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How to Avoid Constipation?

Published on Jan 17, 2019 and last reviewed on Jun 20, 2022   -  5 min read

Abstract

Constipation is so common that everyone has it at one time or another. Read this article to know more about it.

Contents
How to Avoid Constipation?

What Is Constipation?

Constipation is a condition of having fewer than three bowel movements a week. Chronic constipation is defined as irregular bowel movements or difficult passage of stools lasting for several weeks or longer. Though occasional constipation is a common problem, some people can also experience chronic constipation that can interfere with their ability to perform daily tasks. It may also cause people to strain excessively.

What Causes Constipation?

Constipation most commonly happens when waste or stool moves too slowly through the digestive tract or cannot be appropriately eliminated from the rectum, causing the stool to become hard and dry. Constipation has many possible causes.

Common Causes:

Uncommon Causes:

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Constipation?

The common signs and symptoms of constipation include:

How Is Constipation Diagnosed?

In addition to a general physical examination and a digital rectal examination, healthcare providers may recommend the following diagnostic tests and procedures to diagnose constipation and try to find the root cause:

Blood Tests: The doctor may recommend blood tests to check for systemic conditions such as hypothyroidism or high calcium levels.

X-Ray: An X-ray can help the doctor determine whether the intestines are blocked and whether the stool is present throughout the colon.

Other Imaging Tests: Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be ordered to detect other problems causing constipation.

Colonoscopy: This diagnostic test allows the health care professional to examine the entire colon with a flexible, camera-equipped tube.

Colorectal Transit Studies: These tests involve swallowing a capsule containing either a radiopaque marker or a wireless recording device and then tracking the amount of time and how well the substance moves through the colon.

Defecography: In this procedure, the doctor inserts a soft paste made of barium into the rectum. The barium appears on X-rays and may show a prolapse or muscle function and coordination problems.

Balloon Expulsion Test: This test is often used in conjugation with anorectal manometry. It measures the time it takes for an individual to push out a balloon that has been filled with water and placed in the rectum.

How Is Constipation Treated?

Treatment for constipation typically begins with diet and lifestyle modifications to increase the speed at which stool moves through the intestines. The doctor may recommend medications or surgery if lifestyle and dietary changes fail to help.

Diet and Lifestyle Changes:

One can manage most cases of mild to moderate constipation at home. Some self-care tips to help relieve constipation include:

Laxatives:

Several laxatives are available, and each laxative works differently to make it easier to have a bowel movement. The following are over-the-counter laxatives:

Prescription Medications:

If over-the-counter medications do not help treat constipation, the doctor may recommend the following prescription medications:

Surgery:

Surgery is rarely needed to treat constipation. However, the doctor may recommend surgery if a structural problem in the colon causes constipation. Examples include blockage in the colon, a narrowing in a portion of the intestine, a tear in the anus, or the collapse of part of the rectum into the vagina.

How Is Constipation Prevented?

Prevention tips may include:

Conclusion:

Constipation is a condition of fewer than three bowel movements a week, usually due to changes in diet or routine or inadequate fiber intake. See a doctor if a person notices a difference in the bowel pattern or interferes with their ability to perform daily tasks.

Last reviewed at:
20 Jun 2022  -  5 min read

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Pritam Mohapatra
Pritam Mohapatra
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