The definition of chronic constipation can be varied from person to person. Some people experience infrequent bowel movements for over a period of weeks time while some people feel the need to empty bowels but, are unable to do so even though they try hard for it. Doctors analyze chronic constipation as not able to empty bowels for more than three days per week that happens over a period of several months. However, this is not the precise or accurate definition of chronic constipation as people who experience chronic constipation may underestimate frequency of their bowel habits.
Constipation can be caused because of several reasons like frequent changes in your diet, not eating on time, not consuming enough water and fiber in your diet, hardly exercising, consuming lots of dairy products, irritable bowel syndrome, hypothyroidism (under active thyroid gland), consuming antacid medications that contain aluminum or calcium, pregnancy, stress, problems with digestive system’s tissues, overuse of laxatives, etc. All these conditions can cause constipation.
Chronic constipation and signs of major diseases!
Chronic constipation could also be a sign of rectal cancer. Cancer is a deadly disease wherein the cells multiply at abnormal rate. The cancerous tumor is also termed as malignant tumor. Rectal cancer occurs in rectum which is the end part of large intestine that terminates at anus.
Chronic constipation could also be a symptom of another type of cancer- gastric cancer. The cancerous tumor forms in the stomach. Gastric cancer is also referred as stomach cancer. It affects the functioning of digestive system which eventually leads to poor bowel movements and that’s how constipation sets in. Hence, chronic constipation could be an indicator of gastric cancer.
Ischemic Colitis is a disorder wherein inflammation or injury occurs to large intestine due to inadequate blood supply. Thus, it has a negative impact on emptying bowels which gradually leads to constipation
Constant straining while emptying bowels could cause anal skin to crack resulting in anal fissures. Anal fissures can be very painful and may also result in bleeding during or after bowel movements. Anal fissures need to be operated without any delay else, it could develop further and cause more pain. Fissurectomy is a surgical procedure that treats anal fissures. Patient is administered anesthesia before the surgery is commenced.
The fissures are stitched and hard skin is removed. It is an outpatient procedure which implies that patient can return home on the same day itself of surgery. Post fissurectomy, patient is advised to apply ointment prescribed by the doctor several times in a day and consume fiber rich diet. Also, the cost of fissurectomy procedure in India does not exceed few thousands.
- Other diseases which affect the nerves in intestine and that eventually leads to constipation are central nervous system injuries which include spinal cord and brain injuries, Parkinson’s disease,stroke, slow movement of food through the intestines, autonomic neuropathy and multiple sclerosis.
- Conditions that affect the muscles used in elimination of waste materials from the body include dyssynergia (condition in which pelvic muscles become weak and are unable to coordinate relaxation and contraction movement).
Chronic constipation could be a symptom of other major diseases as well. However, for exact diagnosis, one has to consult with doctor and understand the root cause of constipation so that you can work accordingly on it and decide the treatment approach.
Remedies for chronic constipation:
It’s important that one consults with doctor to get rid of chronic constipation. Doctor will prescribe you some laxatives that will help to clear your colon and rectum. Some home remedies that can prevent some relief I constipation are mentioned below:
- Fiber and lots of fiber! Fiber adds bulk to your bowels and helps to keep your colon clean. The recommended daily intake of fiber for a man is approximately 38 grams while that for a women is 25 grams. For older people, the daily intake of fiber is less. Fiber contains roughage which is not digested by our body and provides absolutely no nutritional benefits. But, still it is an important component of balanced diet because it helps in formation of bowels. Without adequate roughage, bowels don’t get emptied easily. Good sources of fiber are whole cereals, fresh fruits, beans, nuts, popcorn, brown rice etc.
- Drink green tea. Green tea aids in digestion and helps in clearing bowel movements. If you are bored with plain version of green tea, you can try various flavors that will delight your taste buds. You can try different flavors like mint green tea, lemon-honey green tea, dandelion green tea, chamomile green tea etc.
- Exercise also helps in treating constipation to a certain extent. Exercise increases your metabolic rate and gives your muscles a good workout.
- You can try some laxatives or medicated oils that provide some relief in times of constipation.
- Do not forget to consume lots of water and fluids. Water along with fiber is essential for smooth bowel movements. Instead of plain drinking water, you can consume coconut water, sugar cane juice, fresh fruit juices, soups, broths, vegetable juices, herb infused water, smoothies etc. to keep your body hydrated.
Constipation if it continues for more than few days should not be ignored. Consult your doctor as early as possible. As discussed in the article, chronic constipation could be a sign of major disease! Hence, its better if the diseases are diagnosed in the early stages. Remember, if your gut is healthy, you are healthy!
Chronic constipation could be a sign of major diseases. Most of the disorders associated with gastric muscles and pelvic muscles reveal constipation as their symptoms. Hence, for precise and exact diagnosis, one should consult with doctor without further delay.
Renuka Agrawal is certified in home health aide from Healthcare sector. She possesses proficient knowledge about various health related issues, diseases and treatments.