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Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTH CONDITIONS

Constipation

Overview
Symptoms
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Doctors to Consult
Overview

Common name

Tibe (Fil.)

Constipation is difficult or infrequent passage of hard, dry stool, usually fewer than three times a week, and leaves a feeling of incomplete evacuation. People who are constipated may have difficult and painful bowel movements.

Constipation most often occur in women and adults age 65 and over. Pregnant women may have constipation, and it is a common problem following childbirth or surgery.

Symptoms
  • Difficulty in starting or completing a bowel movement
  • Stool thickening
  • Infrequent bowel movement and/or difficult stool passage
  • Painful evacuation of feces
  • Abdominal fullness or pain
  • Distended abdomen, headaches, and loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
Risk Factors
  • Lack of fiber results in harder, more compact stools.
  • Inadequate fluid intake
  • Lack of exercise can slow down the muscle contractions that move waste matter through the bowel
  • Congenital condition
  • Pregnancy, menopause and menstruation-hormonal and physical changes are probable causes
  • Constipation can be caused by stress but stress can also be a symptom of constipation
  • Depression
  • Most bodily functions slow down with age and the digestive system is just one of them
  • Some commonly used medicines are known to cause constipation, particularly certain painkillers (e.g., codeine), iron tablets and some antacids (e.g., aluminum hydroxide)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) sufferers often have constipation, sometimes alternating with diarrhea. In IBS, cramping pains and discomfort in the bowel and rectum are common
  • Laxative overuse
  • Eating an excessive amount of dairy products
  • Regular diet or routine disruption
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
  • Laxatives increase the frequency and ease of bowel movements. There are distinct classes of laxatives, w/c function differently and have varying degrees of effectiveness and potential side effects.
  • Bulk-forming laxatives generally are considered the safest but can interfere with absorption of some medicines. These laxatives, also known as fiber supplements, are taken with water. They absorb water in the intestine and make the stool softer. Drugs: bran, malt, methylcellulose, polycarbophil, psyllium
  • Saline and Osmotic Laxatives creates an osmotic gradient to pull water into the small and large intestine. The increased volume results in detention of the intestinal lumen, causing increased peristalsis and bowel movement. Drugs: magnesium citrate, magnesium hydroxide, sodium phosphate, glycerin, lactulose, sorbitol
  • Stimulants cause rhythmic muscle contractions in the intestines to eliminate stool. These laxatives are recommended for short-term use only. Drugs: bisacodyl, castor oil, dehydrocholic acid, senna, sodium picosulfate
  • Stool softeners provide moisture to the stool and prevent dehydration. These laxatives are often recommended after childbirth or surgery. Drugs: docusate
  • Lubricants grease the stool enabling it to move through the intestine more easily. Drugs: mineral oil
Treatment and Management
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat a healthy, high-fiber diet that includes fresh vegetables and fruits. Dietary fiber provides the bulk that helps to speed the passage of waste food through the bowel.
  • Regularly practice relaxation that also relaxes the bowel.
  • Drink plenty of water, especially in hot weather. The body needs 1.5-2 litres of fluids a day to function efficiently. Without sufficient fluids, waste matter dries out, making it harder to move through the bowel.
  • Limit foods that have little or no fiber, such as ice cream, meat, chips, and pre-packaged frozen dinners.
  • Limit caffeine, alcohol, and sodas, as they tend to dry out the stool Heed nature's call. Allow enough time to have a bowel movement
Home Remedies
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