Published: 07/19/2013 - Updated: 08/14/2019
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei
Having trouble evacuating stools is a very common disorder that affects everyone at least once in their lifetime. From children to adults, everyone can suffer from this problem and it is usually considered normal if it somewhat sporadically occurs. However, when it becomes constant: Every day or for longer than three months, you should definitely seek the advice of your doctor.
To avoid deteriorating your health, here are some tips on what to do if you have chronic constipation.
Defining the condition
It is a disorder that affects the digestive system and its main feature is the presence of problems in evacuating stools (feces). This disorder is characterised by less frequent bowel movements, harder stools and the feeling of not having evacuated enough, swelling and bloating, etc.
Someone suffering from constipation will eventually experience a decrease in their quality of life and their performance will become lower than that of healthy constipation-free individuals.
Who is affected?
The people most likely to have this disorder are women and adults over 60 years. It is considered that for every man who has constipation, there are 3 women who suffer from the same problem. Although no one knows exactly why this happens, hormones are a possible cause because permutations in their segregation can cause digestive system changes and peristaltic movements, thus reducing the digestion process and slowing it down.
In childhood, it is also common to find this condition which is often caused by genetic illnesses, but in other cases usually occurs because their digestive system is slow or they often wait too long to evacuate stools making it difficult for the body to process it.
One of the factors that could cause this type of problem is little or no physical activity: A sedentary lifestyle can be very bad if you are prone to constipation.
Another reason associated with this condition is related to food: Usually low-fibre and low levels of fluid in the diet will cause constipation.
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Some less common but still possible causes are tears in the pelvis and metabolic disorders like diabetes.
How to know if you are suffering from constipation
Constipation is a very subjective issue because it affects each person differently, so here we have defined a short list of potential symptoms. If two or more present themselves, it is considered constipation:
- Fewer than 3 bowel movements in a week.
- Difficult stools at least 25% of the time.
- Feeling that the evacuation was not complete at least 25% of the time.
- Very hard stools or divided stools.
- Feeling an obstruction of the anal rectum by a minimum of 25% of the time.
Recommendations to address the problem
If you have any of the symptoms or think you may be suffering from this condition, it is best to attend a review with a medical specialist as symptoms can easily be mistaken for other diseases. However, there are certain steps you can take to address this problem at home.
- Perform any exercise routine: activating the body for at least 30 minutes daily helps improve digestive processes.
- Do not abuse laxatives products: These products may appear to solve the problem but eventually they only aggravate the situation as it causes the colon to lose its ability to move, which in future will lead to more problems in stool evacuation.
- Increase your fibre intake: It is a well known fact that fibre promotes improved intestinal transit, so consuming more fruits, vegetables and high-fibre will help.
- More water = more health: Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day and thereby avoid problems with bowel movements.
- Do not delay your trips to the bathroom: This worsens the problem because the longer you delay, the more the stools loses water so it becomes more difficult to evacuate. If you have problems evacuating a stool which last longer than 10 minutes, try again later.
A few simple changes in our daily lives can gradually correct and eradicate this problem.
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