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How it develops, how is't diagnosed, how to treat it?
What goes in must go out. You proved that, sitting on the toilet this morning. Well didn't you? Or was it yesterday morning that you had your last bowel movement? Or the day before? Or one cold but very memorable day early last December?
Constipation is no fun. Sometimes it can be painful. But the cause of your sluggish bowels is often easy to find. It may include a lack of fiber in your diet, insufficient liquid intake, stress, medications, lack of exercise. and bad bowel habits.
Are You Really Constipated? You think you have a problem, but do you really? Like all of us you have been bombarded most of your life by laxative advertisements that try to give you the impression that a daily bowel movement is essential to good health, and this just isn't true.
Many Americans are subject to perceived constipation - they think they are constipated when they are not. In reality, the need to defecate varies greatly from individual to individual. For some a bowel movement three times a day may be considered normal, for others three times a week may suffice.
Are you a candidate for irritable bowel syndrome? Do you have abdominal pain or cramping? Do you have constipation? Diarrhea? How about vomiting, or fever or headache? How about bloating and water retention? Irritable bowel syndrome is not pleasant for anyone who has it, and many many Americans do suffer from it, in fact more every year. Many of these turn to colon cleansers for relief.
Constipation is a serious problem. The conventional medical community doesn't treat it that way. But you don't have to be a scientist to figure out that... Food should pass out within 24 hours. Anything longer than that and you're leaving yourself at risk for hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, varicose veins and even cancer.
And before all that (the stage you are at now, I suspect) you must endure gas and a bloated stomach (even if you have not an ounce of fat on your body!), fatigue, irritability, insomnia, depression...
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The short-term ones are caused by travel, diet, medication, surgery and other known causes. They mostly correct themselves.
The medium-term ones are caused by low-fiber diet, low liquid consumption, lack of exercise, old age, pregnancy, abuse of laxatives and consumption of dehydrating things like caffeine and alcohol. These can be treated with changed in diet, life-style changes and laxatives.
The long-term Constipation, or chronic constipation, is caused by serious disorders of the GI tract or other chronic diseases. The GI tract problems include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), intestinal obstruction, colonic inertia, anorectal dysfunction and structural problems like tumors, fissures, and hemorrhoids, fistulae and other problems. To diagnose the above problems many tests are used, including barium x-rays, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, colorectal transit study, anorectal function test and defecography.
If no structural obstruction is found in the GI tract, the chronic constipation is treated like other less serious ones. Educating the patients about bowel movements, maintaining a high-fiber diet and a lot of liquid intake, avoiding dehydrating substances, exercising, and bowel training are the starting treatments, along with bulk-forming laxatives like psyllium and methylcellulose. If the problem persists more harsh laxatives, such as hyperosmatics or saline, can be tried. Stronger laxatives like emollients, anthraquinones, or stimulants are tried next. Biofeedback is a good treatment if the constipation is caused by outlet inertia.
Facts and ways to remedy The constipation
How much fluids and how much fiber do you need? Let's start with the liquid. A minimum of six glasses of liquid, and preferably eight should be a part of every adult's diet. While any fluid will do the trick, "the best fluid is water"
Eat lots more fiber. Most of North Americans don't get enough fiber in their diets. The American Dietic Assotiation recommends a dail;y consumption o f20 to 30 grams of dietary fiber for all adults and at least 30 grams for those who suffer from constipation. where does fiber come from? "from your complexe carbohydrates - such as those in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. top among the fiber heavyweights are, cooked dried beans, prunes, figs, raisins, oatmeal. pears, and nuts. However one word of caution, though increase your fiber intake slowly to avoid gas attacks.
Take time to exercise. You know exercise is good for your heart, but did you know that it's good for your bowels? In general exercise tends to combat constipation by moving food through the bowel faster. Take a walk. Any form of exercise will tend to alleviate constipation, but the one mentioned most often by expeerts is walking.
Toilet train yourself. Throughout our lives, many of us consider ourselves to go to the bathroom not when nature calls but when it's convenient. Ignoring the urge to defecate, howevewr can lead progressively to constipation. But it's never too late to improve your bowel habits. The most natural time to go to the toilet is after a meal. So pick a meal, any meal, and every day following that meal sit on the toilet for 10 minutes. In time you will condition your colon to act as nature intended.
Reconsider laxative tablets. Commercial laxatives often do what they are intended to do. You know how those "diarrhea pills" work. They cause urgent bowel movements that are untimely, depleting and potentially embarrassing. They are terribly addicting, and after a few weeks or so, they stop working. And when you stop using them, your constipation is worse than before.
"When should you take laxatives from a bottle? "Almost never."
Know that not all laxatives are the same. in most pharmacies, right next to the chemical laxatives, you'll find another category of laxatives, often marked "natural", or "vegetable" laxatives, whose main ingredient is generally crushed psyllium seed. This is a super-concentrated form of fiber, which is unlike chemical laxatives, is non-addivtive and generally safe, even taken over long periods. However "cution"; these must be taken with lots of water, or they can gum up inside you.
Natural Doctor's special recipe. A problem with many psyllium-based laxatives is they can be expensive. But you can make your own by bying the psyllium seed in a health food sotre and crush them yourself. You grind two parts of psyllium with one part of flax and one part of oat bran, for a super-high-fiber concotion. Mix the ingredients up with water and have it as a little mash every night around 9 o'clock.
Get a fast relief-once in a while. If you are really miserable, nothing will work faster to move your bowels than an enema or a suppository. For occasional use, they are perfectly all right. Use them too often and you risk creating a lazy colon. That is you could wind up worse off. Use only clear water or saline-solution enemas, never soapsuds, which can be irritating. And when shopping for a suppository, pick up only glycerine one's, avoiding the harsh chemical selection on the market.
Do You Take Any of These Medications?
Oftentimes many people show up with several symptoms that can be traced back to the medications they are taking, both prescription and over the counter. If you're taking any form of medication it could very likely be affecting your bowels and be partly responsible for bringing on or exacerbate your constipation. In fact, many off-the-shelf concoctions, such as stomach antacids, contain a hard core that will most definitely dry up your stool -- making it difficult for you to go.
Painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs contain constipating ingredients as well. And of course, constipation is probably not the only side effect you're experiencing from these drugs. But, even if it was, that would be enough to make you want to switch, reduce, or eliminate them. As we've already discussed, constipation can easily lead to serious bowel and liver problems.
My first suggestion, of course, would be to book an appointment with a local Naturopathic Doctor & start receiving natural treatment for the condition that requires you to be on medication. Your Naturopathic Doctor may refer you to other natural healers who can provide additional support. For example, chiropractic care can relieve the need for pain medication.
Acupuncture treatment can reduce or eliminate allergies, Masso-physiotherapy reduces stress that can lead to constipation.
Not withstanding, simply adjusting your diet, exercising more and taking specific herbal remedies may be all you need to get off expensive and toxic medication. The other possibility is reducing your current doses of medication. This is something you'll want to do under the supervision of your personal or family doctor. For example, you may find HALF the recommended dosage will produce the same results, with half or less of the negative side-effects.
Women tend to benefit from reducing dosages more than men because their bodies tend to be smaller and metabolism slower. The "recommended" dose is far too general to apply to all the different sizes and shapes of people on this planet. You need to find a dose that does the job, without taking any excess.
Don't Strain. As tempting as it may be to huff and puff your way out of constipation, it is not wise to do so.
You risk giving yourself heomorrhoids and anal fissure, which not only are painful, but can also aggravate your
constipation by narrowing your anal opening. Straining can also raise your blood pressure & lower your heartbeat.
Anyone would benefit from a periodic colon cleansing program twice or three times per year followed by
a strait healthy regimen with a life style change and high daily fiber intake to promote at least 1 to 2 times a day
bowel movements after a meal, and that will eliminate constipation and all it's uncomfortable health side effects.
Constipation can be divided into three categories,
By the time it takes to treat the problem!
Constipation and The Lack of
"Urge" to defecate!
If you've tried the laxative route! You know how those "diarrhea pills" work. They cause urgent bowel movements that are untimely, depleting and potentially embarrassing. Then, after a few weeks or so, they stop working. And when you stop using them, your constipation is worse than before.
Are you getting enough fluids? Experts agree that the first thing a constipated individual should do is check his diet. The foremost menu items for battling constipation are diatery fiber and liquids. Lots of both are essential to keep the stool soft and to help it pass through the colon out!