- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
How To Treat Common Constipation
Poop and Constipation - by awordlover
"Oh my gosh, she's not going to talk about poop and constipation, is she?"
Oh, Yes she is! In detail and she even has pictures! (non-offensive, I hope).
Note: I didn't want to say the pictures in this hub were tastefully done or in good taste, because of obvious pun references, but unfortunately you will find some other pun references throughout this hub. Sorry about that, it just couldn't be helped.
The dreaded topic needs to be addressed and at the same time provide information to put you at "ease" on the subject.
Will Other People Know?
Do you think people can tell that you suffer from constipation just by looking at you?
Talk About Poop
Many people just don't want to talk about POOP, about their bowel habits, what it should look like or not look like, and how to better take care of their bodies to make the POOP process easier in order to avoid constipation all together.
Disclaimer: This hub is about common constipation that is not due to a diagnosed health condition, for example, Celiac Disease, IBS, Crohn's Disease, Hypothyroidism, Diabetes, and other metabolic diseases.
What Causes Constipation? 4 minute video
Do not copy this article. It is not free just because it is on the internet.
What Is Constipation? researched by awordlover
Constipation is a very common everyday concern for not just common everyday folks. No one is unique, everyone has suffered from it at one time or another.
Constipation is when bowel movements become difficult to pass or when you don't "go" as much as you normally would. There is no normal time limit, shape or size for having bowel movements because everyone is different, but everyone has them one way or another. (by actual toileting or by ostomy bag)
Check out the stool shape chart on this page and, in the interest of science, take the anonymous poll to see how you measure up with others reading this hub. It is truly all anonymous, so don't be shy in your answer choice.
Bowel Movement Shapes
THIS POLL IS ANONYMOUS: From the choices in the Bristol Stool Chart - which shape is YOUR "normal" bowel movement?
What Sign Are You?
After reading the "Signs of Constipation" on the left, which one do you have most often?
Signs of Constipation - researched by awordlover
- If you go too long without a bowel movement, the stool becomes too hard and very difficult to pass. A rule of thumb is not to go longer than three days.The longer you space out time between bowel movements, the harder it will be to go. Along with that comes some very visible signs that you are full of it (pun intended).
- Some people will have a slightly bloated belly, while others will have a grossly bloated belly. This is called distension.
- Bad breath is a telltale sign that there is some junk in the trunk that needs to come out.
- Skin changes are often noted - skin can become either excessively dry or very oily; pale and chalky to very red.
- Flatulence - passing gas is telling everyone you are constipated. If it is smelly gas, it tells you and others in your immediate vicinity that your bowel habits (and you diet) are in need of attention.
Long periods of sitting on toilet is not the answer
Slideshow of Myths & Facts of Constipation
- Digestive Disorders Pictures Slideshow: Constipation Myths and Facts on MedicineNet
Watch this Digestive Disorders slideshow on Constipation Myths and Facts. Learn why you may be having issues with your bowel movements and whether fiber, exercise, and water can help with constipation.
Other "Tell-Tale" Signs (but only to you)
- Pain in your belly is a tell tale sign of constipation or the need to go. The pain can range from mild to extreme. It is sometimes accompanied with fever. Some people have ventured to the hospital emergency room because the pain can become so severe, because they have suffered a ruptured bowel. This is a serious condition and not to be ignored since peritonitis can occur from the stool now being outside the colon. For unrelieved pain that goes on for hours, seek medical attention.
- The tongue will change colors - often to a chalky white because it is dry (dehydration), and no matter how many lozenges you suck on or how much ice you chew on, it is just not enough hydration. Hydration in the best form is WATER. Drinking water. Not water added to a product to constitute it into another form. Straight drinking water.
- Headaches are a frequent sign of constipation, often coupled with fatigue to the point of exhaustion.
- Vomiting is another sign. Vomiting occurs when you are so full of stool, that the top part of your colon presses up against your stomach. Often GERDS and/or excessive belching will occur just before and/or after a vomiting episode. Vomiting does not relieve constipation - it tells you that constipation needs to be addressed but in no way helps it along. So vomiting is a sign, not a reliever, even though one may feel better after a vomiting episode.
- Hemorrhoids can come from straining to go, so they are also a side effect of constipation. If you don't know you are even constipated, and you have no other symptoms (such as listed above), then hemorrhoids will be your "tell". They come in all shapes and sizes, inside and outside of the rectum, can bleed or not bleed, and can often be relieved (but not removed) with home remedies.
This is not a conclusive list, but it is a list of signs that most people will be able to identify with on this subject.
While there are some people who can go to the bathroom as many as four times a day, there are others who only go once or twice in a whole week. It all has to do with WHAT you eat and WHEN you eat it, your activity level, your medication (some have constipation as a side effect) and your fluid intake.
Soda is a big culprit
Causes of Constipation
- Diet is at the top of the list. You are what you eat. If you have a crap diet, you will be full of crap. Eat more food, eat less....
C (carbonated drinks have fizz)
R (refined sugar) - within moderation
A (artificial colors and artificial sweetners) - dangerous on so many levels
P (Processed foods) - anything that is enhanced or changed from its original form (usually has ingredients where you recognize the first 4 or 5 on the list and the rest you can't pronounce)
- Not drinking enough water.
- Stress (internal, external, environmental, homelife - any kind)
- Not eating enough fiber or adding it to your diet at all
- Sporadic meal routines - long stretches of time between meals
- Over use of antacids that have calcium or aluminum ingredients
- Over use of stool softeners or laxatives, which can weaken the rectal muscles
- Being overweight, not exercising or moving around, staying in bed
- Pregnancy (any time in the gestational stage)
- Various medications (painkillers, iron supplements, etc. - read your drug insert literature)
- Holding back the urge to go because of fear of pain, bleeding, bathroom location inconveniences
- Hemorrhoids (Externally they can be a cause and Internally, they can be a symptom of constipation)
- Eating a lot of dairy products (ice cream, milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.)
- Hormone Replacement Therapy and hormonal disturbances, other than pregnancy
This is not a complete list. Other causes can be determined by your physician.
The Good News - researched by awordlover
The good news is ----drumroll, please!
Most people with constipation will be told they do NOT have a grave or serious illness to worry about. They may be told that with a little help of dietary habits, fluid intake, scheduled bowel movements, that this part of their life can get easier.
Some people have what is called "obstructed defecation" which means that you will find yourself straining to get the poop out only to find it is in small pieces, or similar to the types on the stool chart above.
Other people may have what is called "colonic inertia" which means that your colon contractions are out of rhythm and wants to keep the poop inside you. These people often feel that their colon is just not completely emptying out each time. And they are right.
You can read more on Obstructed Defectation and its treatment here.
You can read more on Colonic Inertia and its treatment here
Treatment of Constipation
Looking at this short list, it might seem that some of the items listed in 'causes' are here in treatments, but there are some differences.
- Diet - the bad part of your diet is what causes constipation. Eating a better diet can help treat constipation.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables (put them in a blender or juicer to drink them instead of eating them), add some bran to certain dishes (if you don't like the taste, adding it to foods can hide it), and try some prunes.
- Prunes come in a variety of packaging now that actually make them fun and tasty to eat.
- For some people, wheat products are an allergy because it makes them go, but in case of constipation, one wheat product will do the trick. Others swear by oatmeal, one bowl in the morning and by end of day, they are right as rain.
- Laxatives - while dependency on laxatives can cause constipation, certain types of laxatives (saline and osmotic) are preferred because they are more gentle and less dependent.
- Enemas and suppositories - for occasional relief of constipation, not for REGULAR relief of constipation.
- Fluid intake - If you are on a fluid restricted diet where you need to monitor how much you are drinking vs output, you will need to ask your doctor for some prescription assistance. But, for people who are not on any restricted diets, drinking excessive amount of fluids can cause watery stools among other digestive problems, however, not drinking enough WATER can cause constipation. All those sugary drinks, juices, flavored water, energy drinks, fizzy things are not WATER and even though they are liquid and by argument they are fluids, they are not the FLUID intake medical professionals are talking about when they say to regulate your "fluid intake" - They mean WATER - pure unadulterated, unflavored, clear drinking water.
- Develop a routine for going to the bathroom to move your bowels. Try warm decaffeinated drinks, especially in the morning if that time to go is convenient to your life schedule (work, sleep, etc.) Don't wait until you are about to burst or until pain becomes unbearable. GO!
Suggested by Doctor Oz and The Doctors
Here are some YouTube videos from some of televisions medical professionals, including Doctor Oz that I hope you find interesting and informative.
10 foods that relieve constipation - 3 minute video
The info here is good, but the music is a little annoying. Video is done with pix and placards. Very good!
Doctor Oz's Healthy Drink (5 mins long)
Do Not Copy This Article
Final words from awordlover
In conclusion, if you take control of your physical health, constipation will be less of a problem as time goes by.
Routine is key along with diet and the other measures outlined here.
Published 2011 Anne DiGeorge
Updated 2/2/2014 and 4/6/2017 by Rachael O'Halloran to replace pixelated copyscape logos, update links, and to correct format issues
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© 2013 awordlover