What is Constipation?
A health article about Constipation fromYour Health Online the A to Z directory of dealing with Health Problems & nutritional Self Care Strategies
Having trouble defaecating or simply having less frequent bowel actions than is normal is know as Constipation. Your motion or faeces (pronounced fee-sees) becomes hard and dry, and you can only pass small pieces with much trouble. You may also have stomach pains, swelling, pain when straining and a feeling of having not quite emptied the bowel.
Signs & Symptoms
Constipation is defined as having a bowel movement fewer than three times per week. The stools are usually hard, dry, small in size, and difficult to eliminate. Some people who are constipated find it painful to have a bowel movement and often experience straining, bloating, and the sensation of a full bowel.
Types 1 & 2 on the Bristol Stool Chart indicate constipation.
What Causes Constipation?
The primary causes for constipation for the majority of people are lack of fiber and lack of water though there are a number of other factors that can contribute to the problem.
The recommended amount of fiber people should be eating each day is recommended by the American Dietetic Association to be between 20 and 35 grams a day but many people on Western diets are only consuming 2 to 15 grams a day. This is obviously going to lead to problems.
The second major cause of the problem is insufficient water. As part of the normal process of breaking down food and absorbing the nutrition you need every day your body clears the waste products created. To do this it needs a steady flow of water to push these wastes through the bowel. Liquids add fluid to the colon and bulk to stools, making bowel movements softer and easier to pass.
Recommended water intake is 8 Large glasses of water a day.
Other Dietary factors
People with Irritable Bowel Syndrome can cause constipation or Celiac-disease often find that variation in food will cause this problem or Diarrhoea.
In this general area of food intolerance people who are Lactose Intolerant may find that consuming milk products can lead directly to constipation problems.
Lack of exercise
A lack of physical activity can lead to constipation, although doctors do not know precisely why. For example, the problem often occurs after an accident or during an illness when one must stay in bed and cannot exercise. Lack of physical activity is thought to be one of the reasons the problem is common in older people.
Pregnancy and changes of lifestyle
During pregnancy, women may be constipated because of hormonal changes or because the uterus compresses the intestine. Aging may also affect bowel regularity, because a slower metabolism results in less intestinal activity and muscle tone. In addition, people often become constipated when traveling, because their normal diet and daily routine are disrupted.
Some medications can cause constipation, including
• pain medications (especially narcotics)
• antacids that contain aluminum and calcium
• blood pressure medications (calcium channel blockers)
• antiparkinson drugs
• iron supplements
Irregular toilet habits
Ignoring the need to go to the toilet when it arises can lead to a changed toilet habits and your body no longer giving clear messages when you need to go. This can also lead to constipation problems.
Abuse of Laxatives
The common belief that people must have a daily bowel movement has led to self-medicating with laxative products. Although people may feel relief when they use laxatives, typically they must increase the dose over time because the body grows reliant on laxatives in order to have a bowel movement. As a result, laxatives may become habit-forming and, in themselves, be a contributing factor in a long term constipation problem.
Change of Diet
People who change diet suddenly can find a problem with Constipation.
If you start on any diet or nutrition program then apply the rule to “not cut out, just cut back”.
For example, if you are drinking 10 strong cups of coffee a day and one day you just stop then since coffee is a diuretic you will be highly likely to become constipated and suffer a range of symptoms form the caffeine being suddenly removed from your diet. Try to introduce major changes in diet gradually.
These articles are useful when reviewing a change in your diet: change of diet and
symptoms to expect when you change your diet
In rare cases, constipation may signal more serious medical conditions, such as colorectal cancer, hormonal disturbances or autoimmune diseases. Check the section here on “When to seek Medical Advice” if you have any doubts and if the self help strategies are not effective then be aware that there may be more serious issues underlying this problem.
You're more likely to have problems with constipation if you're an older adult, are sedentary or bedridden, eat a diet that's low in fiber or don't drink enough fluids. You're also at risk if you take certain medications, including sedatives or narcotics, or you're receiving chemotherapy.
If you're pregnant, you may have bouts of constipation because of hormonal changes. Later in your pregnancy, pressure on your intestines from your uterus also can cause constipation.
More most people a few simple lifestyle choices like:
• Getting more exercise.
• Eating high fiber foods.
• Drinking more water.
• Avoiding Milk if you have lactose intolerance.
• Taking care with sudden Changes of Diet.
When to seek Medical Advice:
See your doctor if you experience a recent, unexplained onset of constipation or change in bowel habits, or any of the following signs or symptoms, which might indicate a more serious health condition:
• Bowel movements just once or twice a week, despite corrective changes in diet or exercise
• Intense abdominal pain
• Blood in your stool
• Constipation that alternates with diarrhea
• Rectal pain
• Thin, pencil-like stools
• Unexplained weight loss
Chronic constipation may lead to complications such as hemorrhoids or, less commonly, anal fissures.
Hemorrhoids. A hemorrhoid is actually a form of a vericose vein that can occur after straining to have a bowel movement. Symptoms include itching, burning, pain, and bleeding. Bleeding from a hemorrhoid is usually bright red, and more often seen on the toilet paper than in the bowl. Always get rectal bleeding checked out by a doctor, even if you suspect it is due to a hemorrhoid.
Anal fissures. A fissure is a tear or ulcer in the lining of the anal canal which is the last part of the rectum before the anus. Symptoms of a fissure include painful bowel movements, bright red blood in the toilet bowel or on toilet paper, anal lump, or swollen skin tag. Fissures are treated by lessening pressure on the anal canal by making sure stools are soft and ease discomfort or bleeding.
Self Care strategies for Living with Constipation
To help prevent constipation:
• Eat fiber regularly. Choose lots of high-fiber foods, including fruits, vegetables, beans and whole-grain cereals and breads. Experiment to see if particular fruits or vegetables have a laxative effect for you. Adding fiber to your diet gradually may help reduce gas and bloating.
Soluble Sources of Fiber include
Psyllium husks (Metamucil)
• Limit problem foods. Foods that are high in fat and sugar and those that tend to be low in fiber content, such as ice cream, cheese and processed foods, may cause or aggravate constipation.
• Drink plenty of liquids. The exact amount of water and other fluids you should drink each day varies and depends on your age, sex, health, activity level and other factors.
• Increase your physical activity. Engage in regular exercise, such as walking, biking or swimming, on most days.
• Heed nature's call. The longer you delay going to the toilet once you feel the urge, the more water that's absorbed from stool and the harder it becomes.
• Try fiber supplements. Over-the-counter products such as Metamucil and Citrucel can help keep stools soft and regular. Check with your doctor about using stool softeners. If you use fiber supplements, be sure to drink plenty of water or other fluids every day. Otherwise, fiber supplements may cause constipation or make the condition worse. Add fiber to your diet slowly to avoid problems with gas.
• Don't rely on stimulant laxatives. These include products such as Correctol and Dulcolax, which cause muscle contractions in the intestines. Habitual use can damage your bowels and make the problem worse. For occasional relief try saline laxatives, such as milk of magnesia. Saline laxatives draw water into the colon to allow stool to pass easier. Keep in mind that long-term use of laxatives can cause dependency. For constipated children, give them plenty of fluids to drink, but avoid giving them laxatives unless your doctor says it's OK.
If there is a long standing problem then it is worth investigating colonic cleansing suggestions.
Often a period of fasting and/or a period on a fruit diet can have a major impact on an existing condition and allow the body to cleanse and clear existing solids so that a more sustainable diet can then be introduced.
Vitamin & Nutrient Associations
For very quick relief from a constipation program then a gentle fiber supplement taken with a lot of water will often push through the problem very quickly.
Often a hot beverage on an empty stomach first thing in the morning will relieve constipation issues. You can use water, as hot as you can comfortably take it or use a green tea based heath drink.
One of the ways to balance nutrition to give the daily requirement of fiber is to use a soy based meal supplement. This give fiber and protein together and also allows healing of existing problems.
Further reading through our articles on health issues will give you a body of information that will help you decide what options you have to deal with the underlying causes of your Constipation problem through giving your body the nutrition products that will assist you body to heal from the inside out.
We wish you well in your search for solutions to this problem and your movement towards better health in all areas.
More Resources available about Constipation :
Below here are examples of Health Success Results other people have had with using a self care strategy for dealing with Constipation:
Share *YOUR* remedy & health success story!
We are on a world-wide mission to source and tell our readers about as many as possible of the natural remedies & self care strategies available, so please help us to grow and improve our health information on this subject.
If you have a proven home remedy or natural treatment or have a great Health Success story, we would love to share it with our readers.
And as a special "Thank You" for your contribution, we will give you our special edition "Health Success Report"!
(When you submit this article you agree to the ***GENERAL RELEASE below this form)
See below here what stories & resources have been contributed on this subject:
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Subscribe to “Your Health Success” free newsletter
BACK TO “Your Health Online”
the A to Z directory of dealing with Health Problems & Self Care Strategies for natural remedies to your health issues.
*** GENERAL RELEASE AND ASSIGNMENT
For good and valuable consideration, the receipt and legal sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged, I ("I", "me", "my") hereby agree as follows:
1) I hereby grant to Warren Tattersall, his successors, assignees and licensees the unlimited right, but not the
obligation, to use any statements made by or attributed to me (my "Statements") as well as my name, voice, and likeness, performance, personal characteristics and other identifying information (jointly and severally with the Statements and the photographs referenced in Paragraph 2 below, my "Personal Characteristics") in and in connection with the advertising, promotion, marketing and other exploitation of Herbalife products or Warren Tattersall’s services in any and all languages and media, now known or hereafter devised, throughout the universe in perpetuity.
2) If I supply Warren Tattersall with photographs of myself on this date or any date subsequent, I agree that Warren Tattersall may use such photographs to the full extent provided above, I warrant and represent that I am the person depicted in the photograph, I am the owner of the photograph, I have the authority to grant the permission and rights granted herein, and no one else’s permission is required to grant such rights, and I understand that the copy of the photograph(s) I supply to Warren Tattersall will not be returned.
3) I understand that Warren Tattersall is not obligated to use my Personal Characteristics as permitted herein or, if commenced, to continue with such use in any territory. I acknowledge and agree that Warren Tattersall may make my Personal Characteristics available to Warren Tattersall’s independent distributors to use as permitted above.
4) In undertaking the act of submitting my words and images through www.TheHealthSuccessSite.com I understand that I am agreeing the terms and conditions of this agreement
I have read this entire General Release and Assignment and fully understand his contents. I likewise understand that this document shall remain in full force and effect unless/until I request that it be terminated, and that any such request must be made in a signed writing. By signing below, I hereby acknowledge and agree to the
I understand that in submitting my material for publication I am granting the rights to reproduce this material on the internet or in other form and I have read the conditions above
SITE DISCLAIMER: Do these products “cure” anything? Of course not… but it stands to reason that if you cleanse your body and feed it the finest nutrition available, giving it everything it needs in balance, on a daily basis, that your body will do what nature intended, and give you the best possible chance to fend off sickness and disease. This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
The resources on this site are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. While all attempts have been made to verify information provided in this publication, neither the author nor the publisher assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the web site subject matter herein. The site contents are solely the opinion of the authors and should not be considered as a form of advice, direction and/or recommendation of any kind. If expert advice or counseling is needed, services of a competent professional should be sought. The author and the Publisher assume no responsibility or liability and specifically disclaim any warranty, express or implied for any products or services mentioned, or any techniques or practices described.
The purchaser or reader of this publication assumes responsibility for the use of these materials and information. Neither the author nor the Publisher assumes any responsibility or liability whatsoever on the behalf of any purchaser or reader of these materials. There is no guarantee of validity of accuracy. Any perceived slight of specific people or organizations is unintentional. This website and its creators are not responsible for the content of any sites linked to. Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to "diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease."
Back to Top of your health online Constipation page
Subscribe to “Your Health Success” newsletter