Always bear in mind that constipation is a typical condition affecting individuals of all ages. This simply means that the individual is not regularly passing stools or unable to completely empty out the bowel.
Constipation can also cause the stools to turn hard and lumpy as well as unusually small or large in size. The severity of constipation varies from one individual to another. Many suffer from the condition on a short-term basis but others suffer long-term that results to significant discomfort and pain as well as affecting the quality of life.
Causes of constipation
It is often hard to figure out the exact cause of constipation. Nevertheless, there are various factors that can contribute to the condition such as the following:
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Lack of fiber in the diet such as cereals, vegetables and fruits.
- Changes in the lifestyle such as eating habits
- Side effects of certain medications
- Delaying the urge to pass out stools
- Depression or anxiety
Among children, fear of using the toilet, poor diet and problems with toilet training can lead to the development of constipation.
Who are at risk?
Constipation can develop among infants, children and adults. Always bear in mind that the condition affects many women as men and also quite common among the elderly and during pregnancy.
When to consult a doctor
In most cases, constipation can be managed with simple changes to the lifestyle and diet. In case these changes could not help and the issue persists, a doctor must be consulted. A doctor must be consulted if a child is constipated.
Treatment for constipation
In most circumstances, lifestyle and diet modifications are suitable as the initial line of treatment for constipation. These measures include gradually increasing the daily intake of fiber, getting enough fluids and regular exercise.
Once these measures are not effective, the doctor might prescribe an oral laxative that works by promoting the emptying of the bowels. Always bear in mind that the treatment is effective but can take several months in some cases before regular bowel pattern is restored.
How to prevent constipation
Lifestyle and diet changes can help minimize the risk for developing constipation in the first place. It also recommended that the individual will allow enough time and privacy to pass out stools in a comfortable manner and try not to ignore the urge to use the toilet.
What are the possible complications?
Many individuals who have the condition rarely end up with complications, but those who have long-term constipation can develop hemorrhoids, bowel incontinence and fecal impaction.