Constipation is very painful and frustrating.Almost everyone gets constipated at some time during his or her life. It affects approximately 2% of the population in the U.S. Women and the elderly are more commonly affected. Though not usually serious, constipation can be a concern.
Constipation occurs when bowel movements become difficult or less frequent. The normal length of time between bowel movements ranges widely from person to person. Some people have bowel movements three times a day; others, only one or two times a week. Going longer than three days without a bowel movement is too long. After three days, the stool or feces become harder and more difficult to pass.
One can considered constipated if he/she have two or more of the following for at least 3 months:
A common misconception about constipation is that wastes stored in body are absorbed, are dangerous to health, and may shorten our lifespan. Some people have an underlying fear that they will be "poisoned" by their own intestinal wastes (feces) if they retain the waste in their bodies for more than a certain length of time. None of this is true.
Older people are 5 times more likely than younger people to develop constipation. But experts believe that older people become too concerned with having a daily bowel movement and that constipation in this age group is overestimated.
Constipation also can alternate with diarrhea. This pattern commonly occurs as part of the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). At the extreme end of the constipation spectrum is fecal impaction, a condition in which stool hardens in the rectum and prevents the passage of any stool.
The number of bowel movements generally decreases with age. Ninety-five percent of adults have bowel movements between three and 21 times per week, and this would be considered normal. The most common pattern is one bowel movement a day, but this pattern is seen in less than 50% of people.
Constipation may result from a poor diet, poor bowel habits, or problems in elimination of stool, whether physical, functional, or voluntary.
These are the most common causes of constipation:
You may exhibit a broad range of symptoms of constipation depending on your normal bowel habits, diet, and age. These are common problems you may have if you are constipated:
Most people do not need extensive testing to diagnose constipation. Only a small number of patients with constipation have a more serious medical problem. If one have constipation for more than two weeks,one should see a doctor so he or she can determine the source of our problem and treat it. If constipation is caused by colon cancer, early detection and treatment is very important.
Tests your doctor may perform to diagnose the cause of our constipation include:
The vast majority of patients with constipation do not have any obvious illness to explain their symptoms and suffer from one of two problems:
If bowel is not blocked, you and your health care provider must establish realistic goals of medical treatment.
There are several things one can do to prevent constipation. Among them:
If one are constipated, they must try the following:
The goal of treatment in constipation should not be a bowel movement every day, but a bowel movement every two to three days without difficulty (without straining).
Start with the simple things.
What if constipation does not respond to these simple, safe measures?
Homeopathic medicines have a proven efficacy in restoring normal bowel movement. Though the cause has to be identified, and treated appropriately.
Nux Vomica - Most commonly indicated medicine with sedentry lifestyle being the culprit, . It is very effective when a lot of laxatives have been taken regularly. The patient is habituated to stimulants like tea, coffee or alcohol. There is frequent, ineffectual urge for stool. One is able to pass only a small quantity at a time.Useful when diarrhoea and constipation alternate. There is a constant feeling of unease in the rectum. The patient is usually chilly. He gets angered easily. He is an achiever and a go-getter.
Bryonia - Useful for constipation with increased thirst and intake of lot of water.There is dryness of all mucous membranes and that of the whole system. Given when mouth feels dry and so do the lips.
Graphites - Useful for constipation along with obesity.There is hardly any urge to stool. There are large knotty stools that are united by mucous threads.Useful for Soreness of the anus may be seen.There is a tendency to form fissures. Other skin affections may also be present aling with the constipation.
Alumina - Useful where there is constipation even in early childhood.More indicated in children who have been artificially fed. This may mean that they have had little breast milk and have been fed bottle milk or formula feed. There is intense dryness of the intestinal tract.Useful for dry, hard and knotty. The stool may resemble that of sheep. Even a soft stool requires great straining and is passed with great difficulty.
Silicea - Useful forconstipation where the stool is partly expelled and then recedes back.The patient is usually chilly. Useful when the feaces remain long time in the rectum but are not expelled. There is great straining but hardly effective. In females, the constipation is aggravated before and during menses.
Opium - Useful for constipation where the stool is hard, dry and passed in ball-like form.Also given when the person has been taking laxatives to pass stool for a long time.
RL - 42