How to Get Rid of Constipation
Constipation can have different meaning for different people. There are some who panic even when they have missed just one bowel movement while many others suffer silently even after experiencing less than one bowel movement per week. Constipation previously affected just about 2% of the adult population but nowadays it has become a commonly occurring phenomenon to affect nearly 30 percent to 40 percent of the adult population. The stressful lifestyles, erratic schedules and unhealthy diets all contribute to constipation
. Often the cause of constipation might be as simple as suppressing the urge of defecation due to lack of bathrooms.
An average adult should have one bowel movement per day. Acute constipation is said to occur when there is less than three bowel movements per week and chronic constipation occurs when there is less than one bowel movement per week
. Chronic constipation if left untreated leads to fecal impaction. This is an extremely painful condition which hampers daily activities like sitting and walking. Fecal impaction is a condition in which the stool particles have hardened in the rectum preventing further defecation. Fecal impaction is often accompanied with rectal bleeding, nausea or vomiting and severe abdominal cramps.
Constipation is a serious condition hence the question, ‘how to get rid of constipation’ is often answered with self treatments aggravate the already painful and stressful condition. Fibers are also a common answer to ‘how to get rid of constipation’. On average an adult requires at least10-15 grams of fibers daily to keep the stool particles moving and the intestines healthy
. However many physicians suggest increasing this fiber consumption to 35-40 grams to prevent or treat constipation.Fibers might seem like a natural solution to treat constipation but they are far from being safe for prolonged usage
Fibers and roughages should not be your answer to ‘how to get rid of constipation’. Fibers and roughages work by increasing the bulk formation in the intestines. So long the bulk formation is normal the intestines remain healthy. But with increased ingestion of fibers the bulk formation increases also increasing the mucus secretion in the intestines. This mucus increases the tendency of constipation thus bringing you back to square one where you are again frustrated with constipation
. Increased bulk formation also hinders the absorption of nutrients in the digestive tract causing weakness and fatigue in the individual.
Laxatives are also extremely popular to get rid of constipation. These over the counter solutions are popular to treat occasional constipation and fecal impaction. Enemas are said to be equally effective to treat chronic constipation. Both laxatives and enemas provide relief within 15 minutes to an hour of ingestion and application. However, the side effects of laxatives and enemas are extremely harmful.
Laxatives work by stimulating the colon walls into defecation. Theharsh chemicals in the laxatives disrupt the natural ecosystem of the good bacteria in the intestines causing indigestion and other gastrointestinal problems
. Laxatives also cause dehydration, diarrhea, severe abdominal cramps and kidney problem
s. Laxatives are also known to disrupt the emission of sodium from the body and decrease potassium levels in the body. Emollient laxatives work by lubricating the stool particles. Emollient laxatives contain a substance known as Dulcolax which is extremely addictive. This habit forming substance leads to abuse of laxatives.
Abuse of laxatives is the most common cause of constipation.
Enemas work in a way very similar to laxatives. Enemas also irritate the colon into expelling its contents. Enemas, like laxatives, cause dehydration and damage the flora of the intestines. Enemas also rupture the colon walls if not administered properly
. Hence every time you are constipated and need enema you will have to run to your nearest physician.
What many people tend to forget is that although laxatives and enemas help in easier defecation they do nothing to break down the stool particles. Defecating hardened stool particles causes rectal bleeding and severe abdominal cramps
. Hence the use of enemas or laxatives is not recommended to children or pregnant women.
A steaming cup of coffee is often used to get rid of constipation in the morning. The bitter tasting components of the caffeine help produce bowel movements. But with prolonged usage of caffeine on an empty stomach the chances of stomach ulcers increase. Daily consumption of caffeine also causes heart burn and nausea
. Caffeine is a stimulant which increases the heart rate and basal metabolic rate which results in elevated blood pressure levels.
Many claim that exercises also help get rid of constipation. Hence classes of exercises like yoga and biofeedback have become so popular and expensive in the last couple of years. However popular these exercises might be and their claims of efficacy, an independent study conducted by the University of California, Irvine has proved that these exercises are only effective on people suffering from idiopathic constipation. The exercises remain largely ineffective on most of the people
These exercises also claim to massage the colon to produce bowel movements. On the contrary these exercises are not only ineffective but if not performed under the supervision of a trained person can result in muscular cramps, tendon and ligaments injuries
Psyllium seed husks are also very popular with many to produce bowel movements. Psyllium seed husks are said to be natural fiber supplements. These seed husks also increase bulk formation which again results in increased mucus secretion which subsequently causes more constipation
. Hence natural or synthetic you can be rest assured that fiber or fiber supplements will not help you get rid of constipation.
The causes and symptoms of constipation can be many but this does not mean that the treatment for every symptom and cause will be the same.The misunderstandings and myths surrounding constipation often lead to aggravation of the condition and prevent timely treatment.
The lack of seriousness about constipation also leads to its neglect and self treatment. Hence it is better to understand the pros and cons of each treatment before you blindly reach out to the common solutions only to aggravate your problem.