Constipation - Symptoms and causes. Overview. Chronic constipation is infrequent bowel movements or difficult passage of stools that persists for several weeks or longer. Constipation is generally described as having fewer than three bowel movements a week. Though occasional constipation is very common, some people experience chronic constipation that can interfere with their ability to go about their daily tasks. Chronic constipation may also cause excessive straining to have a bowel movement and other signs and symptoms. Treatment for chronic constipation depends in part on the underlying cause.
However, in some cases, a cause is never found. Symptoms. Signs and symptoms of chronic constipation include: Passing fewer than three stools a week.
Having lumpy or hard stools. Straining to have bowel movements.
Causes. Constipation happens when the colon absorbs too much water. This can occur if the muscles in the colon are contracting slowly or poorly, causing the stool to.
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Feeling as though there's a blockage in your rectum that prevents bowel movements. Feeling as though you can't completely empty the stool from your rectum.
Needing help to empty your rectum, such as using your hands to press on your abdomen and using a finger to remove stool from your rectum. Constipation may be considered chronic if you've experienced two or more of these symptoms for the last three months. When to see a doctor. Make an appointment with your doctor if you experience unexplained and persistent changes in your bowel habits. Causes. Constipation most commonly occurs when waste or stool moves too slowly through the digestive tract or cannot be eliminated effectively from the rectum, which may cause the stool to become hard and dry. Chronic constipation has many possible causes. Blockages in the colon or rectum.
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- Constipation refers to the condition where bowel movements are irregular and the process of passing stools can be painful. Most people suffer from constipation at.
- When you rarely have a bowel movement, or it takes you a lot of effort to pass stool, you have constipation. Constipation makes it difficult to get rid of stools.
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- Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. Though most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules, fiber cannot be broken down into sugar.
Blockages in the colon or rectum may slow or stop stool movement. Causes include: Anal fissure.
Bowel obstruction. Colon cancer. Narrowing of the colon (bowel stricture)Other abdominal cancer that presses on the colon. Rectal cancer. Rectum bulge through the back wall of the vagina (rectocele)Problems with the nerves around the colon and rectum. Neurological problems can affect the nerves that cause muscles in the colon and rectum to contract and move stool through the intestines. Causes include: Autonomic neuropathy. Multiple sclerosis.
Parkinson's disease. Spinal cord injury.
Stroke. Difficulty with the muscles involved in elimination. Problems with the pelvic muscles involved in having a bowel movement may cause chronic constipation. These problems may include: Inability to relax the pelvic muscles to allow for a bowel movement (anismus)Pelvic muscles don't coordinate relaxation and contraction correctly (dyssynergia)Weakened pelvic muscles. Conditions that affect hormones in the body. Hormones help balance fluids in your body.
Diseases and conditions that upset the balance of hormones may lead to constipation, including: Diabetes. Overactive parathyroid gland (hyperparathyroidism)Pregnancy. Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)Risk factors. Factors that may increase your risk of chronic constipation include: Being an older adult. Being a woman. Being dehydrated. Eating a diet that's low in fiber.
Getting little or no physical activity. Taking certain medications, including sedatives, narcotics, some antidepressants or medications to lower blood pressure. Having a mental health condition such as depression or an eating disorder. Complications. Complications of chronic constipation include: Swollen veins in your anus (hemorrhoids). Straining to have a bowel movement may cause swelling in the veins in and around your anus.
Torn skin in your anus (anal fissure). A large or hard stool can cause tiny tears in the anus.
Stool that can't be expelled (fecal impaction). Chronic constipation may cause an accumulation of hardened stool that gets stuck in your intestines. Intestine that protrudes from the anus (rectal prolapse). Straining to have a bowel movement can cause a small amount of the rectum to stretch and protrude from the anus. Prevention. The following can help you avoid developing chronic constipation. Include plenty of high- fiber foods in your diet, including beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grain cereals and bran. Eat fewer foods with low amounts of fiber such as processed foods, and dairy and meat products.
Drink plenty of fluids. Stay as active as possible and try to get regular exercise. Try to manage stress. Don't ignore the urge to pass stool.
Try to create a regular schedule for bowel movements, especially after a meal. Make sure children who begin to eat solid foods get plenty of fiber in their diets. Jan. 1. 0, 2. 01.
Constipation Causes and Treatment. Constipation is a common problem.
It means either going to the toilet less often than usual to empty the bowels, or passing hard or painful stools (faeces). Constipation may be caused by not eating enough fibre, or not drinking enough fluids.
It can also be a side- effect of certain medicines, or related to an underlying medical condition. In many cases, the cause is not clear. Laxatives are a group of medicines that can treat constipation. Ideally, laxatives should only be used for short periods of time until symptoms ease. Note: there is a separate leaflet on constipation in children.
What is constipation? Constipation is common. If you are constipated it causes one or more of the following: Stools (faeces) become hard and difficult or painful to pass. The time between toilet trips increases compared with your usual pattern. Note: there is a large range of normal bowel habit. Some people normally go to the toilet to pass stools 2- 3 times per day.
For others, 2- 3 times per week is normal. It is a change from your usual pattern that may mean that you are constipated.)Sometimes, crampy pains occur in the lower part of your tummy (abdomen) You may also feel bloated and feel sick if you have severe constipation.
What are the causes of constipation? Known causes include the following: Not eating enough fibre (roughage) is a common cause. The average person in the UK eats about 1. But, 1. 8 g per day is recommended by the British Nutrition Foundation. Fibre is the part of plant food that is not digested. It remains in your gut.
It adds bulk to the stools (faeces) and helps your bowels to work well. Foods high in fibre include fruit, vegetables, cereals and wholemeal bread. Not drinking much may make constipation worse. Stools are usually soft and easily passed if you eat enough fibre and drink enough fluid. However, some people need more fibre and/or fluid than others in order to avoid constipation.
Some special slimming diets are low in fibre and may cause constipation. Some medicines can cause constipation as a side- effect. Examples are painkillers (particularly those with codeine, such as co- codamol, or very strong painkillers, such as morphine), some antacids, some antidepressants (including amitriptyline) and iron tablets; however, there are many others. See the list of possible side- effects on the leaflet that comes with any medicine that you may be taking.
Tell a doctor if you suspect a medicine is making you constipated. A change of medication may be possible. Various medical conditions can cause constipation. For example, an underactive thyroid gland, irritable bowel syndrome, some gut disorders and conditions that cause poor mobility, particularly in the elderly. Pregnancy. About 1 in 5 pregnant women will become constipated. It is due to the hormonal changes of pregnancy that slow down the gut movements.
In later pregnancy, it can simply be due to the baby taking up a lot of room in the tummy and the bowels being pushed to one side. Unknown cause (idiopathic)Some people have a good diet, drink a lot of fluid, do not have a disease or take any medication that can cause constipation; however, they still become constipated. Their bowels are said to be underactive. This is quite common and is sometimes called functional constipation or primary constipation. Most cases occur in women. This condition tends to start in childhood or in early adulthood and persists throughout life. Do I need any tests?
Tests are not usually needed to diagnose constipation, because symptoms are often typical. However, tests may be advised if you have any of the following: If regular constipation is a new symptom and there is no apparent cause, such as a change in diet, lifestyle, or medication. This is known as a 'change in bowel habit' and should be investigated if it lasts for more than about six weeks. If symptoms are very severe and not helped with laxative medication.
If other symptoms develop. More worrying symptoms include passing blood from your bowel; weight loss; bouts of diarrhoea; night- time symptoms; a family history of colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis); or other unexplained symptoms in addition to constipation. What can I do to ease and to prevent constipation? These measures are often grouped together and called lifestyle advice. Eat foods that contain plenty of fibre. Fibre (roughage) is the part of plant food that is not digested. Abnormal Bilirubin Levels Adults. It stays in your gut and is passed in the stools (faeces).
Fibre adds bulk and some softness to the stools. High- fibre foods include the following: Wholemeal or whole- wheat bread, biscuits and flour. Fruit and vegetables. Aim to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day.