Constipation is the infrequent and difficult passage
of stool. The frequency of bowel movements among healthy people
varies greatly, ranging from three movements a day to three a
week. As a rule, if more than three days pass without a bowel
movement, the intestinal contents may harden, and a person may
have difficulty or even pain during elimination. Stool may harden
and be painful to pass, however, even after shorter intervals
between bowel movements. Straining during bowel movements or the
feeling of incomplete evacuation may also be reported as constipation.
One of the most common misconception about proper
bowel habits is that a bowel movement every day is necessary.
Another common fallacy is that wastes stored in the body are absorbed
and are dangerous to health or shorten the life span. These misconceptions
have led to a marked overuse and abuse of laxatives, and some
can do more harm than good. some people naturally have firmer
stools than others.
At one time or another, almost everyone gets constipated.
Poor diet and lack of exercise are usually the causes. In most
cases, constipation is temporary and not serious. Understanding
its causes, prevention, and treatment will help most people find
To understand constipation, it helps to know how
the colon (large intestine) works. As food moves through the colon,
it absorbs water while forming waste products, or stool. Muscle
contractions in the colon push the stool toward the rectum. By
the time stool reaches the rectum, it is solid because most of
the water has been absorbed. The hard and dry stools of constipation
happen when the colon absorbs too much water or if the colon's
muscle contractions are slow or sluggish, causing the stool to
move through the colon too slowly.
Common causes of constipation are:
· not enough fiber in the diet
· not enough liquids
· lack of exercise
· irritable bowel syndrome
· changes in life or routine such as pregnancy, older age,
· abuse of laxatives
· ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement
· stroke (by far the most common)
· problems with the colon and rectum
· problems with intestinal function (chronic idiopathic
Some medications can cause constipation. They include:
· pain medications (especially narcotics)
· antacids that contain aluminum and calcium
· blood pressure medications (calcium channel blockers)
· antiparkinson drugs
· iron supplements
v Laxative abuse
Laxatives usually are not necessary and can be habit-forming.
The colon begins to rely on laxatives to bring on bowel movements.
Over time, laxatives can damage nerve cells in the colon and interfere
with the colon's natural ability to contract. For the same reason,
regular use of enemas can also lead to a loss of normal bowel
v Changes in lifestyle
Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints
among women and adults age 65 and over. Pregnant women may have
constipation, and it is a common problem following childbirth
or surgery. During pregnancy, women may be constipated because
of hormonal changes or because the heavy uterus compresses the
intestine. Aging may also affect bowel regularity because a slower
metabolism results in less intestinal activity and muscle tone.
In addition, people often become constipated when traveling because
their normal diet and daily routines are disrupted.
v Holding back a Bowel Movement
People who ignore the urge to have a bowel movement may eventually
stop feeling the urge, which can lead to constipation. Some people
delay having a bowel movement because they do not want to use
toilets outside the home. Others ignore the urge because of emotional
stress or because they are too busy. Children may postpone having
a bowel movement because of stressful toilet training or because
they do not want to interrupt their play.
v Irritable Bowel Syndrome
People suffering from IBS may alternate from having constipation
and diarrhea, often brought on by stress and irregular eating
v Specific Diseases
Diseases that cause constipation include neurological disorders,
metabolic and endocrine disorders, and systemic conditions that
affect organ systems. These disorders can slow the movement of
stool through the colon, rectum, or anus. Several kinds of diseases
can cause constipation:
· multiple sclerosis
· Parkinson's disease
· chronic idiopathic intestinal pseudo-obstruction
· spinal cord injuries
Metabolic and endocrine conditions:
· underactive or overactive thyroid gland
v Colon and Rectum Problems
Intestinal obstruction, scar tissue (adhesions), diverticulosis,
tumors, colorectal stricture, Hirschsprung's disease, or cancer
can compress, squeeze, or narrow the intestine and rectum and
v Intestinal Disfunction (Chronic Idiopathic Constipation)
Some people have chronic constipation that does not respond to
standard treatment. This rare condition, known as idiopathic (of
unknown origin) chronic constipation may be related to problems
with intestinal function such as problems with hormonal control
or with nerves and muscles in the colon, rectum, or anus. Functional
constipation occurs in both children and adults and is most common
Colonic inertia and delayed transit are two types
of functional constipation caused by decreased muscle activity
in the colon. These syndromes may affect the entire colon or may
be confined to the lower or sigmoid colon.
Functional constipation that stems from abnormalities
in the structure of the anus and rectum is known as anorectal
dysfunction, or anismus. These abnormalities result in an inability
to relax the rectal and anal muscles that allow stool to exit.
for more constipation information
for usual constipation treatment information
for ayurvedic remedies - Natural Constipation Cure
Back to Home
The Benefits of Fish Oil are plenty. Omega-3s, EPA and DHA, are the primary nutrients that can be found in EPA fish oil. These are good fats that are essential to a healthier life.
There is no standard suggested milk thistle dosage. Recommendations found on herbal publications differ from as low as 70mg milk thistle extract twice per day to as high as 420mg three times per day.