Chronic Constipation is a term used to describe infrequent bowel movements and difficulty in passing stools when it lasts for several weeks. Not only does constipation make you feel internally disturbed, bloated and uncomfortable, but it also hinders your ability to carry out your usual daily activities. However, it is a fairly common occurrence and can be treated by following a healthy lifestyle and managing a well-balanced diet. But proper care must be taken as chronic constipation can result in complications when not treated promptly and correctly.
What are the causes of constipation?
Variety of factors can cause chronic constipation. Some of the known factors include the following:
- Inadequate water intake
- Lack of fiber-rich food in your diet
- Insufficient or negligible physical activity
- Psychological factors such as undue stress and tension
- Disruption of regular diet or routine
- Usage of medication that triggers constipation
- Ignoring the urge to go to the toilet
Do I have it?
The frequency of bowel movements varies from person to person, and there is no definite method to determine the normal number of bowel movements. However, if you pass stool less than three times a week for more than three months, it can be termed as chronic constipation.
Common constipation symptoms:
- Difficulty in passing stools
- Less than three bowel movements in a week
- Hard or lumpy stools
- Abdominal bloating and pain
- Discomfort in the lower abdomen
- Constant feeling of incomplete bowel evacuation
- Constantly feeling weight around your midsection
- Straining to have bowel movements
- Manual maneuvers for emptying bowels
If you have experienced some, or a combination, of the above constipation symptoms for three months or more in a year, you may have chronic constipation. Fortunately, with medications such as Epsom Salts or Lactulose Solution, you can get effective relief from constipation. These supplements can help to ease constipation by regulating your bowels.
Additionally, you can prevent these symptoms by including fiber-rich foods in your diet, having regular exercises, drinking ample amounts of water and fluids, taking out time to do yoga or meditation, and cultivating a healthy lifestyle.
When to consult a Doctor?
If you frequently suffer from chronic constipation even after following a healthy diet, taking lots of fluids and indulging in regular exercise, it is advisable to get a medical evaluation to determine the cause.
Consult your doctor if you suffer from any of the following problems in addition to the regular chronic constipation symptoms:
- Anal bleeding caused by passing of hard stools
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen and hard tummy
- Uncontrollable liquid diarrhoea
- Signs of rectal bleeding
- Faecal impaction ? Dried, hard stools collected in your rectum or anus
- Possibility of rectal prolapse or hemorrhoids
These additional symptoms can be a sign of a serious disorder, and in such cases you should make sure that you visit a healthcare expert as soon as possible. With proper medical care, these symptoms can be controlled before they worsen or recur.