Suffering From Constipation | BlackDoctor

    Suffering From Constipation

    Constipation is passage of small amounts of hard, dry bowel movements,
    usually fewer than three times a week. People who are constipated may find it
    difficult and painful to have a bowel movement. Other symptoms of constipation
    include feeling bloated, uncomfortable, and sluggish.

    Many people think they are constipated when, in fact, their bowel movements
    are regular. For example, some people believe they are constipated, or
    irregular, if they do not have a bowel movement every day. However, there is no
    right number of daily or weekly bowel movements. Normal may be three times a day
    or three times a week depending on the person. Also, some people naturally have
    firmer stools than others.

    At one time or another, almost everyone gets constipated. Poor diet and lack
    of exercise are usually the causes. In most cases, constipation is temporary and
    not serious. Understanding its causes, prevention, and treatment will help most
    people find relief.

    Who gets constipated?

    According to the 1996 National Health Interview Survey, about 3 million
    people in the United States have frequent constipation. Those reporting
    constipation most often are women and adults age 65 and over. Pregnant women may
    have constipation, and it is a common problem following childbirth or
    surgery.

    Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints in the
    United States, resulting in about 2 million doctor visits annually. However,
    most people treat themselves without seeking medical help, as is evident from
    the millions of dollars Americans spend on laxatives each year.

    What causes constipation?

    To understand constipation, it helps to know how the colon (large intestine)
    works. As food moves through the colon, it absorbs water while forming waste
    products, or stool. Muscle contractions in the colon push the stool toward the
    rectum. By the time stool reaches the rectum, it is solid because most of the
    water has been absorbed.

    The hard and dry stools of constipation occur when the colon absorbs too much
    water or if the colon’s muscle contractions are slow or sluggish, causing the
    stool to move through the colon too slowly. Common causes of constipation
    are

    • not enough fiber in the diet
    • not enough liquids
    • lack of exercise
    • medications
    • irritable bowel syndrome
    • changes in life or routine such as pregnancy, older age, and travel
    • abuse of laxatives
    • ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement
    • specific diseases such as stroke (by far the most common)
    • problems with the colon and rectum
    • problems with intestinal function (chronic idiopathic constipation)

    Not Enough Fiber in the Diet

    The most common cause of constipation is a diet low in fiber found in
    vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and high in fats found in cheese, eggs, and
    meats. People who eat plenty of high-fiber foods are less likely to become
    constipated.

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