Constipation – When to seek Doctor’s advice?
Everyone in life, at least once has suffered from constipation. It is one of the commonest Gastro-intestinal issue and possibility of getting this complaint is more for every human being irrespective of age, sex, socioeconomic status and geographic region.
Constipation can be treated at home, but prior to that you need to know certain facts about constipation and to know when it will become necessary to seek Doctor’s advice.
What is Constipation & it’s symptoms?
Having fewer than 3 bowel movements per week.
– Dry, hard, lumpy stool which is difficult or painful to pass
– Straining when passing stool
– Passing fewer stools than usual
Stomach ache or cramps, bloated abdomen, nausea, loss of appetite are some associative symptoms which may or may not be present. Chronic constipation is infrequent bowel movements that persist for several weeks or longer.
Causes of Constipation
Decreased water intake, decreased fibre intake, eating large amount of cheese, decreased physical activity, sedentary lifestyle.
Taking certain medications including Sedatives, Antidepressants, Hypertensive drugs and Opioids.
Hypothyroidism, Diabetes, Hyperparathyroidism, Multiple sclerosis, Parkinsonism, Spinal cord injury, problem with pelvic muscle like Anismus, Dyssynergia, Bowel obstruction, Rectal prolapse, Vaginal prolapse, Anal fissures and Colorectal cancers.
People who are at risk are
– Elderly people
– Pregnant women
– Sedentary nature
– People who are dehydrated
– Mental & Emotional health disturbances like Depression and Eating disorders
– People who do not move their bowl when they feel urge
– Overuse of Laxatives & Antacids containing calcium and aluminium
Complications of Constipation
– Hemorrhoids (Piles) Prolonged constipation may leads to engorgement of rectal veins
– Anal fissure Hard stool may tear the anus
– Rectal prolapse
– Fetal Impaction
– Stress urinary incontinence
– Reduced quality of life with decreased mental &e motional wellbeing
What should you do if you are constipated?
– Drink plenty of water (not for people who restrict fluids by doctor’s advice)
– Drink hot water after every meal which helps in digestion and promotes bowl movements
– Add fruits to your meal
– Take vegetable rich diet
– Move your body to improve digestion
– Take Prebiotics & Probiotics food
– Soak prunes in hot water, drink the liquid and chew the prunes
– Avoid milk and its products
When should you seek Doctor’s advice?
– When you lose weight drastically
– When you see blood in stools
– When you have severe pain during bowel movements
– When you have constipated more than 2 weeks
– When constipation is a new problem to you and lifestyle modifications didn’t help
Basic treatment will be oral laxatives, rectal suppositories or enema, depending on the age, duration and severity of sufferings. Your doctor will rule out the cause through case study, laboratory findings and other investigations in subject to your problems.
Read more about Treatment at Home – What & Why?
– Taking high fibre diet,
– Avoiding highly processed meat & dairy products,
– Proper water intake,
– Regular exercises,
– Manage stress in a healthy way,
– Don’t ignore the urge to poop
Don’t feel shy or hesitate to talk about your sufferings. Talk openly and honestly about your bowel movements with your Doctor.
Author: Dr. Raji Arabi