November 20, 2019

Constipation Causes, Symptoms, Side Effects and Treatment 

Constipation is a condition where you have infrequent bowel movements that last for a few weeks or longer. Generally, this means that you have less than three bowel movements every week. Being constipated once in a while is very common, but some people have chronic constipation that can make you strain a lot so you can have a bowel movement. Your treatment depends on the cause. 

Constipation Symptoms 

Your constipation symptoms can vary each time you have it, and you can experience a lot of them at the same time. The most common constipation symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Having fewer than three bowel movements each week
  • Having hard or lumpy stools
  • Straining to go tho the bathroom
  • Feeling like you have a blockage
  • Feeling like you don’t empty your rectum completely when you do go
  • Needing assistance to go to the bathroom like pressing on your abdomen

If you’ve had two or more of these symptoms for three consecutive months, your doctor may consider you to be chronically constipated. 

Constipation Causes

One of the main reasons you’d get constipated is because your rectum can’t empty completely, or your stool or waste products move too slowly through your digestive system. Other possible constipation causes include: 

  • Blockages in the rectum or colon 
  • Colon narrowing
  • Rectal cancer
  • Damage to your nerves
  • Multiple Sclerosis 
  • Parkinson’s Disease 
  • Stroke 
  • Muscle issues like weakened muscles
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy 
  • Spinal cord injuries 
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Illness/dehydration 

Constipation Side Effects 

Side effects with constipation are rare, but they do happen. They’re more common with people who have chronic constipation. However, the most common side effects include: 

  • Anal Fissures – An anal fissure is when you get small skin tears around your anus. A hard or large stool can cause anal fissures. 
  • Rectal Prolapse – A rectal prolapse is a medical condition where your intestine protrudes from your anus. This issue comes from straining to have a bowel movement because it stretches your intestine. 
  • Fecal Impaction – People who have chronic constipation can have a buildup of hard stool that gets stuck in their intestines. This condition is called a fecal impaction. 
  • Hemorrhoids – If the veins around your anus swell, this is called hemorrhoids. It’s a painful condition that can require surgery to fix. 

Constipation Treatment 

If you routinely get constipation, you have a few treatment options available to you. Again, these will vary depending on your severity level and whether or not you have side effects present. The treatment options include: 

  • Diet Changes – You want to increase the amount of fiber you eat. Add whole grains, fruits, and vegetables because they’ll encourage your stool to pass through your digestive system. You might have a specific amount of fiber to eat each day. Taking laxatives is another option, but you should talk to your doctor before you do. 
  • Exercise – Engaging in exercise can help stimulate your muscles in your intestines. You want to exercise a few days a week, and don’t ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. 

You don’t have to live with constipation, and it’s treatable. However, you need a professional opinion to get a proper diagnosis, and our Medek healthcare providers are on hand and ready to help. Contact us today!