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Constipation

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Constipation

Constipation

In general, fewer than three bowel movements a week is considered to be constipation. The slower the food moves through the digestive tract, the more water colon will absorb from it; resulting in poor bowel emptying. Though occasional constipation is common, some people experience long-standing constipation which may affect their everyday life.


Causative

Constipation may result from,
1.Physical Inactivity
2.Lack of fiber in diet
3.Inadequate fluid intake
4.Physical inactivity
5.Drugs like narcotic pain drugs, antidepressants, diuretics, anticonvulsants etc
6.Eating disorders
7.Irritable Bowel Syndrome
8.Hypothyroidism
9.Pregnancy


Blockages in the colon or rectum arising from anal fissure, colon cancer, rectal cancer bowel obstruction etc may also cause constipation.


Symptoms

1.Infrequent bowel movements
2.Swollen belly
3.Flatulence
4.Bloating>
5.Nausea and vomiting
6.Loss of appetite


Diagnosis

Physical examination will reveal the presence of hard stools in the intestine. Besides,, a doctor may suggest:
1.Blood test for checking hyperthyroidism
2.Sigmoidoscopy wherein a lighted tube with a camera on the end is used to examine the rectum and lower parts of the colon.
3.Colonoscopy - a camera-equipped flexible tube is used to examine the entire colon.
4.Anorectal manometry for checking the anal sphincter muscle function.
5.Barium enema for detecting the disease of colon Upright plain X-ray of the chest and abdomen to check for intestinal obstruction.


Treatment and Prevention

Treatment for chronic constipation starts with dietary changes meant to increase the bowel movements such as increasing the intake of more fiber containing food, doing more exercises, and drinking more fluid/water. Doctors recommend cutting back on milk, caffeine, and alcohol. Medications like laxative should use if changing dietary habits doesn’t work. Usually, a prescription medication is recommended if laxatives don’t help and the patient has IBS. Surgical removal is the last resort if other treatments are ineffective in controlling constipation.