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Constipation is a medical condition wherein a person is unable to pass bowel for at least one week or passes scanty amount of bowel in less than three times. Many people affected with this condition experience some frustrating and even embarrassing moments that affect their daily living. Yet, many of them don’t know whether they are already experiencing constipation and this is an alarming truth. They would only realize that they are already experiencing constipation when they have felt the worse of its signs. Thus, cure of this condition would already involve medical help, when in fact, they could have relieved it by just changing their diet. In infants, constipation can be a very distressful experience and this entails careful assessment from parents.

The natural cause of constipation is primarily poor diet which is aggravated by poor or very little exercise and by fecal stasis in the colon. Common symptoms felt by people suffering from constipation include, discomfort and pain in passing hardened stool, firm and distended abdomen, and the urge to defecate becomes less. Oftentimes, a change in diet eases constipation. However, there are conditions where persons experiencing constipation need medical help to relieve constipation. A laxative is a common medication given to a person having constipation, it is either given orally or through suppository.

Causes of Constipation

Poor nutrition and sedentary lifestyle with lack of exercise are the two causes of constipation discussed earlier. Those who are fond of eating food with low fiber content are at higher risk of being constipated. Fiber-rich food can be found in whole grains, vegetables and fruits like papaya, mango and oranges. These variety of foods are recommended to persons who love to eat high fat containing foods. Although babies are not constipated, the transition from breastfeeding to bottle or formula feeding may trigger the baby to develop constipation. Since adding fiber-rich food in infants’ diet is not a good measure to relieve constipation, parents are expected to monitor their babies’ elimination process. The measures of relieving constipation vary among age brackets, hence, there is a need for an individualized care or management.

Another cause of constipation is lack of water intake. Water intake, does not only mean drinking eight glasses of water each day it also means adding juices to our daily drink. However, we must be cautious to what kind of liquids we are taking because there are also those that may cause constipation such as milk-drinks and sodas. In infants the most common cause of constipation is formula-fed diet with low or deficient fluid intake. Adding more fluid to the babies’ diet may help solve constipation. Also, infants or even adults who overuse several medications including laxatives or purgatives may soon develop constipation and later on becomes dependent to this medications. Parents are instructed to seek medical help when their child is experiencing difficulty passing stool for one week as this may entail more complicated conditions and that proper measures be applied.

There are also medical conditions that may lead to constipation. A condition called Irritable Bowel Syndrome, in which episodes of loose and normal stools happen, or recurrent abdominal pain may bring about constipation. This disorder is commonly found on infants aged 6 months to 3 years. Other colon problems may also lead to constipation such as hirchsprung’s disease or aganglionic mega colon. Adults who experience immobility or are ailed with back injuries and strokes may experience constipation. Also diseases like Lupus and Diabetes may lead to this bowel disorder.

As discussed earlier, the best relief or remedy to constipation is change in diet. Inclusion of fiber containing foods in one’s diet helps people in relieving constipation. Adding more liquid in an infant’s diet will help parents in preventing their children to suffer from this very distressing condition. Visiting a family physician may help parents to assess whether their babies are having constipation and proper measures will be applied. A change in lifestyle, by adding isometric exercises such as swimming and jogging may help adults to have proper digestion and bowel elimination. Constipation may make a person feel some discomfort and even embarrassment but with good diet and proper lifestyle, one can control and even prevent constipation from happening or recurring.