Constipation- Signs, Symptoms, and Causes

Constipation is a medical condition in which there is restrictive stool movement or difficulty in passing of stools. Constipation is when the normal excretion process that should be an everyday affair occurs with a great difficulty to a patient, only twice to thrice a week. Though people may experience constipation some times, a chronic problem of constipation interferes with your daily tasks and causes various other diseases related to digestive system of your body. You can have home remedies to treat the same. There are various symptoms of constipation discussed here.

Just like eating food and drinking water is a daily affair to live an optimal and healthy life, similarly, excretion of waste products from our body is equally important to happen on a daily basis. What you eat must be digested and the unwanted waste material must also be eliminated from your body, everyday. There may be certain days which may be an exception to this cycle. Your food habit or any disease or disorder may disrupt your excretory system and make it difficult for you to pass stool, but such occurrences must not be very frequent. If they are frequent, it is an abnormal condition which needs to be treated.

9 Signs and Symptoms of Constipation:

1. Passing fewer than three stools a week:

Constipation can be inferred to be a medical condition only if it is chronic. It becomes important to define chronic constipation at this juncture for clarity. Chronic constipation is defined in medical terminologies as an passage of less than three stools in a week. The cycle that should happen everyday happens either just thrice or even less than thrice a week and that becomes a matter of concern for the sufferer of the condition. Thus, if you have less than three stools being passed in a week, you need medical attention.

2. Having lumpy or hard stools as a sign of constipation:

The stools that are passed with such low frequency in a week also are very hard to pass. You may feel pain while passing the stools. The roadway of the stools out of your system may also feel pain while the stools are being excreted out of your body. You may also feel that the consistency of your stool is extremely tight.

3. Application of Strain for bowel movements:

Difficulty is passing of stools with hard lumps may make it pertinent for you to exert pressure on your stomach while you want to excrete. Excretion without straining becomes next to impossible. This may happen once in a while but regularly struggling to pass stools by straining your system is increasingly damaging for your internal organs.

4. Feeling of a Blockage in your Rectum:

Rectum is the place from which the stools are excreted out of your body. You may feel that the area of your rectum contains a lump or a blockage. This blockage could be the entire reason why you are unable to excrete. This feeling too is a sign of constipation because you feel constantly unable to empty the bowel.

5. A Sense of Incomplete Evacuation as a Sign of Constipation:

Inspite of going to the toilet and struggling hard to pass the stools, you may infact feel that you have not completely discharged all the stools out of your body. You may constantly feel the urge “to go” to washroom again and again. This sense of incomplete evacuation is troublesome and does not let you concentrate on your daily chores.

6. Emptying Rectum with some Assistance:

In normal scenarios, you may exert pressure and eliminate your rectum off the stools. You will not need any external assistance to clear any blockage in your rectum. However, if yo suffer from constipation, you will feel the need to empty your rectum by inserting your finger to prevent blockage in that area. Even after clearing your rectum, you may keep feeling pain and discomfort in that area throughout the day.

7. Uneasiness in your Abdomen due to Constipation:

Constipation causes abdominal discomfort. You may feel severe cramps, extreme pain and also a sense of heaviness in you abdomen. All this happens because the waste products is not eliminated from your body and is a pile on within your system.

8. Bloating due to Constipation:

You may not feel the urge to eat as your stomach constantly feels full. This condition is known as bloating. Since your body is filled with non excreted waste, you may feel bloated and heavy in your stomach.

9. Rectal Bleeding and/or Anal Fissures due to Constipation:

You may notice blood being passed along with your stools. This is an indicator of constipation and indigestion. Anal Fissures is characterized by sharp pain while passing stools, loss of blood, injury in the rectal passage as well due to tightening bowel movements. You may also experience burning and itching in your rectal region after you have passed stools. This is all too because of constipation.

After having understood the Signs and Symptoms, let’s look at what are the causes of Constipation.

Causes of Constipation:

1. Not enough Water or Fiber in your Diet:

Fiber is not a nutrient. It does not absorb in your body to provide you with any energy. Why then is it required must be your next question? Well, fibrous foods act as roughage to your system. They help you to eliminate the waste products from your body and also make this task a lot easier. Incorporating more fibrous food is going to help you with dealing with constipation problems. Thus, the most common cause of constipation and the most common solution of your constipation is incorporating more fibrous food.

As for water, it cleanses the entire body off all the impurities. Not only is it important to pass waste material through urine, but also drinking more water helps you to pass stools with more ease. Thus you must drink 2 litres of water daily for a healthy bowel movement.

2. Blockage in your Colon or Rectum:

Colon is the end point of your digestive cycle. It is where the food ends up in the final stage. After that, the waste products enter the anus for removal. If your colon or rectum seems to be blocked, you may find it difficult to pass stools all together. This blockage could be due to fissure, Colon Cancer, Rectal Cancer, Other abdominal cancer exerting pressure on your colon, Narrowing of the colon, etc.

3. Nerve Problems around the Colon and Rectum:

Neurological problems can affect the nerves that cause muscles in the colon and rectum to contract and move stool through the intestines. The causes of this condition could either be Parkinson’s Disease, Autonomic Neuropathy, Multiple Sclerosis or a stroke. These too cause constipation among patients. Constipation is infact a symptom of any of the above disorders.

4. Problems with the Muscles involved in Elimination:

A problem with pelvic muscle is common cause of constipation. These problems may include lack of coordination in relaxation and contraction cycle, inability to relax the pelvic muscles to allow for a bowel movement or weakened pelvic muscles.

5. Medications:

Medications which involve pain killers or drugs that contain antidepressants are also a potent reason for constipation. These chemicals react in an adverse manner causing a person to feel constipated.

6. Problems with your Digestive System:

Often, an improper digestive system is a major cause of constipation. If the food you eat is not digested well, you may not be able to excrete as much amount of stools as you must which will in turn lead to constipation. Add more roughage and fiber and also water to your daily routine for a healthy digestive system to deal with constipation.

7. Inappropriate food Habits:

A lot of foods that we eat may cause us to feel constipated because such food is not digested well in our digestive system. To take an example, junk food is what comes first to my mind. People who may not be able to digest junk food but have a habit of frequently consuming junk are bound to undergo the pain of Constipation. Eating more bread is also a cause of constipation among people.

8. Pregnancy as a cause of Constipation:

Pregnant women have a child growing inside their womb which takes a lot of space inside their body thus exerting pressure on the other organs. As a result, pregnancy causes constipation. However, your gynecologist or mid wife will suggest you with medications to keep your bowel clear.

Constipation is a very common problem and affects hundreds of people. Understanding the cause of this disease and treating it is vital for a healthy body. You must not take this situation lightly and consult a doctor for the solution. There are many options for constipation relief available.

Shabnam Vandeliwala

Venturing into writing is my second most admired hobby after litigating in courts. An advocate by profession, writing gives me immense sense of satisfaction especially in the time that I'm free from other work.

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