Chronic Constipation

What is Chronic Constipation?

A medical ailment known as Chronic Constipation is characterized by difficulty in passing stools or infrequent bowel movements that last for a long time(more than 3 months). Several causes of Constipation, including faulty eating habits, inactivity, dehydration, certain drugs, or underlying medical issues, might contribute to this disease. Constipation that lasts a long time frequently causes bloating, pain in the abdomen, and straining during bowel motions. Treatment options may include dietary changes like increasing fibre consumption, staying hydrated, frequent exercise, drugs and in more severe cases, surgery.

Causes of Chronic Constipation

Chronic Constipation can be due to various causes, including:

  • Slow transit constipation: This condition results in infrequent bowel motions and difficulty passing stool because the muscles in the colon move too slowly.
  • Constipation due to pelvic floor dysfunction: This condition develops when the pelvic floor muscles do not work properly, making it challenging to pass stool.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome(IBS) with Constipation is a subtype of IBS that includes symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, and chronic Constipation.
  • Constipation brought on by medication: Opioid drugs are one example of a drug that might have the negative effect of making you constipated. 
  • Chronic Idiopathic Constipation: This type of Constipation lacks a known cause.

Symptoms of Chronic Constipation

Hemorrhoids, anal fissures, or rectal prolapse are a few issues that might result from persistent constipation. Fecal impaction, a condition in which hard stool gets trapped in the rectum and cannot be passed without medical help, occasionally results from infrequent bowel movements. Although the signs and symptoms of persistent constipation might differ from person to person, some common symptoms of Chronic Constipation include the following:

  • Going for less than three bowel movements weekly
  • Experiencing hard or lumpy stool
  • Straining while passing stool
  • Incomplete emptying sensation
  • Discomfort or pain in the abdomen/ Bloating 
  • Bloating 

Contacting a doctor if you have infrequent bowel movement symptoms is critical to identify the underlying issue and the best course of action. In certain circumstances, lifestyle adjustments like consuming more fibre, drinking plenty of water, and exercising will help with constipation symptoms. To address chronic Constipation, your doctor may advise medication or other treatments if these steps are ineffective.

Risk factors for the Chronic Constipation

A person's likelihood of having infrequent bowel movements can be increased by several risk factors, which are: 

  • A low-fibre diet, which can result in firm, challenging-to-pass stools, is one of the significant risk factors. 
  • A sedentary lifestyle, a lack of physical activity, and dehydration can all raise your chance of developing chronic Constipation.
  • Infrequent bowel movements can result from taking some drugs that slow down bowel motions, such as opioids, antacids, or antidepressants.
  • Chronic Constipation is also more likely to occur as people age because the digestive system muscles may weaken with time. Chronic Constipation is more common in women than males, probably due to hormonal variations or weak pelvic floor muscles.
  • Several illnesses, including diabetes, hypothyroidism, and irritable bowel syndrome, may also increase the chance of having chronic Constipation. Moreover, anxiety or stress may worsen Constipation by impairing digestion and bowel motions. 

How to prevent the Chronic Constipation

To prevent infrequent bowel movements in your body, some preventive measures to help you out with Constipation; include: 

  • Consume a high-fibre diet: By giving the stool more volume and encouraging regular bowel movements, eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes can help prevent Constipation.
  • Drink plenty of water: Keeping hydrated can aid in softening the stool and facilitating its passage.
  • Regular exercise: Physical activity regularly can assist in energizing the digestive tract and encourage regular bowel movements.
  • Avoid certain foods: It is essential to minimize processed foods, dairy products, red meat, and fried or fatty meals in the diet, as these can all worsen constipation.
  • Pay attention to your body's signals and act when you feel the urge to urinate. Ignoring this urge can result in Constipation.
  • Control stress: Because stress affects digestion and increases the likelihood of constipation, finding strategies to control stress, such as exercising or using relaxation techniques, might be beneficial.

Road To Recovery and Aftercare for Chronic Constipation

Long-term lifestyle modifications to prevent the recurrence of symptoms may be necessary on the road to recovery and aftercare for chronic Constipation. They can include 

  • maintaining a high-fibre diet, 
  • consuming enough liquids,
  • exercising frequently. 

Patients should collaborate closely with their healthcare practitioner to monitor their status and modify their chronic constipation treatment plan as necessary. It may be necessary to schedule frequent follow-up appointments to ensure the treatment plan is working and to monitor for potential consequences. Also, patients should be aware of any medications with a side effect of constipation and work with their doctor to change their prescription schedule as necessary. Support groups or counselling may be beneficial in some circumstances to address any emotional or psychological problems associated with Chronic Constipation. 

Frequently asked questions about Chronic Constipation.

  • What is Chronic Constipation?

Chronic Constipation is when a person has infrequent bowel movements for at least three months.

  • What are the symptoms of Chronic Constipation?

The symptoms of chronic Constipation include difficulty passing stools, abdominal discomfort, bloating, and gas.

  • What causes Chronic Constipation?

A diet with low fibre, dehydration, inactivity, particular drugs, or underlying medical issues can cause Chronic Constipation. 

  • What are the risk factors for Chronic Constipation?

Consuming a diet low in fibre. Getting very little to no exercise and using particular medications, including sedatives, narcotic painkillers, some antidepressants, or blood pressure-lowering, and the presence of a mental illness, such as depression or an eating disorder.

  • How is Chronic Constipation diagnosed?

Chronic Constipation can be diagnosed by reviewing medical records, physical examination, and diagnostic procedures such as colonoscopy or imaging tests.

  • How can Chronic Constipation be prevented?

Here are some tips to help prevent chronic constipation:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat a diet high in fibre food loke fruit, vegetable and whole grains.
  • Exercise regularly to promote bowel movement and prevent stool from becoming backed up.
  • Avoid holding in bowel movements and go to the bathroom when you feel the urge.
  • Consider using stool softeners or laxatives as directed by your doctor.
  • Manage stress levels as high levels of stress can cause constipation.
  • Consult with your doctor about any medications that may be contributing to your constipation.
  • Avoid consuming large amounts of dairy, meat, or processed foods, as they can contribute to constipation.
  • Develop healthy bowel habits by going to the bathroom at the same time each day.
  • What are the treatment options for Chronic Constipation?

Changing one's lifestyle, taking over-the-counter laxatives or stool softeners, taking prescription drugs, or in extreme circumstances, having surgery.

  • How long does Chronic Constipation last?

Constipation is considered chronic when symptoms last for at least three months. However, the length of time may change based on the underlying cause and how well it responds to treatment.

  • Can stress cause Chronic Constipation?

Tension and stress can indeed worsen persistent Constipation. The body's stress response slows the passage of food and waste through the digestive tract, which can impact digestion and bowel motions. 

  • Can Chronic Constipation cause serious complications or can Chronic Constipation lead to colon cancer?

Indeed, severe consequences, including haemorrhoids, anal fissures, or faecal impaction, might result from persistent constipation. Moreover, it can raise the chance of getting colorectal cancer or diverticulitis. Although chronic Constipation can raise the chance of colon cancer, it does not directly cause it. Chronic Constipation can result in prolonged exposure to waste and potentially hazardous compounds, which may increase the risk of colon cancer. 

  • Does Chronic Constipation go away on its own?

Persistent Constipation typically requires therapy to control symptoms and avoid consequences because it seldom goes away independently.

  • How much fibre should be consumed to prevent chronic Constipation?

Adults should consume 25 to 30 grams of fibre daily, encouraging regular bowel movements and softening stools to help prevent chronic Constipation.

  • Can Chronic Constipation be a sign of a severe underlying condition?

It can signify several illnesses like colon cancer, hypothyroidism, or diabetes.

  • Is Chronic Constipation more common in women or men?

According to statistics, women are twice as likely as males to develop persistent constipation. Women also tend to encounter it more frequently.

  • Can Chronic Constipation be cured?

Treatment and alterations to one's lifestyle can frequently control it, although a cure might not be feasible in all cases depending on the cause.

  • Can certain foods worsen Chronic Constipation?

Indeed, several items, including processed meals, dairy products, red meat, and fried or fatty foods, can worsen chronic Constipation. To avoid or treat Chronic Constipation, it's critical to maintain a balanced, high-fibre diet.

  • Is drinking more water helpful in treating Chronic Constipation?

Indeed, increasing your water intake can help alleviate chronic Constipation by softening your stools and encouraging regular bowel movements. Consuming at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day is advised.

  • Can exercise help relieve Chronic Constipation?

Regular exercise can improve digestion and stimulate bowel movements to help treat persistent Constipation. Yoga and walking are two activities that work the abdominal muscles and can be very beneficial for relieving Constipation.

Diagnosis of Chronic Constipation

A healthcare professional will often analyze a patient's medical history and conduct a physical examination to identify the cause of Constipation. To rule out underlying medical issues, testing like c...

Treatment and Management for Chronic Constipation

The underlying cause and severity of Chronic Constipation determine the best course of treatment :
Modifying one's lifestyle to include more fibre, more fluids
Frequent exercise may be enough to reduce symptoms in mild cases.

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