Constipation


Constipation is an acute or chronic condition in which bowel movements occur less often than usual or consist of hard, dry stools that are painful or difficult to pass. Bowel habits vary, but an adult who has not had a bowel movement in three days or a child who has not had a bowel movement in four days is considered constipated.
Constipation is one of the most common medical complaints in the UK. It can occur at any age and is more common among individuals who resist the urge to move their bowels at the body’s signal. This often happens when children start school or enter daycare and feel shy about asking permission to use the bathroom. Constipation is more common in women than in men and often occur during pregnancy. Age alone does not increase the frequency of constipation, but elderly people are more likely to suffer from the condition.

Although this condition is rarely serious, it can lead to:
  • bowel obstruction
  • chronic constipation
  • hemorrhoids (a mass of dilated veins in swollen tissue around the anus)
  • hernia (a protrusion of an organ through a tear in the muscle wall)
  • spastic colitis (irritable bowel syndrome, a condition characterized by alternating periods of diarrhea and constipation)
  • laxative dependency
Chronic constipation may be a symptom of colorectal cancer, depression, diabetes, diverticulosis (small pouches in the muscles of the large intestine), lead poisoning, or Parkinson’s disease. An opioid overdose (as in excessive codeine from cough suppressants or heroin addiction) also may result in constipation. In someone who is elderly or disabled, constipation may be a symptom of bowel impaction, a more serious condition in which feces are trapped in the lower part of the large intestine. A doctor should be called if an elderly or disabled person is constipated for more than a week or if a child seems to be constipated.
A doctor should be notified whenever constipation occurs after starting a new prescription, vitamin, or mineral supplement or is accompanied by blood in the stools, changes in bowel patterns,
fever, or abdominal pain.
Diagnosis
Everyone becomes constipated once in a while, but a doctor should be notified if significant changes in bowel patterns last for more than a week or if symptoms continue more than three weeks after increasing activity and fiber and fluid intake.
The patient’s observations and medical history help a primary care physician diagnose constipation. The doctor uses his fingers to see if there is a hardened mass in the abdomen and may perform a rectal examination. Other diagnostic procedures include a barium enema, which reveals blockage inside the intestine; laboratory analysis of blood and stool samples for internal bleeding or other symptoms of systemic disease; and a sigmoidoscopy (examination of the sigmoid area of the colon with a flexible tube equipped with a magnifying lens). Physical and psychological assessments and a detailed history of bowel habits are especially important when an elderly person complains of constipation.
Causes & symptoms
Constipation usually results from not getting enough exercise, not drinking enough water or clear fluids, or from a diet that does not include an adequate amount of fiber-rich foods like beans, bran cereals, fruits, raw vegetables, rice, and whole-grain breads.
Other causes of constipation include anal fissure (a tear or crack in the lining of the anus), chronic kidney failure, colon or rectal cancer, depression, hypercalcemia (abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood), hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland), illness requiring complete bed rest, irritable bowel syndrome, imbalanced bowel from food and flora allergies, and stress.
Constipation can also be a side effect of:
aluminum salts in antacids
antihistamines
antipsychotic drugs
aspirin
beta blockers (medications used to stabilize irregular heartbeat, lower high blood pressure, reduce chest pain)
blood pressure medications
calcium channel blockers (medication prescribed to treat high blood pressure, chest pain, some types of irregular heartbeat and stroke, some non-cardiac diseases)
codeine or opioids.
diuretics (drugs that promote the formation and secretion of urine)
iron or calcium supplements
narcotics (potentially addictive drugs that relieve pain and cause mood changes)
tricyclic antidepressants (medications prescribed to treat chronic pain, depression, headaches, and other illnesses) An adult who is constipated may feel bloated, have a headache, swollen abdomen, pass rock-like feces, or strain, bleed, or feel pain during bowel movements. A constipated baby may strain, cry, draw the legs toward the abdomen, or arch the back when having a bowel movement.
Treatment
Initially, your practitioner will suggest to drink an sufficient amount of water each day (six to eight glasses), exercise on a regular basis, and eat a diet high in soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fibers include pectin, flax, and gums. Insoluble fibers include psyllium and brans from grains like wheat and oats. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain both soluble and insoluble fibers, and since constipation is aggravated by folate, calcium, and magnesium deficiencies, sources of these nutrients, such as asparagus, spinach, parsley, and other dark green leafy vegetables, should be part of the daily diet. Various fruit juices can also help maintain normal bowel function; sorbitol, the natural sugar found in apple juice has known laxative properties. Castor oil, applied topically to the abdomen and covered by a heat source (a heating pad or hot water bottle), can help relieve constipation when used nightly for 20-30 minutes.

If changes in diet and activity fail to relieve occasional constipation, an over-the-counter laxative may be used for a few days. Preparations that soften stools or add bulk (bran, psyllium, ducosate sodium) work more slowly but are safer than Epsom salts and other harsh laxatives or herbal laxatives containing senna (Cassia senna) or buckthorn (Rhamnus purshianna), which, if used long term, can harm the nerves and lining of the colon because they are peristaltic stimulants. A woman who is pregnant should never use a laxative. She can use flaxseed, bran, prunes, or oatmeal. Anyone who is experiencing abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting should also avoid laxatives. Expected results
Changes in diet and exercise quiet often eliminate the problem of constipation.

Colonics administered by a trained colonic therapists, using state-of-the-art colonic hydrotherapy equipment ensures maximum efficacy and safety, and is the perfect procedure to eliminate constipation, detoxify the major organs of elimination and restore normal bowel function.
The procedure makes the colon muscles work, so building up their strength. By repeating the process over a few months, their strength can be restored. Together with possible changes in diet, Colon Hydrotherapy can have a dramatic impact on constipation.