As a common occurrence with regard to bowel movement, constipation technically referred to as ‘Dyssnergic defacation’, constipation implies a situation of difficulty in the passage of bowels. The difficulty usually includes those during the passage of bowels or defecation, too irregular bowel movements and lingering sense of incomplete bowel excretion. Constipation which is a symptom of some kind of physiological irregularity can be caused owing to various reasons

Causes of Constipation

  • Insufficient fiber content in diet or faulty dietary habits may lead to constipation.
  • Little consumption of water and fluid also cause consumption.
  • Sedentary life style with too little physical activity can also lead to constipation.
  • Amongst the more serious problems causing constipation, 'hypothyroidism' or inactivity of thyroid gland deserves mention.
  • Quite a few physiological disorders or structural obstructions such as lesions, tumors, colon cancer, pelvic dysfunction and Parkinson’s disease may also lead to constipation.
  • Many medicines such as pain killers, antidepressants and antihistamines are also responsible for causing constipation.
  • Physiological problems related to metabolism such as hypercalcemia, diabetes and fibrosis can also cause constipation.
  • Psychological cause leading to constipation includes tendency to withhold stool. Such a tendency also contributes to constipation.
  • Constipation may occur in new born babies if they are fed with processed or tinned food.
  • Even among small children and toddlers, constipation may develop due to lack of proper toilet training.
  • A relationship has also been found between stress and constipation of the primary type.

Symptoms of Constipation

  • Irregularities in bowel movement with motion being restricted to twice or thrice in number if calculated on weekly basis.
  • Problematic defection giving way to straining and in extreme cases may also lead to bleeding following wear and tear of the anal passage.
  • A feeling of irritating sensation on account of the irregularly incomplete bowel movements.
  • Constipation may also give way to the symptoms of piles.
  • Constipation is typically characterized by the passage of hard bowels.
  • Loss of appetite is also common in constipation as the process of digestion is disrupted.

Various Types of Constipation

  • Constipation may be divided into three types congenital, primary and secondary.
  • When congenitally present, it may be one of the innate or hereditary characteristics of an individual.
  • Primary constipation which is quite common is due to faulty eating and life style regimen.
  • Secondary constipation on the other hand entails a serious situation as it’s triggered by some physical obstruction on the way to the passage of bowels or other difficulties in the ano rectal tract including the presence of fissures, prolapsed muscles and abscesses.

Diagnosis of Constipation

  • The symptoms of constipation can always be self diagnosed. But if it becomes abnormally severe with the excretion of mucus and blood, it is imperative that you seek immediate medical attention.
  • Clinical diagnosis includes digital examination of Per rectum.
  • It also compulsorily involves routine culture of stool besides blood and urine.
  • Examination after administering Barium based enema.
  • Proctoscopy and Sigmoidiscopy are also prescribed to trace the underlying cause of constipation.

Treatment For Constipation

  • For treatment of chronic constipation, sometimes laxative based medications are prescribed. But laxatives besides producing other side effects also serve to disrupt the chemical balance of human body.
  • With the purpose of cleansing the colon; enemas prescribed by physicians have better role to play.
  • Treatment geared to constipation also includes ascertaining its underlying physiological source. If the cause is secondary related to some other diseases and physical obstruction; entirely a different set of medication and course of treatment are adopted.

Self Care and Constipation Preventive Measures

  • Mostly occurring due to erroneous dietary habits and lifestyle centric reasons, a number of steps gearing to rectify lifestyle and eating habits will go a long way in ensuring relief.
  • Instead of going for junk or packaged food which dominates the eating habits of modern men, a balanced diet insisting upon sufficient helpings of sprouts, citrus fruits, green and yellow vegetables should be opted for.
  • While opting for citrus and non citrus fruits, having them in solid form is always a preferable option over having them as juices or drinks. Biting and chewing of food helps the secretion of enzymes which aid digestion and lead to the absorption of dietary fibers whereby constipation is relieved.
  • Having food according to a fixed regimen following proper intervals between meals also serves to control constipation apart from aiding the process of digestion.
  • Regular consumption of yogurt or buttermilk made out of yogurt with a dash of lemon squeezed into it is also useful for relieving constipation.
  • Whole grain cereals containing husks should be opted for rather than including refined ones made of white flour or polished rice.
  • For children suffering from constipation proper toilet habit needs to be inculcated so that there is no urge to withhold motion.
  • Physical exercises including brisk walking and certain yogic postures are also effective in curbing constipation.