In recent times the occurrence of constipation has tripled the number of what it used to be making it termed as normal among some individuals.
Is the absence of bowel movement really okay? Read on to see the dangers prolonged constipation exposes you to.
What is constipation?
Constipation is the medical term that describes the inability of a person to move dolls without difficulty. It is when an individual passes less than 3 bowel movements in a week.
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The individual may have severe persistent abdominal pain, strain while stooling, or may not be able to pass to a stool at all. A constipated person could go on for 3 days or more without a bowel movement.
Causes of constipation
1. Poor diet: Consuming large amounts of unhealthy junk causes major damage done to the digestive system. Fried foods, processed foods, and excess dairy products are goods that could cause constipation. Alcohol and caffeine consumption results in dehydration which in turn contributes to constipation.
2. Pregnancy: Changes in a pregnant woman’s hormones make them susceptible or prone to constipation. The baby inside the womb squishes the intestines, slowing down the passage of stool.
3. Lack of exercise: Absence of physical activities results in failure to train muscles which influence constipation.
Underlying disease conditions: Conditions such as diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, colorectal cancer, and so on are causes of constipation
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4. Nerve damage: Neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease cause damage to the nerves in control of muscles of the colon and rectum.
Signs and symptoms of constipation
- Sharp abdominal pains and cramps\
- Hard, rock shaped feces
- Bloated abdomen
- Fewer than 3 bowel movements in a week
- Irritability and nervousness
- Unexpected weight loss
- Blood in stool
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Distended abdomen
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6 dangers of chronic/ prolonged constipation
- Hemorrhoids(Piles): Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum and anus that can cause discomfort and bleeding. Chronic constipation, straining during bowel movements, increased pressure in the rectum results in hemorrhoids. There is pain around the rectum, discomfort, swelling, itchiness, or bleeding in the anus.
- Anal fissure: Anal fissure is also known as anal cancer. It is a small tear in the lining of the anus which may occur due to trauma to the inner lining of the anus from bowel movements. It causes pain and bleeding during bowel movements.
- Fecal impaction: This condition occurs in people who have been constipated for too long. Hard stool becomes stuck in the rectum and lowers the colon resulting in stomach cramps, bloating, and stool leakage. It is difficult to excrete waste from the body as the intestine is not able to remove feces from the body through a normal contraction. Fecal impaction requires a visit to the doctor who then provides treatment using a number of procedures and laxatives.
- Rectal prolapse: uses of foundation in which parts of the large intestine slips outside the anus. It can occur in both males and females of any age. Rectal prolapse makes the control of bowel movement impossible and could cause stool to leak from the rectum. Most cases require surgery to repair the damage.
- Diverticulitis: A diverticular is an inflammation or infection in one or more small pouches in the digestive tract. This inflammation results in severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and a change in bowel habits. When a person is constipated, the muscles strain to move stool that is too hard. The extra pressure then makes weak spots in the colon bulge out causing diverticulitis.
- Stress urinary incontinence: This is a leakage of urine during physical activities that increases abdominal pressure such as lifting, exercise, cough, sneezing, laughing, and so on. Constipation worsens this condition. The leakage of urine may vary from a drop, two or more, and even a stream of urine.
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Treatment and prevention of constipation
1 Abdominal massage to stimulate bowel movement.
2 Exercise regularly
3 Ensure your diet is high in fiber.
4 Drink enough water.
5 Avoid Consuming empty calories diets and processed foods.
6 Eat plenty of fruits, whole grains, and vegetables.
7 Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake.
8 Use stool softeners and laxatives in severe cases.
Consult your doctor and seek medical attention if abdominal pain is severe and persistent, there is continuous bleeding from the rectum, and if you have fewer than 3 bowel movements in a week.