Constipation: Frequently Asked Questions

There is an old Indian proverb that says, “people who go for poop once a day are ascetics; those who make it twice a day are foodies, and those who need to visit the toilet more often are usually unwell or sick”. Though this may be discarded as hearsay and not medically proved since normal healthy people are known to visit the toilet as many times as they find suitable, there is a fourth variety that seldom feels the urge to relieve themselves. They are known to be constipated, while the medical condition is termed as constipation. Constipated people have lesser and tougher bowel movements, causing uneasiness and discomfort. Although minor constipation is often neglected, long lasting constipation can be life-threatening.

Indications of Constipation

Since constipation is a symptom and not a disease, it is manifested through:

  • Lesser bowel movements than what is considered normal for a human being
  • Difficulty in bowel movement (much straining needed to evacuate)
  • Hard and/or small stool
  • Feeling that evacuation is not complete
  • Distended tummy or mild abdominal pain
  • Throwing up

What causes Constipation

Although it is difficult to determine what really causes constipation, some of these include:

  • Consuming too much dairy products, such as Condensed Milk
  • Regular intake of antacids containing Calcium or Aluminum
  • Colon cancer
  • Sedentary habits
  • Abrupt change in lifestyle
  • Abrupt change in food habits
  • IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Neurological conditions (Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis)
  • Lack of fluids and fiber in diet
  • Problem with the digestive tract
  • Certain terms of pregnancy
  • Fear of evacuation due to hemorrhoids
  • Intake of strong painkillers and antidepressants
  • Intake of too much iron supplements
  • Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
  • Acute stress

What to do when suddenly becoming constipated

The following measures may provide some relief:

  • Sip several cups of hot tea very morning (Consuming hot water in the morning proves beneficial for constipated persons).
  • Drink 2/4 extra glasses of water every day, unless your health care provider has not permitted you to limit fluid intake for medical reasons.
  • Supplement your diet with fruits and leafy vegetables.
  • Add more fibrous materials to your daily diet.
  • Take 15-30 ml of Magnesium Hydroxide (available o-t-c ) at bed time.

Whom to consult if symptoms aggravate?

Get immediately in touch with renowned gastroenterologist Dr. V.K. Rai, MD if you develop prolonged constipation, accompanied by intense abdominal pain and are unable to pass stool or gas.

However, Dr. Vijay Rai, after conducting preliminary medical checkup and providing you with some relief will recommend the following diagnostic tests in order to find out what caused your constipation. Incidentally, these tests can be conveniently done at Americana Gastro & Diagnostic Centre and the results immediately obtained by Dr. Rai who may take the appropriate line of treatment for quick recovery.

Is it possible to prevent Constipation?

Yes, probably it is possible to prevent constipation, provided you follow the regime outlined below.

  • Consume well-balanced meals with plenty of fiber.
  • Drink water in profusion to keep the body hydrated
  • Cut back on milk
  • Do some physical exercise every day

Postscript

Though constipation isn’t a dangerous disease, it nevertheless affects the quality of life. So, get yourself thoroughly checked by an efficient gastroenterologist to get cured for life.

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