Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Guide to Constipation

Constipation is a major irritable, sickening and debilitating condition, when one experiences difficulty in eliminating hard feces. Constipation may occur because of dietary, hormonal, medicinal or anatomical problems. It may occur in infants, children and adults without any age or sex difference.

The causes of constipation include hardening of the feces, insufficient intake of dietary fiber, dehydration causing excess absorption of water from stools, consumption of certain medicines containing iron, calcium and aluminum, paralysis or slowed transit which results in diminished peristaltic actions, hypothyroidism, hypokalemia, injured anal sphincter, usage of antidepressants and certain tranquillizers, acute porphyria, anxiety or unfamiliarity with surroundings, tumors in the bowel, and narrowed or blocked intestine or rectum. Two colon disorders such as colonic inertia and pelvic floor dysfunction can also cause constipation.

The symptoms of constipation include hemorrhoid and anal fissures on straining, distended, diffusely tender and crampy abdomen, and enhanced bowel sounds. In severe cases, paradoxical diarrhea may occur in which soft stool from the small intestine bypasses the hard solid feces in the colon.

It is best to consult your doctor if you notice any sustained change in your bowel habits. Changes such as losing weight, severe abdominal pain and rectal bleeding are to be seriously considered as they are indications of the seriousness of constipation. The common tests include evaluation of patient's history, physical examination, blood tests, abdominal x-rays, barium enema, colonic transit studies, defecography, ano-rectal motility studies, and colonic motility studies.

The treatment requires change in dietary habits, laxatives, fiber therapy, enemas, and rarely surgery. The affected people must increase the intake of water and other fluids, and dietary fiber. Vegetables, bran and fruits are the chief source of dietary fibers. The treatment for constipation aims at one bowel movement in every 2 to 3 days without straining. If one's body does not seem to be responding to one treatment then the treatment should be stopped and another started.

Constipation provides detailed information on constipation, cat constipation, causes of constipation, chronic constipation and more. Constipation is affiliated with Are Cold Sores Contagious? .

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