Constipation is essentially the sensation of not being able to pass bowel, and bowel movements are an important part of any healthy lifestyle. When you can’t pass bowel movements as you normally would, it’s going to cause a significant amount of problems within your daily routine. Not only will you feel off balance, but there is an abundance of other symptoms that could present themselves as well. If you haven’t had a bowel movement in three or more days, odds are, you’re definitely suffering from constipation – although the length between bowel movements is going to be different for each unique individual. You may not feel as if it’s that important at first, but bowel movements on a consistent basis are what keeps the body running smoothly.
Knowing the symptoms is going to give you a head start, as treatment needs to begin as soon as possible. After three days of not being able to pass bowel, the feces themselves are going to become a lot harder – thus, they’re going to be much harder to actually push out, as well.
The symptoms of constipation are going to be rather apparent, as soon as you feel them, you’re going to notice a difference in how you approach everyday life. These symptoms can be treated (with the medicines and alternative treatments that we’re going to cover later on in the article), so you don’t need to ponder about them too much. Some of these symptoms are going to include:
- Few (very little) to no bowel movements at all
- Tough times when it comes to actually passing a bowel movement (straining on the toilet)
- Stools that are either small or hard (or even both in some situations)
- A swollen abdominal or any sort of abdominal pain
- Vomiting and nausea in general
These are symptoms that might present themselves at any time, although they usually persist about a day or two after you’ve felt “off”. Many people feel these symptoms and just chalk it up to something else, without even considering the fact that it might be constipation. That’s why a lot of people don’t get the help they need, as they aren’t even aware that they actually suffer from the disorder.
Why does Constipation Happen, Exactly?
This is one of the main points I wanted to get to, as you’ve got to figure out the source of your problems. If you don’t, you won’t really be able to handle the constipation using the proper techniques. There are tons of different reasons you could be suffering from constipation, from colon cancer all the way down to pregnancy. The fact that you could suffer from this problem due to many different reasons tends to bog down on people, as they don’t feel like they’re completely capable of beating it. The reasons I’ll cover here will pertain to some of the more normal issues (that constipation can relate itself to).
If you aren’t getting enough physical activity throughout the day, you’re going to be dealing with constipation. When you can’t burn off the excess energy and gunk that’s building up inside of you, your bowel movements are going to suffer. You could also suffer from constipation if you’re just eating too many dairy products, because the whey inside of them wouldn’t work well with your stomach (especially if you’re lactose intolerant). Water and fiber will play an integral part in how well you pass bowel movements as well, which is why a balanced diet is such a crucial component of life. Some other reasons would include:
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid issues)
- Changes done to your diet or your usual way of life
- Any type of eating disorder
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Using too many laxatives over a certain period of time (the bowel muscles weaken)
- Nerve or muscle problems related to your digestive system
Any of these issues could result in you dealing with constipation, so don’t be surprised! If you’re living with any one of the ailments listed, odds are constipation is going to be tagging along for the ride.
How Am I Diagnosed?
Doctors will conduct a blood test, if need be – this will determine your hormone levels and help them decide whether you’re actually suffering from constipation (or an ailment related to constipation) or not. Barium studies may be conducted to see if there are any current blockages in your colon, and for this test, a special drink is needed before the x-ray. Colonoscopy tests are also another common technique used to identify constipation.
How Can I Fix It?
Fixing the problem is the major concern here, and it can be done relatively easily. There are a few different ways you could go about fixing your constipation issues, but the most obvious one would be to introduce some better food into your diet. Oats and whole grains are going to be your best friend.
You shouldn’t be eating junk food on a daily basis, try and add some more fiber and greens to the food that you’re consuming every single day. The quicker you do this, the quicker you’re going to notice an improvement in your bowel movements.
Another neat trick you can use is just introducing two to four more glasses of water into your diet. Water is going to help everything flow through your body with ease, so keeping yourself hydrated (and constantly full of healthy/drinkable water) will significantly improve upon your constipation. Other cures and remedies would include:
- Drink warm liquids to help break up any blockages you may have – specifically in the morning
- Add more fruits and vegetables into your diet (for nutritional purposes, which has an effect on bowel movements)
- If you have to, try and make use of an OTC (Over The Counter) stool softener – the mild variety is best, something like “Docusate”
If you notice any sort of blood in your stool, you should call your doctor right away. It could not only be something much more sever than constipation, but it could also be something that needs to be accounted for as soon as possible.