Constipation is a surprisingly common condition and can impact everybody. In fact, most people at some point in their life are going to suffer from constipation to some extent. It is probably not going to be a crazy amount of constipation which causes immense amounts of pain which is tough to deal with, but it will be quite uncomfortable.
Constipation is the name given when the body is unable to either:
- Pass stools regularly
- Empty the bowels
There are several ‘severities’ of constipation. For some people, the constipation will last a day or two. There are some people out there who are unfortunate enough to have it last for a long time. When it does disappear, it comes back.
On this page, we want to talk a little bit about constipation, how you can deal with it, and the conditions it can lead to if untreated.
What causes constipation?
Well, various things! Honestly, it is nigh on impossible to say what causes constipation in many cases. It can be down to a variety of factors. In fact, some people have a combination of these factors which cause havoc on their system. This includes:
- If they are not consuming enough fiber. Remember; fiber helps to soften up your stool which should make it easier to pass out of your system.
- If your routine or lifestyle is changed up a little bit e.g. if your eating habits change drastically. This seems to be less of a common reason for constipation, but it does happen!
- Whenever you feel as if you need to pass a stool but you ignore the urge and skip going. This causes constipation.
- If you are taking certain medications. We are going to assume that your doctors will give you advice as to whether the medications are likely to cause constipation or not.
- If you are not drinking enough fluids.
- Anxiety or depression can cause constipation.
Who can be impacted by constipation?
Anybody. It is believed that one in seven adults are suffering from constipation right now. One in three children are suffering from the condition. Most people will suffer from constipation at least once in their life, although many do not realize that they are suffering from it as the constipation is so minor.
When should you visit your doctor?
You do not necessarily need to visit your doctor right away. Most constipation can be cleared up by making changes to your diet. In fact, you will be surprised at how quickly the condition will clear up by adding more fiber to your diet. You may notice that it disappears within a day or two. You should visit your doctor if one of the following has occurred:
- Your child is constipated. This is something which does need to be dealt with quickly. It is not necessarily dangerous, but your child is going to be in a lot of pain if the constipation is not relieved quickly. This is going to be especially important if you have a baby.
- If your constipation has lasted about a week or more. By this point we would imagine that you are in an intense amount of pain anyway, so you will likely already have made the decision to visit the doctor.
How is constipation treated?
The first option will be to make changes to your daily lifestyle. In most cases, the following are going to be more than enough:
- Increasing the amount of fiber that you are consuming daily. It does not need to be a massive change. In fact, it is not recommended that you dive right in there with a rapid change in the amount of fiber that you consume because this could cause more issues. Just a small increase each day. You should notice a positive impact very quickly.
- Drink a lot of fluids. Do not drink caffeine and the like. This could make you more constipated. By fluids, we just mean water. You can drink fruit juice at a push, although do remember that fruit juices are packed to the brim with sugar so you really do not want to be overconsuming them.
- You should exercise. This helps to get your digestive system moving properly which is going to work wonders for your health.
If the constipation still does not appear to be relieved, then your doctor may prescribe you with an oral laxative.
It is important to note that you may be able to get any stool inside you moving very quickly with the techniques above. However, we doubt that you will be back to a normal ‘pattern’ of passing stools for a good few months. Just keep working at it, though. You will be nice and healthy before you know it!
How do you prevent constipation?
As with most conditions, it is better to prevent the condition before it becomes a major problem. We have already covered some of the reasons as to why constipation occurs previously, so just do the opposite of that. For example; start to consume more fiber, and start to listen to your body when it tells you that it wants to pass a stool. Simple stuff like that is going to go a long way to ensuring that your body continues to work well!
Thankfully, it is rare that somebody will suffer from complications when it comes to constipation. However, they can occur. Some people with constipation will suffer from the following:
- Hemorrhoids: incredibly painful condition which can cause bleeding and swelling around the entrance to the anus.
- Feces impaction: where dry and hard stools start to gather in the rectum. This can make the constipation even worse as it can be difficult for the newer, ‘fresher’ stools to pass outwards. In many cases, these feces will need to be surgically removed.
- Bowel incontinence: where liquid stools start to leak out of the rectum.
This is why it is so important to treat your constipation quickly!