It refers to infrequent bowel movements, but it may also refer to a decrease in the volume of stool, the need to strain, a sense of incomplete evacuation/the need for laxatives/suppositories/ enemas in order to maintain regular bowels.
When a person passes less than three bowel movements in a week or has difficult/infrequent bowel movements that may persists for several weeks or longer, then all these collective signs and symptoms shows that he/she is suffering from constipation or chronic constipation.
- Few Bowel movements.
- Troubled bowel movements
- Hard/small stools
- a sense that everything didn’t come out which creates irritation in body.
- belly bloating
- pain and cramping in the abdomen
- loss of appetite
According to Ayurveda
the following are the general types of imbalances at the source of most chronic conditions which leads to constipation.
- Toxins accumulating in tissues and blocking circulations.
- Poor nutrition leads to -weakness- fatigue-burning sensation in eye, etc.
- Imbalance of the nervous system which leads to sleep disturbances.
- Accumulation of physical and mental stress.
- Lowering of natural resistance and immunity.
- Disruption of natural biological rhythms.
WHEN TO SEE YOUR DOCTOR FOR CONSTIPATION DISEASE ?
- When you are facing severe pain with bowel movements and when your constipation has lasted more than two weeks, then to stop it to become more severe and chronic consult doctor immediately.
- When during constipation, blood in stool comes then it may shows the sign of severe constipation. In this condition, you should consult doctor soon.
- When signs and symptoms of constipation becomes more severe, then without any delay you should go to the doctor clinic immediate.
- Fainting , breathing problems, extended, bloated abdomen that is rigid to touch, high fever , severe abdominal pain, severe rectal bleeding, these all shows severe symptoms of constipation, requires doctor consultation as soon as possible.
CAUSES AND RISK FACTOR
- Lack of fibre in the diet.
- Suppression of urge of defecation.
- Lack of physical activity.
- Hard, solid food having less liquid.
- Cold, dry and astringent rich food.
- Lack of activity.
- Junk food, bakery products.
- Irritable bowel syndrome.
- change in lifestyle.
- aging and travel
- abuse of laxatives.
- specific diseases such as stroke.
- chronic idiopathic constipation.
- Eating a diet that’s lower in fiber.
- Dehydration for long time.
- Woman, older adult are at risk.
- No physical activity.
- Mental Stress.
- Intake of certain medications like sedatives, opioid pain medications, some antidepressants or medications to lower blood pressure.
- Mental health conditions which may be depression / eating disorder.
- Stroke and specific major diseases.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- High fiber foods to be included in diet.
- Beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grain, cereals and bran to be include in diet.
- Processed foods, dairy and meat products contain low amount of fibre so try to consume less amount of low fibre foods in diet.
- Must include exercise in your daily schedule.
- Try to manage stress, include some activities and hobbies in your daily schedule.
- Stay as active as possible.
- Don’t ignore the urge to pass stool as it may leads to hemorrhoids, hernia etc.
PHYSICAL EXAMINATION - it mainly includes blood pressure ,temperature and heart rate checkups and abdomen sound to be listen by stethoscope, abdomen checkups for swelling, tenderness or pain, masses, or lumps.Rectal exam is also examine by Doctor.
- Blood tests, stool tests, urine tests.
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy.
- Biopsy for signs of cancer.
- Radiopaque markers.
- Anorectal manometry.
- Balloon expulsion test.
- Lower gastrointestinal (GI) series, MRI, CT scan( to look other problems that may cause constipation).
GENERAL TIPS/HOME REMEDIES
- Take 500ml of water (early morning) +walk for (10 minutes )to relieve gas =stimulate VATA to induce urge to pass stool.
- Increase amount of drinking water daily.
- Eat more fibre, especially soluble, non-fermentable.
- More exercise and active participation in various activities and hobbies.
- Pro-biotic foods and pro-biotic supplements to intake.
- Prescriptive Laxatives.
- Fennel powder with warm water.
- Mint / Ginger tea.
- Lemon juice with warm water.
- Increase dietary fiber,i.e., eat whole grain foods which helps in relieving constipation.
- Increase fresh fruits and vegetable intake.
- In case of severe constipation= (two teaspoonful of castor oil+milk )is very helpful.
WHAT TO AVOID ?
- Pasteurized milk.
- Cooked eggs.
- Overcooked meats.
- Refined starch.
- Avoid eating lot of spices, fried foods, frozen food and food/drinks with preservatives.
- Don’t suppress natural urges.
WHAT TO EAT ?
- Drink plenty of water daily.
- Eating freshly cooked food is helpful.
- Spices like cumin seeds/coriander/turmeric powder/fennel/asafetida are good as they make the food easily digestive.
- Proper chewing of food is very important as it makes easy passage for food.
- Take plenty of leafy vegetables and salads.
- Drinking a glass of warm milk (NIGHT)
- Dry fruits like raisins,/dates / figs to be soaked overnight and eaten in the morning.
- Include more fruits like grapes, lemon, apples, banana, oranges,etc. In your daily diet.
- Eat steamed fresh vegetables.
- Green leafy vegetables.
- Papaya works good on constipation to take twice in a day.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q.1) How common is constipation?
Ans.- Constipation is a symptom rather than a disease, in which bowel movements occur 3/fewer times in a week. It is the one of the most common digestive complaints in various developed and developing countries.
Q.2) Which drugs are responsible for constipation?
Ans.- There are several medications like opioid pain relievers like Morphine, Codeine, anticholinergic drugs like atropine, antispasmodics like dicyclomine, tricyclic antidepressants , etc. Apart from these all kinds of drug, inactive physical activities and lifestyle are also responsible for constipation.
Q.3) Is there any Ayurveda treatment for constipation? If yes, then how it deals?
Ans.- Yes, Ayurveda do have treatment which mainly includes Panchakarma treatment and procedures like abhyanga, varti, niruha, anuvasana, virechana,etc, and recommended classical and proprietary formulations ayurveda medications in it.
Q.4) When constipation becomes more severe?
Ans.- It seems that when constipation lasts for more than two weeks with severe signs and symptoms like bowel habits changing, obstruction, Inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer etc. Then it is considered severe.
Q.5) Why constipation becomes more severe in old age?
Ans.- As a person grew older, his lifestyle and daily physical exercise and routine becomes less active. Some people in old age take lots of blood pressure medications, avoid drinking more water, diverticular diseases, GERD, etc causes can cause severe constipation in them.
Q.6) What causes Constipation during pregnancy?
Ans.- During pregnancy, an increase in the levels of progesterone hormones occurs that causes the muscles of your body, including the intestinal muscles to relax and slow down. With the slowing down of the muscles, the process of digestion in the pregnant woman’s body too slow down.
Q.7) How laxatives relieve constipation?
Ans.- Laxatives contain chemicals that help increase stool motility, bulk, and frequency - thus relieving temporary constipation. But overdose and misuse of laxatives can cause severe problems and chronic constipation. It’s better to consult doctor first before taking any laxatives.
Q.8) What are the complications of constipation?
Ans.- Most common complication include discomfort and irritation that can lead to hemorrhoids, rectal bleeding, anal fissures, rectal prolapse, fecal impaction.
Q.9) How changing diet helps to relief from constipation?
Ans.- Your diet mainly include good sources of fiber, it softens stool, making it easier to pass. Good sources of fiber include whole-grain bread - cereals- fruits-vegetables- beans. With fiber source food, your diet must include plenty of fluids and water in it.
Q.10) How irritable bowel syndrome related with constipation?
Ans.- IBS ( Irritable bowel syndrome) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Constipation is one of the severe symptom of IBS. It is commonly known as IBS-C ( IBS- Constipation) that causes frequent bloating, abdominal pain, and infrequent stools that are hard to pass.