Constipation and its treatment
This is my first article because constipation is the first ailment, which is associated with me, and I was unable to solve this issue for years and remained puzzled and bemused what to do with constipation. At times, I have felt hopeless to the extent that it has reduced my life to ashes, but now finally, I have the answer which I am going to elaborate for others too who are nagged by it.
Constipation is a behemoth serpent which slowly crawls and engulf our beautiful life and leases terror. Constipation not only terrorize you but it gives pain to every place and people you visit because your suffering becomes sufferings of your relatives and friends. At times, I was unable to take up assignments needing early morning hours due to constipation which has made almost impossible to get evacuate my bowel easily and so losses.
What exactly constipation is?
There are varied symptoms of constipation like difficulty in passing stools, hard stools, intermittent stools, or sense of incomplete evacuation just after a bowel movement. But each of these is different types of constipation and caused through different factors.
What a normal bowel movement is?
Normally, we evacuate our bowel three to 20 times a week which is perfectly normal, but it varies with age. As we progresses in our age, it decreases. So, cannot be considered as constipation but a normal journey of the life. Most commonly, our visit to the toilet is once a day and there are many who do not have a fixed pattern.
So what constipated bowel movement is?
As I wrote above that 3 bowel movements in a week is the threshold, so less than 3 bowel movements is definitely constipation and needs to be taken care and if it is less than once a week, it is of grave concern.
When we talk about constipation, we first ask for how long and how severely a person is constipation. If it is momentary and is caused due to some medicine, ailment, change in weather, place, environment or some other factors, it is just time bound and will get cured on its own when things are back to their previous stage or with some medicine in case of acute constipation. But if a person is constipated regardless of these, he should be considered as chronic constipated person and needs proper guidance for diet and exercise and treatment through medicine, herbs and lifestyle.
If untreated constipation can cause these below-mentioned diseases:
The dreaded bowel cancer and is a medical condition which needs immediate attention.
Impaction of fecal, in which case the stool is too hard to be passed in the rectum and so its passage stops anymore, which is again a medical condition which needs immediate attention.
Abdominal cramps, pains, vomiting, nausea, bleeding from the rectum, hemorrhoids, and weight loss.
Irritable bowel syndrome is the term we use when constipation occurs with diarrhea.
How constipation is caused?
Generally when we eat refined flour too much and avoid the whole wheat our gastric system gets devoid of the essential fiber which are necessary to retain water and form the bulk which passes easily from the tracts. So avoidance of fiber leads to constipation.
We should never suppress too often the urge we feel to defecate and it can develop into constipation.
Colon is the passage for the stool and also it absorbs waters from the digested food. If excessive water is absorbed, it makes the stool too hard to be passed out and thus it leads to constipation.
Colonic inertia. Our system works through signaling of nerve and if the nerve fails to signal, the muscles related to it fail to respond. So, if the nerve which is signaling the passage of the stool does not work properly, the muscles are not able to pass the stool and thus constipation.
Laxatives are used to relieve constipation but too often and prolonged laxative usage often hampers with the normal functioning of the colon and thus leads to constipation.
Often antidepressant, iron supplements, anticonvulsants, and narcotic like many other medicines leads to constipation but if stopping the medication is not possible then increasing the intake of dietary fibers helps in relieving constipation.
Any kind of imbalance in hormone can lead to improper and incomplete evacuation feeling which is constipation.
Pregnancy can also induce constipation but is it only temporary and so can menstrual periods which is also temporary.
Diabetes, pseudo-obstruction of the intestine, cancer, colonic stricture, scleroderma, and impairment of the sacral nerve which responsible to stimulate the colon leads to constipation.
Hereditary or family history of constipation is one of the major causes of it.
Non-Surgical Treatments for constipation:
As I have mentioned above, there are varied causes of constipation so treatments also varies according to the cause and its symptoms. So there is no one but multiple remedy of constipation.
Firstly the cause of constipation is determined through different diagnostic tools like defectography, barium enema, x-ray, physically evaluating the patient, inquiring about personal history and family history, lifestyle and eating habits. Once we diagnosis of the proper cause, treatment is started is started accordingly.
Increased intake of fruits, whole wheat, pulses, green vegetables, and legumes, which are reach in fibers, help a lot.
A constipated person should never have refined flour and always try to eat the whole-wheat flour.
Fiber supplements such as Isabgol (psyllium husk) in India and Metamucil in US helps relieves constipation but are advised for prolonged usage.
Synthetically produced fibers like FiberCon helps relieves constipation.
Water is essential in keeping the stool soft so that it passes easily. Drinking ample amount of water, keeps the stool soft, which passes easily and thus relieves constipation.
Methods such as stimulating digitally whereby a person has to stimulate the drive to evacuate and eventually evacuating the bowel.
If anyone is suffering from any ailment such cardiac or has undergone surgical treatment, they need to visit the doctor first before starting any kind of constipation relieving medication or laxatives on its own.
Medications such as saline laxatives, lubricant laxatives, stool softeners, milk of magnesia, hyperosmolar laxatives, enemas, anal suppositories, and stimulant laxatives, helps a lot in relieving constipation.
If someone is chronically constipated and wants a long term no side effects remedy then homeopathy and ayurveda are the only answers.
Surgical treatment is an option exercised lastly who are unable to get relief through any kind of treatment, dietary or lifestyle changes.
1. Battery Operated Sacral Nerve Stimulator is surgically placed and a hand-held device remote control short of device is given to you. Before defecation, you only need to press the button of the remote control which will stimulate the sacral nerve and create a strong urge to defecate giving you instant relief.
2. Repair of rectocele if this is the cause behind constipation.
3. J-Pouch, an internal bag is created for the stool to be stored and passed out through the anus several times a day.
4. Loop ileostomy, the end or the loop of the small intestine is brought out on to the skin above groin and an external bag is placed which collects the stool. This procedure is reversible, i.e., if it is not successful it could be reversed.
5. Colectomy or colon resection where as large part of the colon is cut so that the stool travels a lot less distance get defecated. This is irreversible procedure.Surgical treatment is an option exercised lastly who are unable to get relief through any kind of treatment, dietary or lifestyle changes.
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