What is constipation?
Constipation affects various people and can be very painful. It is defined as difficulty having a poop fewer than three times a week. There are many possible causes of constipation. They may include diet, medications, and lifestyle factors. Nevertheless, you can look for effective constipation treatment if symptoms trouble you.
What are the symptoms of constipation?
The symptoms of such a condition can vary from person to person. However, the frequent among them may include-
- Difficulty passing stool
- Straining to pass stool
- Feelings like you have to go, but not being able to
- Hard or dry stools
- Pain when having a bowel movement
- Feeling bloated or gassy
What leads to defecation problems?
When people are constipated, they feel difficulties with bowel movements or lack of them. Most people experience it at least once. However, this is not a usual health problem, and you should address this condition thoroughly. Your doctor may help find well-working constipation treatment. However, possible causes for this condition are-
For most people, constipation is caused by what they eat and drink. Some foods can cause constipation. On the other hand, others promote the laxative effect. The main dietary causes of bowel movements problems include-
- Lack of enough fiber in the diet
- Lack of liquids and fluids
- Vitamin deficiency
- Excessive use of food additives or medications
In addition, many people with a sedentary lifestyle or those who are physically inactive also tend to become constipated. It is mainly because their body does not demand movement, which stimulates the intestines, thus encouraging bowel movement. Besides lack of physical activity, the bad habit of withholding stool can cause constipation. It impedes the muscles of the intestinal tract from working the way, they should.
Many people with intestinal health problems, such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic floor dysfunction, and even anal fissures, may experience defecation problems. These health conditions can lead to narrowing or blockage of the intestine. Moreover, they lead to a slowed transit time of stool through the intestines, which changes the composition of the poop, making it harder to pass.
Constipation treatment may rely upon your existing condition in such cases.
Medications and Supplements
Irregular and stiff bowel movements are a common side effect of many medications. They include painkillers, iron supplements, antacids containing calcium carbonate, and prescription medications for certain conditions. Such conditions may be Parkinson’s disease and depression. Additionally, some herbs and dietary supplements can also cause constipation.
The most common causes of constipation are related to the spine or nervous system. They include multiple sclerosis, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease. In such cases, a disorder of the central nervous system can cause paralysis of digestion. In addition, different forms of medications for the treatment of advanced cancer may cause bowel obstruction in some patients. They particularly include those with tumors in their intestinal tract. Moreover, a family history of colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may be the basis for constipation. Such cases need medical attention.
What medications can help treat bowel obstruction?
Medications can be a very effective non-invasive constipation treatment. A variety of different medications exist those impact bowels. These medications help relieve the symptoms or slow down bowel movements. Some types are indicated for short-term use (generally less than two weeks). On the other hand, others are prescribed long-term. Your doctor may suggest one of these medications try out. It is not an all-inclusive list. However, most of the common ones that pertain to constipation are mentioned here. You can talk over them with your doctor or pharmacist.
What symptoms of bowel stiffness do these medications treat?
You must understand what symptoms the medication help treat. Moreover, it is significant to know cautions for taking the medication. Discuss all of these matters with your physician before taking a new medication. In many cases, your doctor may give you a prescription to try out for one week. If it works well, you can continue on that treatment regimen.
Medications for temporary use (less than 15 days)
- Docusate Sodium
This medication can assist in short-term constipation treatment. It works by adding a bit of extra fluid to the stool, causing it to become bulkier and easier for your body to pass. Your doctor may suggest a dosage between 50-75mg per day. They are divided into doses (one dose taken before each meal). You can purchase Docusate Sodium over the counter. Moreover, it is available under various brand names. It is vital to speak with your doctor before taking any medications, even over-the-counter ones.
This medication is synthetic sugar. It works by drawing water into the intestines and softening the stool. You can purchase the medication over the counter in liquid form. It generally comes in a 15ml bottle. One teaspoon of liquid contains roughly 7 grams of lactulose. However, take this constipation treatment as your physician prescribes. The dosage amount and frequency may vary depending upon what your doctor feels is right for you.
Medications for long term use (more than 15 days)
Doctors prescribe using Lubiprostone every day. It works by stimulating receptors on muscles in the intestine to produce a muscle contraction. This action allows the intestinal muscles to start pushing waste through more efficiently. Therefore, it relieves constipation symptoms. Your doctor may likely only prescribe lubiprostone for long-term use. Moreover, he or she may also recommend using it as needed if you struggle with a chronic bowel obstruction that does not respond to other forms of treatment. Dosing is typically between 24mcg and 48mcg at the first sign of defecation problems. It may increase to 72-96mcg as needed. However, remember to use this medicine on an empty stomach before getting up in the morning.
- Magnesium Hydroxide (Milk of Magnesia)
This medication can help relieve constipation by adding extra fluid to the stool. You can take it in a dosage of 500-1500mg before getting up in the morning. Moreover, you can also use it at night before bed until your symptoms resolve. Do not use this constipation treatment for more than 2 weeks. In addition, speak to your doctor before continuing this medication long-term.
- Bisacodyl (Dulcolax)
Bisacodyl can help relieve bowel obstruction by adding extra fluid to the stool. You can take it in a dosage of 5-10mg before getting up in the morning and at night before bed until your symptoms resolve. However, you should follow this treatment for no more than two weeks. Speak to your doctor about continuing it long-term if you think it is necessary. In addition, you must follow the dosage instructions carefully when taking bisacodyl. Overdosing can cause diarrhea.
What should you do when you are constipated?
Start with mild exercises and keep doing it regularly. It will stimulate the bowel. In addition, it will eventually result in a healthy bowel movement.
Increase your fiber intake to ease constipation. It becomes crucial if you suffer from hard stools, straining, etc. Moreover, you may need to add fiber supplements to get the desired results in your constipation treatment.
Drink lots of fluids. It will help you to increase your bowel movement and prevent dehydration. Water is the best fluid for this purpose as it is 100% natural and calorie-free. Additionally, you should drink be at least 8-10 glasses of water every day, depending on your activity level and body size.
- Warm baths
Taking a warm bath can help relax your muscles and stimulate the bowel for easy passage.
Eating prunes are effective in treating the problem of hard poops. It also contains antioxidants, which are beneficial for the body’s organs. Exercise & Yoga
Include yoga exercises in your daily activity, especially Sun Salutation and Surya Namaskar. They help tone up the body and relax the mind.
- Change in diet
If you are not active enough or your diet does not contain fiber-rich foods, make changes to your diet. In addition, try to include whole grains, cereals, fruits, vegetables, and legumes in your diet for effective results in your constipation treatment.
- Take a probiotics
Consuming probiotics helps to keep the good bacteria intact in your body. They make food more digestible. Moreover, they prevent constipation while stimulating your intestine to contract naturally.
- Peel it
If you consume fruits with peels, such as bananas and apples, make sure you eat them with the skin on them. Most of the time, we remove the skin to get the fruit easily. There are fibers present in their skin, which help treat hard poops naturally.
- Don’t strain
If you tend to strain too much during defecation, it can lead to piles or hemorrhoids. Therefore, try to relax and let the stool pass easily.
These are some dos, which you can follow during bowel obstruction. Just make sure that you are regular with them and do not miss any of these essential tips. You will see good results in your constipation treatment in no time!
What things you should not do during constipation?
You should avoid a few things when you suffer from defecation problems. They can aggravate the problem. However, some of the don’t’s during such a condition are-
- Don’t rely on laxatives
Laxatives might offer short-term relief. However, they can also be addictive and cause problems, such as dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and dependence. For this reason, it is finest to keep them away as much as possible.
- Don’t use suppositories
In some cases, the doctor may prescribe a rectal suppository for treating constipation. However, if you can keep them away, do so. You can use other natural remedies instead of a suppository, which may offer instant relief.
- Don’t ignore the urge to poop
Many people try to hold in their bowel movements when they are constipated. This only makes the problem worse. It is significant to go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge. This helps the stool not to get harder to pass. In addition, making your body clean when needed can help with your constipation treatment.
- Don’t sit for long hours
This is another thing you should avoid doing if you are facing the problem of stiff poops. Sitting for long hours without any physical activity can make the condition worse. Therefore, get up and move around every half an hour. It will also keep your body active.
- Don’t eat fast
Eating fast can also lead to problems such as indigestion and constipation. Therefore, chew your food properly and eat slowly to allow your stomach enough time to digest the food properly.
- Don’t drink alcohol
Drinking alcohol can dehydrate your body and make the condition worse. Therefore, if you are suffering from bowel obstruction, it is best to avoid drinking alcohol altogether.
These are some of the don’ts you should keep in mind if have constipation. Just make sure that you do not do any of these things. You will see a noticeable improvement in your condition!
How can you prevent the defecation problem?
You can prevent or avoid hard stools by-
- Drinking water
The body needs water to function. Moreover, water is also essential for the food and waste to go through your digestive system. If you do not drink enough water, your stools (poop) will get very dry and hard to pass through your bottom. This condition leads to bowel obstruction. Therefore, you should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to help with constipation treatment.
- Eating more fruit and vegetables
The fiber in fruit, vegetables, and whole-grain foods can soften your poop. Do not eat too much fat or sugar because they make your stools hard.
- Do not have fizzy drinks
Drinking fizzy drinks can increase the pressure in your stomach and lead to constipation. Therefore, avoid them to prevent such a condition.
- Getting into a normal pattern
It is best if you go to the toilet at the same time each day. It helps your body get used to having a bowel movement at that time.
- Exercising regularly
Exercise helps to move food and waste through your digestive system.