Constipated human: Symptoms, Causes, Tests, and Treatments
Over-the-counter laxatives for constipation: Use with caution
Over-the-counter laxatives for constipation: Use with caution
Laxatives can help relieve and prevent constipation. But not all laxatives are safe for long-term use. Overuse of certain laxatives can lead to dependency and decreased bowel function.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
If you’ve ever been constipated, you may have tried over-the-counter laxatives. A number of factors — including a poor diet, physical inactivity and some medications — can disrupt normal bowel function and cause constipation.
Many safe, effective over-the-counter laxatives are available to treat occasional constipation in a variety of ways. However, it’s very important to read the label directions carefully and to use them as directed. Overuse of laxatives may cause serious side effects.
Call your doctor immediately if you have:
- Bloody stools
- Severe cramps or pain
- Weakness or unusual tiredness
- Rectal bleeding
- Unexplained changes in bowel patterns
- Constipation that lasts longer than seven days despite laxative use
Before trying laxatives
How often you have a bowel movement varies, but people normally have as many as three bowel movements a day to as few as three a week. You may be constipated if you have fewer bowel movements than are normal for you. In addition, constipation may involve stools that are difficult to pass because they’re hard, dry or small.
However, before turning to laxatives, try these lifestyle changes to help with constipation:
- Eat fiber-rich foods, such as wheat bran, fresh fruits and vegetables, and oats.
- Drink plenty of fluids daily.
- Exercise regularly.
Lifestyle improvements relieve constipation for many people, but if problems continue despite these changes, your next choice may be a mild laxative.
How laxatives relieve constipation
Laxatives work in different ways, and the effectiveness of each laxative type varies from person to person. In general, bulk-forming laxatives, also referred to as fiber supplements, are the gentlest on your body and safest to use long term. Metamucil and Citrucel fall into this category.
Here are some examples of types of laxatives. Even though many laxatives are available over-the-counter, it’s best to talk to your doctor about laxative use and which kind may be best for you.
|Type of laxative (brand examples)||How they work||Side effects|
|Oral osmotics (Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia, Miralax)||Draw water into the colon to allow easier passage of stool||Bloating, cramping, diarrhea, nausea, gas, increased thirst|
|Oral bulk formers (Benefiber, Citrucel, FiberCon, Metamucil)||Absorb water to form soft, bulky stool, prompting normal contraction of intestinal muscles||Bloating, gas, cramping or increased constipation if not taken with enough water|
|Oral stool softeners (Colace, Surfak)||Add moisture to stool to allow strain-free bowel movements||Electrolyte imbalance with prolonged use|
|Oral stimulants (Dulcolax, Senokot)||Trigger rhythmic contractions of intestinal muscles to eliminate stool||Belching, cramping, diarrhea, nausea, urine discoloration with senna and cascara derivatives|
|Rectal suppositories (Dulcolax, Pedia-Lax)||Trigger rhythmic contractions of intestinal muscles and soften stool||Rectal irritation, diarrhea, cramping|
Oral laxatives may interfere with your body’s absorption of some medications and nutrients. Some laxatives can lead to an electrolyte imbalance, especially after prolonged use. Electrolytes — which include calcium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and sodium — regulate a number of body functions. An electrolyte imbalance can cause abnormal heart rhythms, weakness, confusion and seizures.
Combination laxatives: Check labels carefully
Some products combine different types of laxatives, such as a stimulant and a stool softener. But combination products don’t necessarily work more effectively than single-ingredient products. In addition, they may be more likely to cause side effects.
A single-ingredient laxative may work better for you. Read labels to make sure you know what you’re taking, and use with caution.
Risks of laxative use
- Interaction with medications. Your medical history and medications you’re taking may limit your laxative options. Laxatives can interact with some antibiotics, and certain heart and bone medications. Read labels carefully. If you’re not sure whether to try a particular laxative, ask your pharmacist or doctor. Don’t exceed recommended dosages unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
- Complicating conditions. Laxative use can be dangerous if constipation is caused by a serious condition, such as appendicitis or a bowel obstruction. If you frequently use laxatives for weeks or months, they can decrease your colon’s ability to contract and actually worsen constipation.
- Precautions for pregnant women and children. Don’t give children under age 6 laxatives without a doctor’s recommendation. If you’re pregnant, ask your doctor before using laxatives. Bulk-forming laxatives and stool softeners are generally safe to use during pregnancy, but stimulant laxatives may be harmful.
If you’ve recently given birth, consult your doctor before using laxatives. Although they’re usually safe to use during breast-feeding, some ingredients may pass into breast milk and cause diarrhea in nursing infants.
Take laxatives with caution
If you’re dependent on laxatives to have a bowel movement, ask your doctor for suggestions on how to gradually withdraw from them and restore your colon’s natural ability to contract.
June 06, 2017
- Over-the-counter laxatives. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2014;312:1167.
- Constipation. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/constipation. Accessed Jan. 18, 2017.
- Constipation and defecation problems. American Gastroenterological Association. http://patients.gi.org/topics/constipation-and-defection-problems/. Accessed Jan. 18, 2017.
- Wald A. Management of chronic constipation in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 18, 2017.
- Laxative (oral route). Micromedex 2.0 Healthcare Series. http://www.micromedexsolutions.com. Accessed Jan. 18, 2017.
See more In-depth
Products and Services
- Book: Mayo Clinic on Digestive Health
Constipation | Johns Hopkins Medicine
What is constipation?
Constipation is a condition in which a person has uncomfortable or infrequent bowel movements. Generally, a person is considered to be constipated when bowel movements result in passage of small amounts of hard, dry stool, usually fewer than three times a week. However, normal stool elimination may consist of having a bowel movement three times a day or three times a week; it depends on the person.
About 4 million people in the United States have frequent constipation. Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint, resulting in 2.5 million doctor visits annually.
What causes constipation?
Hard, dry stools are the result of the colon absorbing too much water. Normally, as food moves through the colon (also known as the large intestine) the colon absorbs water while forming stool (waste products). Muscle contractions then push the stool toward the rectum, and, by the time the stool reaches the rectum, most of the water has been absorbed, making the stool solid.
When the colon’s muscle contractions are slow or sluggish, the stool moves through the colon too slowly, resulting in too much water being absorbed. Some of the most common causes of constipation include the following:
Lack of exercise
Not enough liquids
Not enough fiber in the diet
Irritable bowel syndrome
Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement
Changes in habits or lifestyle, such as travel, pregnancy, and old age
Problems with intestinal function
Abuse of laxatives
What are the symptoms of constipation?
The following are the most common symptoms of constipation. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Difficult and painful bowel movements
Bowel movements fewer than three times a week
Feeling bloated or uncomfortable
The symptoms of constipation may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
How is constipation diagnosed?
The tests performed by a doctor will depend on the duration and severity of the constipation, since most persons experience constipation at one time or another. The doctor will also take into account the patient’s age, and whether there is blood in the stool, recent changes in bowel habits, or weight loss.
Diagnosing constipation may include:
Medical history. The doctor will ask for a description of the constipation, including duration of symptoms, frequency of bowel movements, and other information to help determine the cause of the constipation.
Physical examination. A physical examination may also include a digital rectal examination (DRE), in which the doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to evaluate the tone of the muscle that closes off the anus. This examination also helps detect tenderness, obstruction, blood, amount and caliber of stool, and if enlargement of the rectum is present.
Other diagnostic tests may include:
Lower GI (gastrointestinal) series (also called barium enema). A lower GI series is a procedure that examines the rectum, the large intestine, and the lower part of the small intestine. A fluid called barium (a metallic, chemical, chalky, liquid used to coat the inside of organs so that they will show up on an X-ray) is given into the rectum as an enema. An X-ray of the abdomen shows strictures (narrowed areas), obstructions (blockages), and other problems.
Colonoscopy. Colonoscopy is a procedure that allows the doctor to view the entire length of the large intestine, and can often help identify abnormal growths, inflamed tissue, ulcers, and bleeding. It involves inserting a colonoscope, a long, flexible, lighted tube, in through the rectum up into the colon. The colonoscope allows the doctor to see the lining of the colon, remove tissue for further examination, and possibly treat some problems that are discovered.
Sigmoidoscopy. A sigmoidoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that allows the doctor to examine the inside of a portion of the large intestine, and is helpful in identifying the causes of diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation, abnormal growths, and bleeding. A short, flexible, lighted tube, called a sigmoidoscope, is inserted into the intestine through the rectum. The scope blows air into the intestine to inflate it and make viewing the inside easier.
Colorectal transit study. This test shows how well food moves through the colon. The patient swallows capsules containing small markers which are visible on X-ray. The patient follows a high-fiber diet during the course of the test, and the movement of the markers through the colon is monitored with abdominal X-rays taken several times three to seven days after the capsule is swallowed.
Anorectal function tests. These tests diagnose constipation caused by an abnormal functioning of the anus or rectum.
Treatment for constipation
Specific treatment for constipation will be determined by your doctor based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the condition
Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of this condition
Your opinion or preference
Most often, constipation can be treated through dietary and lifestyle changes, which relieve symptoms and help prevent the condition. Treatment may include:
Diet modifications. A diet with 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily helps in the formation of soft, bulky stool. While adding foods such as beans, whole grains, bran cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables is helpful in adding fiber to the diet. Limiting foods such as ice cream, cheeses, meats, and processed foods, which contain little or no fiber can also be helpful.
Laxatives. Laxatives may be prescribed after diet and lifestyle changes have failed to be effective.
Eliminating or changing medication
Biofeedback. Biofeedback is used to treat chronic constipation caused by anorectal dysfunction. This treatment retrains the muscles that control release of bowel movements.
Lifestyle changes, such as increased water and juice intake, regular exercise, and allowing enough time for daily bowel movements can be helpful.
What are good fiber sources?
|Foods||Moderate fiber||High fiber|
|Bread||Whole wheat bread, granola bread, wheat bran muffins, Nutri-Grain waffles, popcorn|
|Cereal||Bran Flakes, Raisin Bran, Shredded Wheat, Frosted Mini Wheats, oatmeal, Muslix, granola, oat bran||All-Bran, Bran Buds, Corn Bran, Fiber One, 100% Bran|
|Vegetables||Beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, corn, green beans, green peas, acorn and butternut squash, spinach, potato with skin, avocado|
|Fruits||Apples with peel, dates, papayas, mangos, nectarines, oranges, pears, kiwis, strawberries, applesauce, raspberries, blackberries, raisins||Cooked prunes, dried figs|
|Meat substitutes||Peanut butter , nuts||Baked beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, lima beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, chili with beans, trail mix|
What are complications of constipation?
Constipation can cause complications, such as hemorrhoids, which occur by straining to have a bowel movement, or anal fissures (tears in the skin around the anus) which occur when hard stool stretches the sphincter muscle. This can result in rectal bleeding.
Sometimes, straining also causes rectal prolapse, where a small amount of intestinal lining pushes out from the anal opening. Constipation may also cause fecal impaction, which occurs mostly in children and older adults. The hard stool packs the intestine and rectum so tightly that the normal pushing action of the colon is not enough to expel the stool.
Constipation | Gastrointestinal Society
Click here to download a PDF of this information.
It is normal to have a bowel movement (defecate) anywhere from three times a day to three times a week, as long as the stool (fecal matter) is soft and comfortable to pass. A person experiencing constipation has hard or lumpy stool, which is difficult to pass. Chronic constipation affects 15-30% of Canadians and is commonly found in young children and the elderly, occurring more frequently in females than in males.
Transit time is the duration between when food enters the mouth and when leftover waste finally passes out as stool. A meal could take anywhere from 12-72 hours to travel through the digestive tract. Each person is unique; a normal bowel movement pattern for one person may be very different from those of family members or friends. Some individuals have an irregular pattern, never knowing what to expect. Usually, before food enters the colon, most of the nutrients have been absorbed into the body and the colon’s role is to remove water. If someone has a long transit time, meaning food passes slowly through the colon, then too much water is absorbed, hardening the stool.
Factors that can contribute to constipation, often by altering transit time, include:
- medication side effects (e.g., some narcotics, antidepressants, codeine, calcium or iron supplements, and medications that affect the nervous system),
- diseases in which there is a physiological change to some tissue or organ of the body (e.g., radiation therapy, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, diabetes, stroke, hypothyroidism, or Parkinson’s disease),
- functional disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal obstructions or strictures resulting from surgery, and
- diet and lifestyle choices, such as consuming a diet too low in fibre and fluid, insufficient physical activity, and chronic use of laxatives, suppositories, or enemas.
The increased length of time during which stool remains in the colon causes increased pressure on the bowel, leading to abdominal cramping and bloating. Bowel movements may occur infrequently, resulting in hard, lumpy, dry stool that resembles either many small pellets or one solid, hard, sausage-shaped piece. Rectal pressure or fullness, bloating, abdominal pain, and a sensation of incomplete evacuation are common symptoms of constipation. The slowdown in the digestive tract may also cause poor appetite, back pain, and general malaise.
Most complications result from the intense straining needed to pass stool. These include hemorrhoids, anal fissures, diverticular disease, bright red streaks on the stool (rectal bleeding), and a condition in which the rectal wall pushes out through the anus (rectal prolapse).
A panel of experts developed the main diagnostic criteria for functional constipation, and update them regularly. Below are the current Rome IV diagnostic criteria*.
- must include two or more of the following:
- straining during more than one-fourth (25%) of defecations
- lumpy or hard stools (Bristol stool form scale 1 or 2) more than one-fourth (25%) of defecations
- sensation of incomplete evacuation more than one-fourth (25%) of defecations
- sensation of anorectal obstruction/blockage more than one-fourth (25%) of defecations
- manual manoeuvres to facilitate more than one-fourth (25%) of defecations (such as digital evacuation, or support of the pelvic floor)
- fewer than 3 spontaneous bowel movements per week. Loose stools are rarely present without the use of laxatives
- insufficient criteria for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
*Criteria fulfilled for the last 3 months with symptom onset at least 6 months prior to diagnosis.
A physician may order a number of tests, including blood analysis, to check for abnormal levels of thyroid hormone, electrolytes, or glucose, and a stool sample to examine for hidden (occult) blood. Other tests include a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, which are examinations involving an instrument that allows a physician to see the inside of the rectum and colon. Colorectal screening is recommended in persons older than 50 years of age.
It is important to differentiate between temporary (acute) constipation and chronic constipation, as the treatments and recommendations may differ.
Always check with your healthcare provider before making major changes to your treatment plan and be sure these actions won’t interfere with other conditions you might have.
Dietary and Lifestyle Modifications
Diet: Eating regular well-balanced meals and snacks with high-fibre content, as outlined in Canada’s Food Guide, available on the Health Canada website, and maintaining an adequate fluid intake, is the recommended approach to prevent and manage constipation.
Exercise: Exercise helps move food through the colon more quickly. Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, accelerates your heart and breathing rates, and helps to stimulate the natural contractions of intestinal muscles.
Physiotherapy: Pelvic dysfunction physiotherapy may include bowel retraining, electrical stimulation, and posture correction.
If constipation does not improve with diet and lifestyle changes, then there are supplements and medications available.
Bulk Forming Agents: These are made of indigestible fibre, which absorbs and retains fluid and helps to form a soft, bulky stool (e.g., Metamucil®, Prodiem®). While not quick-acting, they are safe for long-term use. Add these to your diet gradually and increase your fluid intake at the same time.
Enemas: An enema involves insertion of a liquid, usually water, into the rectum via the anus. Typically, after holding the liquid in place for a few minutes, there is an intense urgency to move the bowels.
Stool Softeners: These products work by holding water in the stool (e.g., Colace®). They are safe for long-term use and for pregnant women and the elderly.
Lubricants: Lubricant laxatives coat the colon and stool in a waterproof film, allowing it to remain soft and slip easily through the intestine, usually within 6-8 hours. Don’t use these products for longer than a week, as some have been shown to cause vitamin deficiencies and medication interactions. An example of a lubricant laxative is mineral oil. Mineral oil is not recommended for pregnant women or for persons who have difficulty swallowing.
Stimulants: These laxatives increase muscle contractions to move food along the digestive tract more quickly (e.g., Ex-lax®, Dulcolax®, castor oil, senna tea, and Senokot®). While helpful for constipation, they can come with abdominal cramping, pain, or discomfort, diarrhea, electrolyte abnormalities, including low potassium (hypokalemia), and nausea. Therefore, stimulants are typically recommended for short-term use. However, in some individuals, constipation does not resolve with dietary adjustments, exercise, or short-term laxative use. For those with persistent or difficult constipation, physicians might suggest long-term laxative use, so it is important to check with your doctor if you need ongoing stimulant assistance for a bowel movement. These are not recommended for pregnant women.
Hyperosmotics: Osmotic laxatives encourage bowel movements by drawing water into the bowel from nearby tissue (intestinal lumen), thereby softening stool. Some of these laxatives can cause electrolyte imbalances if they draw out too many nutrients and other substances with the water. They can increase thirst and dehydration. There are four main types of hyperosmotics:
- Saline laxatives are salts dissolved in liquid; they rapidly empty all contents of the bowel, usually working within 30 minutes to 3 hours. Examples of saline laxatives are citrate salts (e.g., Royvac®), magnesium preparations (e.g., Phillips’® Milk of Magnesia), sulfate salts, and sodium phosphate. They are not intended for long-term use or for pregnant women.
- Lactulose laxatives are sugar-like agents that work similarly to saline laxatives but at a much slower rate, and are sometimes used to treat chronic constipation. They take 6 hours to 2 days to produce results.
- Polymer laxatives consist of large molecules that cause the stool to hold and retain water. They are usually non-gritty, tasteless, and are well tolerated for occasional constipation. Results can be expected within 6 hours, but it can take longer depending on the dose. An example of a polymer laxative is polyethylene glycol (e.g., PegaLAX®).
- Glycerine is available as a suppository and mainly has a hyperosmotic effect, but it may also have a stimulant effect from the sodium stearate used in the preparation. Glycerine is available through several manufacturers.
Enterokinetic: Prucalopride succinate (Resotran®) works by targeting the serotonin (5-HT4) receptors in the digestive tract to stimulate motility (muscle movement). It has Health Canada approval for the treatment of chronic idiopathic constipation in women for whom laxative treatment has failed to provide relief. Resotran® usually produces a bowel movement within 2-3 hours and then spontaneous complete bowel movements typically begin occurring within 4-5 days of starting treatment. Side effects may include nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and headache, mostly following the initial dose and then subsiding with ongoing treatment.
Guanylate cyclase-C agonist: Linaclotide (Constella®) works by increasing intestinal fluid secretion, which helps ease the passage of stool through the digestive tract, relieving associated symptoms and has Health Canada approval for the treatment of chronic idiopathic constipation in men and women. In clinical trials, Constella® showed a statistically significant improvement compared with placebo for complete spontaneous bowel movements. The results occurred within the first week, often on the first day, of dosing and were sustained over the 12-week treatment period. Diarrhea is the most commonly noted side effect.
Constipation can occur for many reasons, so treatment often requires trial and error. An individual may experience a short bout of constipation and return to a normal routine, or it may be an ongoing health issue. With diet and lifestyle changes, and the proper use of supplements and medications, most forms of constipation are manageable. If your bowel habits change drastically for no apparent reason, be sure to consult your physician.
Want to learn more about constipation?
We have several related articles that may be helpful:
Image Credits: © bigstockphoto.com/monkeybusinessimages, © _ella_/Dreamstime.com
The human intestinal microbiota of constipated-predominant irritable bowel syndrome patients exhibits anti-inflammatory properties
Canavan, C. , West, J. & Card, T. The epidemiology of irritable bowel syndrome. Clin Epidemiol 6, 71–80 (2014).
Longstreth, G. F. et al. Functional bowel disorders. Gastroenterology 130, 1480–1491 (2006).
Moloney, R. D. et al. Stress and the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis in Visceral Pain: Relevance to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. CNS Neurosci Ther (2015).
Foster, J. A., Lyte, M., Meyer, E. & Cryan, J. F. Gut Microbiota and Brain Function: An Evolving Field in Neuroscience. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol (2015).
Rajilic-Stojanovic, M. et al. Global and deep molecular analysis of microbiota signatures in fecal samples from patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterology 141, 1792–1801 (2011).
Chassard, C. et al. Functional dysbiosis within the gut microbiota of patients with constipated-irritable bowel syndrome. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 35, 828–838 (2012).
Crouzet, L. et al. The hypersensitivity to colonic distension of IBS patients can be transferred to rats through their fecal microbiota. Neurogastroenterol Motil 25, 12103 (2013).
Barbara, G. et al. Activated mast cells in proximity to colonic nerves correlate with abdominal pain in irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterology 126, 693–702 (2004).
Barbara, G. et al. Mast cell-dependent excitation of visceral-nociceptive sensory neurons in irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterology 132, 26–37 (2007).
Cenac, N. et al. Role for protease activity in visceral pain in irritable bowel syndrome. J Clin Invest 117, 636–647 (2007).
Buhner, S. et al. Activation of human enteric neurons by supernatants of colonic biopsy specimens from patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterology 137, 1425–1434 (2009).
Collins, S. M., Piche, T. & Rampal, P. The putative role of inflammation in the irritable bowel syndrome. Gut 49, 743–745 (2001).
Kindt, S. et al. Immune dysfunction in patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders. Neurogastroenterol Motil 21, 389–398 (2009).
Chang, L. et al. Serum and colonic mucosal immune markers in irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol 107, 262–272 (2012).
Matricon, J. et al. Review article: Associations between immune activation, intestinal permeability and the irritable bowel syndrome. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 36, 1009–1031 (2012).
Chadwick, V. S. et al. Activation of the mucosal immune system in irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterology 122, 1778–1783 (2002).
Cremon, C. et al. Mucosal immune activation in irritable bowel syndrome: gender-dependence and association with digestive symptoms. Am J Gastroenterol 104, 392–400 (2009).
Tornblom, H. , Lindberg, G., Nyberg, B. & Veress, B. Full-thickness biopsy of the jejunum reveals inflammation and enteric neuropathy in irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterology 123, 1972–1979 (2002).
Lee, K. J. et al. The alteration of enterochromaffin cell, mast cell, and lamina propria T lymphocyte numbers in irritable bowel syndrome and its relationship with psychological factors. J Gastroenterol Hepatol 23, 1689–1694 (2008).
Braak, B. et al. Mucosal immune cell numbers and visceral sensitivity in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: is there any relationship? Am J Gastroenterol 107 (2012).
Kang, C. S. et al. Extracellular vesicles derived from gut microbiota, especially Akkermansia muciniphila, protect the progression of dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis. PLoS One 8, e76520 (2013).
Anhe, F. F. et al. A polyphenol-rich cranberry extract protects from diet-induced obesity, insulin resistance and intestinal inflammation in association with increased Akkermansia spp. population in the gut microbiota of mice. Gut 64, 872–883 (2015).
Holmen, N., Isaksson, S., Simren, M., Sjovall, H. & Ohman, L. CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells in irritable bowel syndrome patients. Neurogastroenterol Motil 19, 119–125 (2007).
Willing, B. P. et al. A pyrosequencing study in twins shows that gastrointestinal microbial profiles vary with inflammatory bowel disease phenotypes. Gastroenterology 139 (2010).
Wang, W. et al. Increased proportions of Bifidobacterium and the Lactobacillus group and loss of butyrate-producing bacteria in inflammatory bowel disease. J Clin Microbiol 52, 398–406 (2014).
Malinen, E. et al. Analysis of the fecal microbiota of irritable bowel syndrome patients and healthy controls with real-time PCR. Am J Gastroenterol 100, 373–382 (2005).
Krogius-Kurikka, L. et al. Microbial community analysis reveals high level phylogenetic alterations in the overall gastrointestinal microbiota of diarrhoea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome sufferers. BMC Gastroenterol 9, 95 (2009).
Lopez-Siles, M. et al. Mucosa-associated Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Escherichia coli co-abundance can distinguish Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease phenotypes. Int J Med Microbiol 304, 464–475 (2014).
Vandeputte, D. et al. Stool consistency is strongly associated with gut microbiota richness and composition, enterotypes and bacterial growth rates. Gut 65, 57–62 (2016).
Png, C. W. et al. Mucolytic bacteria with increased prevalence in IBD mucosa augment in vitro utilization of mucin by other bacteria. Am J Gastroenterol 105, 2420–2428 (2010).
Vigsnaes, L. K., Brynskov, J., Steenholdt, C., Wilcks, A. & Licht, T. R. Gram-negative bacteria account for main differences between faecal microbiota from patients with ulcerative colitis and healthy controls. Benef Microbes 3, 287–297 (2012).
Sokol, H. et al. Faecalibacterium prausnitzii is an anti-inflammatory commensal bacterium identified by gut microbiota analysis of Crohn disease patients. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105, 16731–16736 (2008).
Reunanen, J. et al. Akkermansia muciniphila Adheres to Enterocytes and Strengthens the Integrity of the Epithelial Cell Layer. Appl Environ Microbiol 81, 3655–3662 (2015).
Derrien, M., Vaughan, E. E., Plugge, C. M. & de Vos, W. M. Akkermansia muciniphila gen. nov., sp. nov., a human intestinal mucin-degrading bacterium. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 54, 1469–1476 (2004).
Everard, A. et al. Cross-talk between Akkermansia muciniphila and intestinal epithelium controls diet-induced obesity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110, 9066–9071 (2013).
Dao, M. C. et al. Akkermansia muciniphila and improved metabolic health during a dietary intervention in obesity: relationship with gut microbiome richness and ecology. Gut 65, 426–436 (2015).
Masui, R. et al. G protein-coupled receptor 43 moderates gut inflammation through cytokine regulation from mononuclear cells. Inflamm Bowel Dis 19, 2848–2856 (2013).
Kim, M. H., Kang, S. G., Park, J. H., Yanagisawa, M. & Kim, C. H. Short-chain fatty acids activate GPR41 and GPR43 on intestinal epithelial cells to promote inflammatory responses in mice. Gastroenterology 145, 396–406 (2013).
Vivinus-Nebot, M. et al. Functional bowel symptoms in quiescent inflammatory bowel diseases: role of epithelial barrier disruption and low-grade inflammation. Gut 63, 744–752 (2014).
Kaser, A., Zeissig, S. & Blumberg, R. S. Inflammatory bowel disease. Annu Rev Immunol 28, 573–621 (2010).
Vareille, M. et al. Heme oxygenase-1 is a critical regulator of nitric oxide production in enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli-infected human enterocytes. J Immunol 180, 5720–5726 (2008).
Robert, C. & Bernalier-Donadille, A. The cellulolytic microflora of the human colon: evidence of microcrystalline cellulose-degrading bacteria in methane-excreting subjects. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 46, 81–89 (2003).
Hamamoto, N. et al. Inhibition of dextran sulphate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in mice by intracolonically administered antibodies against adhesion molecules endothelial leucocyte adhesion molecule-1 (ELAM-1) or intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1). Clin Exp Immunol 117, 462–468 (1999).
Schloss, P. D. et al. Introducing mothur: open-source, platform-independent, community-supported software for describing and comparing microbial communities. Appl Environ Microbiol 75, 7537–7541 (2009).
DeSantis, T. Z. et al. Greengenes, a chimera-checked 16S rRNA gene database and workbench compatible with ARB. Appl Environ Microbiol 72, 5069–5072 (2006).
Edgar, R. C., Haas, B. J., Clemente, J. C., Quince, C. & Knight, R. UCHIME improves sensitivity and speed of chimera detection. Bioinformatics 27, 2194–2200 (2011).
Engel, M. A. et al. Ulcerative colitis in AKR mice is attenuated by intraperitoneally administered anandamide. J Physiol Pharmacol 59, 673–689 (2008).
Wu, H. G. et al. Regulatory mechanism of electroacupuncture in irritable bowel syndrome: preventing MC activation and decreasing SP VIP secretion. Dig Dis Sci 53, 1644–1651 (2008).
Viennois, E., Chen, F., Laroui, H., Baker, M. T. & Merlin, D. Dextran sodium sulfate inhibits the activities of both polymerase and reverse transcriptase: lithium chloride purification, a rapid and efficient technique to purify RNA. BMC Res Notes 6, 360 (2013).
Top 9 Causes Of Constipation And Reasons For Long Term Constipation
When you have long term constipation, your gut is telling you that something needs to change. Discover nine common causes of constipation and when to ask a doctor.
Table of contents
There are few things worse than not having regular bowel movements, yet constant constipation is a surprisingly common problem that is rarely talked about. From extreme constipation to causes of severe constipation and the constipated face you make when your gut is on strike, we’ve got you covered.
Chronic constipation symptoms are diagnosed by doctors who look at several different parameters. The visual appearance and texture of your stool is of primary importance because a major sign of constipation is hard and lumpy stools that often involve prolonged periods of straining to evacuate.
Most common causes of constipation
|Dehydration||Anxiety and stress|
|Low-fiber diet||Low thyroid function|
But that’s not all, to be considered “constant constipation”, this must happen for a period of six months or more. Fortunately, there are many common causes of chronic constipation, so there could be things you can change in your diet and lifestyle to make your life better.
1. Dehydration and constipation
Stool is formed in the large intestine (a.k.a. the colon) after the contents of your meal have been broken down and absorbed in your small intestine, but that’s not all that happens. Water also cycles through your colon throughout the day.
What is chronic constipation? Explained by Ted Ed
Hard and lumpy stools are a trademark sign of the constantly constipated, and they are telling you that too much water has been out of your bowel contents, leaving them drier, harder, and more difficult to pass.
Make sure you are drinking enough water each day, especially if you work out or live in a hot, dry climate because getting dehydrated may be the answer to your question: why am I so constipated? The recommended daily intake of water is two liters per person, that’s equal to eight large glasses of water per day.
2. Low-fiber diet causes functional constipation
Fiber is found in plant foods like vegetables, fruit, seeds, nuts, legumes, and whole grains. What’s fascinating about fiber is that it aids bowel movements in many different ways, which is why low-fiber diets are always at the top of the list for chronic constipation causes.
However, most people don’t eat anywhere near the daily recommended amount of fiber per day (30g for adults). As a result, they experience the symptoms of constipation because their stool lacks the bulk, mass, and water needed to help it pass through the bowel with ease.
☝️TIP☝️ Your gut bacteria influence bloating and constipation. See how they are doing with the Atlas Microbiome Test.
3. Fiber and regular bowel movements
Symptoms of constipation can be caused by a low-fiber diet
There are different types and classifications of dietary fiber, starting with soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber absorbs liquid, creating a gel-like texture that improves the consistency of your stool and helps it glide through the colon. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool that helps the muscles of your gut lining to drive the stool towards the exit.
Within the insoluble and soluble fiber groups, there are actually over a dozen different subcategories of fibers. Several of them provide nourishment to gut bacteria in your intestine that support gut health by helping the intestinal lining to work optimally.
4. The constipation–weight gain link
Constipation and weight gain can actually go hand-in-hand in some cases. In the short-term, you will probably weigh a few hundred grams more if you are constipated because your bowel is full of digested food. Just remember that this is rather insignificant because it hardly impacts your overall body weight.
These foods also lack fiber and can seriously slow down the transit of food through your bowel. To the question: “can constipation cause weight gain”, the answer is no, constipation does not cause weight gain.
5. Bloating and constipation
Methane produced by gut bacteria can cause persistent constipation
Bloating usually happens when you have gas trapped in your gastrointestinal tract. It causes your abdominal area to swell in a visible manner. However, many people also use bloating to describe an uncomfortable feeling of fullness that can happen when serious constipation happens.
You might just feel full and uncomfortable because you haven’t had a proper bowel movement in several days. But you still have to eat, and what you eat can make you feel worse. Some foods and beverages can cause gas to build up in the stomach, like fizzy drinks, or lower down in the intestine, like beans, which are famously gassy.
You can help relieve bloating associated with regular constipation by avoiding foods that make you gassy and opting for fiber-rich and liquid-rich foods, like a simple vegetable soup, to rehydrate and add bulk to your stool for relief.
6. Flatulence and constipation
If you’re feeling bloated, constipated, and like you’re about to pop, then it’s quite a normal situation. As we mentioned above, some foods can increase the gas levels in your digestive tract, and that gas has to go somewhere: belching and farting can help relieve the pressure build-up.
The gut microbiome is now believed to be an important factor in many aspects of your health, including how well your lower digestive system works, especially since good bacteria produce substances that help keep the colon healthy. One company in the UK, Atlas Biomed, offers gut microbiome testing to help people find out what’s going on with their bacteria to help relieve constipation and flatulence.
7. Is constipation a sign of cancer?
Constipation alone is not a sign of cancer, but being constipated all the time is still something serious that should be addressed. Chronic long-term constipation increases the risk of bowel cancer, a common cancer that middle-aged and elderly people are particularly susceptible to. If you have suddenly noticed constipation and weight loss, you should speak to your doctor.
Signs of colon cancer and other serious abdominal problems that you need to look out for are permanent changes in your bowel habits (a change to either diarrhea or constipation), as well as bloody stool, weight loss, and persistent tummy pain, like gas and cramps. If you have several of these symptoms, don’t wait – contact your doctor for diagnostic testing.
8. Anxiety and constipation
Anxiety constipation happens when your stress response is activated
Some people get diarrhea when they’re stressed, and others get constipated when faced with difficult events. Even small things can set off anxiety constipation, like exams and job interviews. So, essentially, yes, anxiety can cause constipation.
Your gut and your brain are connected by your nervous system, so how you feel influences what your digestive system is doing. When something causes stress, your body’s first reaction is to shut down all unnecessary systems, like digestion and sexual organs, so it can redirect its energy towards the fight-or-flight response.
This response can cause frequent constipation if you are more sensitive to the environment around you because your body may be on the lookout for potential “threats”. This evolutionary response prevented you from getting eaten by predators, but in modern society, your body may be misinterpreting these cues. Try mindfulness and relaxation to tone down your stress response.
9. The thyroid-constipation pathway
Hypothyroidism constipation may also help explain why constipation can make you tired. When thyroid function is low, you might also be lethargic and have muscle weakness. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include brittle nails, sensitivity to cold, and weight gain. Speak to your doctor if you have constipation and other symptoms because it might be a thyroid problem.
The final word on persistent constipation
Doctors know how to cure chronic constipation permanently when it’s related to your lifestyle, and it starts with drinking enough water and eating a fiber-rich diet. Here’s exactly what you need to remember about long-term constipation so you can manage it effectively:
- Straining and long periods between bowel movements are signs of constipation
- Long-term chronic constipation may increase the risk of colon cancer
- Your thyroid produces hormones that support healthy digestion and defecation
- Anxiety triggers the stress response that can make people constipated
- Diet, hydration, and exercise can help relieve constipation
- Your gut bacteria influence constipation and digestive health
What to Give a Dog With Constipation
7 Things to Give a Dog With Constipation
by Amy Smith – 6/10/19
Does your dog go longer than one day without a bowel movement? Is he straining while pooping? Does he produce hard, dry feces? These are all signs of constipation, which left untreated can cause serious health problems. You don’t want your companion to suffer the discomfort or complications of constipation. Learn about seven useful home remedies for helping your constipated dog.
Poor diet is a common cause of constipation in dogs. Adding more dietary fiber can help bulk up stools and make them easier to pass. A tried-and-true food remedy is canned pumpkin, which contains lots of dietary fiber as well as moisture to help with dried-out stools. Other sources of fiber that you can add to your dog’s diet include psyllium husk powder (unsweetened, unflavored Metamucil) or ground dark leafy vegetables, such as spinach.
Sedentary habits can contribute to constipation in your dog. Getting your dog moving will also help keep his bowels working properly, as exercise can increase intestinal muscle activity and help move stools through. Dogs’ exercise needs vary by breed, age and size, but a good aim is one full hour of exercise per day.
3. More Fluids
Make sure your dog has constant access to fresh, clean water. It’s possible for a dog to become dehydrated, especially in hot weather or after unusually long periods of activity, and this can lead to constipation. If you suspect your dog isn’t drinking enough water, consider switching to wet canned food, or try adding water or broth to his dry food for extra moisture.
4. Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera juice, produced from the leaves of the aloe vera plant, has mild laxative properties in humans and animals. A small dose of the juice mixed into your dog’s food or water may help move his stool. And its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties can help heal and calm any digestive discomfort that he may be experiencing along with the constipation.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another natural remedy for all kinds of digestive trouble. Although the research is minimal on ACV for dogs, it is safe to use, as its only ingredient is fermented apple juice. Folk wisdom credits ACV with combating infection, promoting healthy gut bacteria and improving overall health. A small amount added to your dog’s water dish could help with constipation.
6. Frequent Opportunities to Go
Sometime constipation isn’t truly a physical problem but a behavioral one. If your dog doesn’t get enough opportunities to eliminate when he’s relaxed and in a comfortable environment, he may retain his stool too long, causing it to be hard and painful when he does try to defecate. Aim for six trips a day to a quiet area that your dog is familiar with, and give him plenty of time to do his business.
7. Stool Softener
If natural remedies don’t produce relief, you can try a stool softener called docusate sodium (Colace). This medication increases water absorption into the intestine, so your dog’s stool will be softer and easier to pass. Be sure to check with your vet before using stool softener, and follow the vet’s recommended dosage.
Remember, if these remedies don’t produce normal bowel movements within a day or two, it’s time to consult your vet for more drastic measures, such as an enema or stronger medication. If constipation goes on for too long, your dog’s colon could become packed with hard fecal matter, causing further pain and even internal damage. Take his constipation seriously!
Amy Smith is a writer, specializing in family and parenting topics. She teaches English, Latin, and music at a private school and lives with her husband and five children on a small homestead in rural Pennsylvania..
Constipation in the Cat | International Cat Care
Constipation is a term used to describe absent, infrequent or difficult passage of faeces (stools).
When constipation occurs, faeces are retained longer than normal in the colon or rectum (large bowel), and as a result the faeces tends to become dryer and harder (through absorption of water across the intestine), which may make the problem worse.
Animals with constipation may exhibit signs of pain when trying to pass faeces (defecate), and this may be accompanied by excessive straining to pass faeces. If there is prolonged constipation, the faeces may become severely impacted in the colon and rectum, and this is known as obstipation. With repeated bouts of constipation or obstipation the colon can become distended and lose its ability to contract and push faeces towards the rectum, a condition called megacolon (meaning very enlarged colon).
Causes of constipation
Many different factors can cause or contribute to constipation in cats. Some of the important causes and considerations are listed here:
Behaviour and lifestyle
Cats can be reluctant to defecate if, for example:
- A litter tray is dirty
- There is competition (with other cats) for a litter tray
- The cat doesn’t like the type of cat litter used
- The litter tray is in a noisy or unpleasant place
- The cat has had a bad experience when using a litter tray
Older cats especially may suffer from pain and discomfort associated with, for example, osteoarthritis. This may make getting in and out of the litter tray or adopting a position to defecate painful.
In some cases there may be pain from the colon or rectum if there are abnormalities there or if the cat has eaten something that causes trauma to the lining of the colon as it passes through. Abscesses or other painful skin conditions around the anus may also cause reluctance to defecate.
Water is absorbed from faeces in the colon and if cats are dehydrated (or not drinking enough) they will try to reabsorb more fluid from the colon, resulting in dry and hard faeces. Chronic kidney disease is common in older cats and leads to increased urine production and so cats tend to become mildly dehydrated and this can be a cause of constipation.
Some metabolic disorders such as low concentrations of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism, a rare condition in cats), and low blood potassium or calcium can interfere with the ability of the colon to contract and can thus predispose to constipation.
The nerves that control the contraction of the bowel can be damaged as a result of trauma (eg, road traffic accidents and ‘tail-pull’ injuries affecting the lower spine). In some cases, faecal incontinence (uncontrolled defecation) may arise, but in others, faecal retention and constipation are seen (sometimes with urinary retention – inability to pass urine – also).
Obstruction of the colon
Deformities of the pelvis (for example a healed fracture of the pelvis after trauma) can cause narrowing of the pelvic canal. This can cause compression of the colon in the pelvis and a build up of faeces behind the area of constriction. If severe, and if this results in prolonged obstipation, secondary megacolon (see below) may develop. Narrowing of the colon can also occur through strictures, tumours, foreign bodies etc.
Megacolon can result from several months of severe constipation and obstipation, causing a gradual and permanent deterioration in the ability of the colon to contract due to persistent over distension. However, megacolon can also arise in the cat as a primary disease with no obvious underlying cause – this is termed idiopathic megacolon. In this disease a problem develops with the muscle of the wall of the colon itself, leading to a progressive inability to contract.
Signs of constipation
Signs of constipation in the cat are usually easy to spot, and include:
- Straining and difficulty passing faeces (called tenesmus)
- Pain when passing faeces
- Decreased frequency of defecation
- Production of small, hard dry faeces (stools)
There may be increased visits to the litter tray with non-productive straining, however it can sometimes be difficult to decide whether the cat is straining to urinate or defecate.
Occasionally, especially in cases of obstipation, the cat may pass faecal fluid rather than formed faeces during straining, which looks like diarrhoea. This can happen because the retained faecal matter irritates the lining of the colon and stimulates some fluid secretion. In severe cases, cats may also lose their appetite and may vomit.
Diagnosis and investigation
Because of the various things that may cause or contribute to constipation, your vet may have to do a number of investigations as well as examining your cat and talking with you about what has been going on. This will be especially important in cases of recurrent or severe constipation. Investigations may include:
- Blood and urine tests
- X-rays or ultrasound
- Endoscopy – using a medical ‘camera’ to look at the inside of the colon and perhaps get biopsies (a procedure called colonoscopy)
- Careful examination under sedation or anaesthesia
The treatment for constipation in any individual cat will depend on the underlying cause of the problem, its severity and its duration. In severe constipation or obstipation, cats may initially have to be hospitalised and placed on intravenous fluids, and then faeces may have to be removed from the colon under anaesthesia. This can be a long process in severely obstipated cats, and sometimes more than one anaesthetic may be required to remove all impacted faeces.
Several options may be used for the ongoing management of cats with constipation:
- Maintaining good hydration – keeping a good fluid intake will be helpful in managing constipated cats, so in general feeding wet (tins, sachets) rather than dry food may help, and encouraging the cat to drink as much as possible.
- Litter tray management – is also important, reviewing the site, size, number and type of litter trays to encourage your cat to use them as frequently as possible. See how to choose and use a litter tray for your cat.
- Dietary management – diet change can be very helpful in cases of constipation. Using a diet with a high moisture content helps (see above) but also with mild cases of constipation having a high fibre diet (or adding fibre to the diet) may help the regular passage of softer faeces. Your vet will be able to advise you on a good diet or dietary supplement. In cats with severe constipation (for example with megacolon), sometimes a very low residue diet (along with laxative drugs, see below) may actually work better than a high fibre diet, and your vet may also suggest trying this.
- Enemas – enemas may sometimes be helpful to relieve mild constipation
- Laxative drugs – A wide variety of different laxative drugs are available, although many may not be specifically licensed for use in cats. Many of these can be very helpful in managing cats with recurrent constipation. Laxatives tend to fall into a few different categories:
- Lubricant laxatives – these are designed to lubricate the colon and make passage of faeces easier. Examples include liquid paraffin. Generally these are not recommended in cats, they are not safe for long-term use and can cause severe problems should the cat inhale the liquid paraffin rather than swallowing it.
- Emollient laxatives – these are drugs that are designed to promote water retention in faeces and thus make the faeces softer. They have a mild action but can sometimes be useful alone or in combination with other drugs
- Osmotic laxatives – these act by drawing water into the faeces to make it softer, and can have a potent action. One of the most commonly used osmotic laxatives is a non-absorbed sugar called lactulose. This can be administered to cats as a liquid (or mixed in with food) and the dose can be adjusted to effect. The actualise is not absorbed from the intestine but its presence in the faeces draws in and retains water. This can be used alone or in combination with other laxatives.
- Stimulant laxatives – some drugs stimulate the contraction of the muscle in the wall of the colon to help propel faeces towards the anus. These drugs act in different ways and some are only safe for short-term use.
- Prokinetic drugs – these are similar to stimulant laxatives in that they assist the neuromuscular control of contractions in the colon. A common example of a drug that has been used widely in cats is cisapride (although this has more limited availability now). This can be used long-term, and can be helpful when combined with other control measures (e.g., lactulose and a low residue diet)
- Surgery – if medical management is not successful in managing constipation, surgery (to remove most of the colon – an operation known as subtotal colectomy) and may be performed. Although this is quite major surgery, and cats will inevitably have diarrhoea for a period of time afterwards, the long-term results of this type of surgery are often very good. In general, cats quickly adapt and the diarrhoea begins to resolve quite quickly.
Chronic constipation is a relatively frequent problem especially in older cats. Although milder cases can often be successfully managed with medical and dietary treatment, some cats, and particularly those more severely affected, may eventually need surgery.
Thank you for visiting our website, we hope you have found our information useful.
All our advice is freely accessible to everyone, wherever you are in the world. However, as a charity, we need your support to enable us to keep delivering high quality and up to date information for everyone. Please consider making a contribution, big or small, to keep our content free, accurate and relevant.
Support International Cat Care from as little £3
90,000 reasons, treatment in Irkutsk at the Expert Clinic
Blessed is he who has a chair in the morning without compulsion,
Food is to his liking, and all is available to enjoyment.
From these lines, the authorship of which is attributed to Pushkin, one can indirectly judge that the problem of constipation was at least known already at the time of the great poet. Unfortunately, it does not lose its relevance today.
We talked about the problem of constipation in adults with Ayuna Khabinichna Mikhailova, candidate of medical sciences, gastroenterologist “Clinic Expert” Irkutsk.
– Ayuna Khabinichna, in what cases can we talk about constipation in an adult? What it is?
If we start from the definition, then constipation is a syndrome (complex of symptoms), which is characterized by a violation of the secretory and evacuation functions of the large intestine. It can manifest itself in the form of a rare stool (less than three times a week), is characterized by a thickening of the consistency of feces, difficulty in defecation (a person struggles for a long time). In this case, a feeling of obstruction in the rectum may appear, or it becomes necessary to apply some special techniques to facilitate the passage of feces.If such manifestations persist for more than three months, they speak of chronic constipation.
Constipation is conventionally divided into functional and organic. With functional constipation, there is only a violation of the contractions of the intestinal wall and there is no organic pathology of the colon.
– Why does constipation occur in an adult? What are the reasons for it?
- a certain – in particular, “western” – style of food. It is characterized by a low content of plant fibers;
- reduced amount of fluid taken by a person throughout the day;
- irregular or changing diet;
- sedentary lifestyle;
- irritable bowel syndrome, one of the forms of which is characterized by a predominance of constipation;
- anal fissure, hemorrhoids;
- Hirschsprung’s disease;
- multiple sclerosis;
- systemic metabolic disorders – in particular, hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus;
- taking a number of medications (constipation as one of the side effects).These medications may include calcium channel blockers, iron supplements, antihistamines;
- Certain mental illnesses (eg depression).
90,026 old age.Such constipation is explained by age-related changes in intestinal contractility, weakness of the pelvic floor muscles, and some concomitant diseases;
90,026 strictures (narrowing) of the colon;
90,026 colon cancer;
I would also like to note this moment. It is very important to pay attention to the so-called “anxiety symptoms”, a kind of “red flags”: their appearance is a reason to immediately consult a doctor. Among them:
- acute constipation that came on suddenly, against the background of complete health and normal stool;
- appearance in the feces of blood, pus;
- weight loss, fever, general weakness, decreased appetite.
– Children have such a thing as psychological constipation. Does this happen in adults?
If we talk specifically about the fear of defecation, as is observed in children, then in adult practice I have never encountered such a phenomenon. However, for example, a situation is possible when the act of defecation is difficult for a person due to the upcoming flight (lack of time) or during it; due to the lack of a toilet nearby, etc. In this regard, a person has to suppress the urge to defecate.That is, it is rather a situation that can lead to constipation.
– How can you find the cause of constipation? What diagnostic methods are used for this?
First of all, you need to conduct a detailed survey of the patient, finding out the nature of the diet, the mode of food intake, the volume of fluid consumed, all the characteristics of defecation (frequency, consistency of feces, the presence of pain during defecation, etc.), the presence of any other symptoms.
Then the doctor examines the patient (including the anorectal region), probes (palpates) the abdomen.
After that, depending on the doctor’s assumptions, instrumental research methods are prescribed. Among them, the main method is colonoscopy, an X-ray examination of the intestines with barium. Special tests may also be prescribed to study bowel function.
Learn more about the video colonoscopy procedure here.
– What are the possible consequences of constipation in adults?
– First of all, this is a violation of the quality of life: the patient may develop a psychological dependence on the problem.Constipation prevents a person from living, working, developing.
Constipation increases the likelihood of anal fissure, hemorrhoids, diverticular disease and colon cancer. With a prolonged (a week or more) retention of feces in the large intestine and their absorption into the blood, intoxication (poisoning) with the products of intestinal contents is possible. Ischemia (circulatory failure) in the colon mucosa may develop, and mucosal cells may be damaged.
– What to do in case of constipation in an adult? How to fix a chair?
Treatment of constipation in adults is as follows. It is important to analyze the patient’s lifestyle. First of all, you need to adjust the power supply. You should eat at least 400 grams of vegetables and fruits per day. The amount of vegetable fiber (dietary fiber) as such should be at least 20-25 grams per day. Its source is, for example, bran – they can be taken if vegetables and fruits are not available to a person for some reason.However, a side effect of bran can be some bloating and abdominal pain, so some people may refuse to take bran because of these symptoms.
No less important is the regularity of meals, with an obligatory, moderately high-calorie breakfast, not a late dinner.
The volume of daily drunk liquid is about 2 liters. It is useful to drink 1-2 glasses of water at room temperature in the morning. Drinks containing caffeine have some laxative effects.
You need to move enough.This is at least 40 minutes of walking at least 3 times a week. Movements increase intestinal peristalsis. Alternatively, you can work out on a treadmill and ride a bike.
It is important to try to develop a certain mode of bowel emptying, that is, at a set time of day – a kind of automatism, a reflex. Even if at first there is no act of defecation, over time it can get better and “become attached” to time. It is also necessary to take into account the position of the patient during bowel movement – the so-called “eagle pose”, when the knees are pulled up to the stomach, there is a low chair under the legs.
Now about drug treatment. Laxatives are used. These are primarily agents that increase the volume of intestinal contents. One example is lactulose-based preparations. It is a synthetic non-absorbable complex carbohydrate classified as oligosaccharides. From plants, psyllium is used. Another group is drugs that enhance bowel contractions.
In order to eliminate constipation that appeared against the background of another disease, it is imperative to treat this disease.
It should be remembered that the work with the large intestine is quite painstaking and relatively long.
– How to prevent constipation in an adult?
- eat rationally. In this concept, I include not only a balanced diet for all the necessary substances, but also the regularity of food intake (at least 3 times a day). Fresh fruits and vegetables, which can increase gas production, are best eaten in the morning.
- move.Alternatively, walk for 40 minutes 3 times a week. It’s minimum. If for some reason this is impossible – for example, due to articular pathology – then walking should be replaced with physical exercises, individually selected by the doctor.
- Treat diseases that may cause constipation.
90,026 drink about 2 liters of liquid per day;
You can make an appointment with a gastroenterologist at the Irkutsk clinic here.
ATTENTION: the service is not available in all cities
The editors recommend:
Is it possible to check the large intestine without endoscopy? We are talking about virtual colonoscopy
The risk is on the verge.How was Helicobacter pylori discovered?
Mikhailova Ayuna Khabinichna
1996 Graduate of the Faculty of General Medicine of Irkutsk State Medical University.
Graduated from internship in therapy in 1997.
From 2001 to 2003 – clinical residency in gastroenterology.
In 2009 she completed a postgraduate course in gastroenterology.He has a PhD in Medicine.
Currently, a gastroenterologist at the “Expert Clinic” Irkutsk. Accepts at the address: st. Kozhova 9A.
90,000 Constipation in an elderly person
Chronic constipation is typical for older people after 55-60 years. They are associated with negative age-related changes in the intestines.
It is necessary to monitor the condition of the elderly stool, and if constipation develops, consult a doctor. With constipation, feces can severely poison the body of the elderly.
Treatment of the problem is long-term. You need to take medications, change your lifestyle and diet, treat chronic diseases, follow general recommendations for further prevention.
Specialists of the nursing home tell you how to cope with constipation in a pensioner.
Constipation in the elderly is accompanied by the following symptoms:
• Difficult emptying with pain, often partial;
• Feces come out in small pieces;
• A person rarely visits the toilet, there is no stool for more than 2 days, emptying – less than 3 times a week;
• Cramping pain in the lower abdomen;
• Belching and nausea.
The main reason lies in atony – loss of intestinal muscle tone due to aging of the body. The intestine loses sensitivity and does not always send signals to the brain about the need for emptying.
Constipation may indicate an unhealthy lifestyle or be a sign of diseases: vascular thrombosis, diabetes mellitus, intestinal ailments, thyroid problems, atherosclerosis, colon tumors and others.
It often occurs with an unhealthy diet, lack of fluid, due to obesity, frequent stress, a sedentary lifestyle, surgery, taking certain medications.
Treatment for constipation will depend on the underlying cause. For diagnosis and subsequent treatment, you need to go to a gastroenterologist. If constipation occurs in a bedridden patient, you need to call a local therapist at home. You cannot heal yourself.
Specialists of the nursing home in Vsevolozhsk region talk about the complex treatment of constipation in the elderly.
An enema is prescribed for cleansing, it is also used for first aid in difficult cases.You need to use an enema strictly according to the instructions.
Regular fluid intake can restore healthy bowel activity over time. You can drink a glass of warm water or tea in the morning, and go to the toilet after half an hour. It is necessary to observe such a drink every day in order to develop an emptying reflex.
Examine the state of the patient’s body in order to identify the root cause of constipation. It is necessary to treat the internal problem in order to get rid of chronic constipation.
It is important to review nutrition. It is useful to moderately and gradually include fiber (vegetables, fruits, durum pasta, nuts, seeds, cereals, bran) and dairy products in the diet. You need to consume a lot of liquid (water, compotes, teas, broths). For breakfast, it is worth eating a little fatty food (if the person does not have problems with the gallbladder) to stimulate the production of bile for the intestines. Meals should be fractional and frequent – 5-6 times a day. You should give up junk food: sweets, smoked meats, fatty, rich, alcoholic beverages.
Physical activity is recommended – it improves intestinal motility and protects against constipation. Gymnastics is useful, for a lying person – simple and light exercises (flexion-extension of the limbs), walks and physical labor.
Medicines for constipation are aimed at normalizing bowel function, have various actions. A specialist can prescribe tablets Senade, Guttalax, vaseline and almond oil for lubrication, various suppositories (course treatment).
Physiotherapy shows electrophoresis, electropuncture, warm baths, mud therapy.
Traditional medicine is an auxiliary method of treatment for chronic constipation, various decoctions and infusions are used.
In difficult situations, the patient is prescribed an operation, during which the large intestine is removed.
Constipation in the elderly should be recognized and treated early. If you do not pay attention to the problem, it can lead to complications: hemorrhoids, cracks in the anus, intestinal protrusions, chronic intoxication.
Healthy nutrition with a high fluid content, physical activity and gymnastics are the prevention of constipation in the elderly.
Treatment of fecal incontinence and constipation in adults with central nervous system disorders
Individuals with a central nervous system disorder or injury are much more at risk of losing bowel control and the risk of developing severe constipation than other people. This is called neurogenic bowel dysfunction (NDD).It is very difficult to treat constipation without causing fecal incontinence, or to prevent fecal incontinence without causing constipation. These people always have to spend much more time emptying their bowels. These gut problems cause anxiety and stress and can reduce the quality of life for people with these problems. This review of NIR studies may be of interest to people with any central nervous system damage caused by disease or trauma, as well as people with perinatal central nervous system damage that has a long-term effect on their bowel function.
Despite the fact that a lot of information has been accumulated about the causes of NIR, a rather small number of studies are devoted to the practical aspects of solving this problem. Currently, the main advice in such cases is to consume enough fluids, a balanced diet, as well as exercise and regular routine bowel movements. Routine bowel movements may include the use of oral medications, suppository laxatives, or enemas; abdominal massage; digital rectal stimulation and digital fecal evacuation.Actions will depend on the needs of each individual, and trial and error will usually lead to a suitable program.
Only those studies in which participants were assigned either to a control group (those who did not undergo the intervention and those who received conventional treatment) or to a random treatment group (what is called randomization) were included in this review. as these studies provide the most reliable evidence. Fifteen new studies have been added in this review update.Five studies were removed because the reported drugs (cisapride and tegaserod) were withdrawn from the market and are no longer available. Most of the 20 randomized trials in this review included very small numbers of participants, and the study reports did not always provide the information needed to validate the results of these studies.
Several oral laxatives have been shown to improve bowel function, including bulk laxatives (psyllium, one study) and isoosmotic macrogol (one study), which have been studied in patients with Parkinson’s disease.Some suppositories and microclysters used to help the bowel open provided faster results than others (three studies), and the timing of suppository use may influence bowel response (one study). Finger stool evacuation may be more effective than oral or rectal medication (one study). The use of transanal irrigation in people with spinal cord injury improved bowel control, reduced constipation, and improved quality of life (one study).Three studies showed that abdominal massage was beneficial in relieving constipation. One study has shown that patients can benefit from even one training session led by a nurse.
This review shows that there is still very little research on this common problem, which is so important to patients. The research evidence found in this review is generally of very low quality, as the way the studies are conducted and the reports on them do not qualify the results to be reliable.It is not possible to make recommendations for care based on these studies. The treatment of NIR will continue to be based on trial and error until more high-quality, high-quality research is conducted that investigates the most important aspects of the problem.
I haven’t had a chair for two days. It is very dangerous? – Your doctor
People come to our clinic with this question very often.But we have an answer for you that will help you save time and money: most likely, there is no danger to health. Details are in the article.
In fact, all people have their own need to go to the toilet. Most people use the toilet 0-4 times a week, but the frequency can vary from three times a day to three times a week.
As a rule, stool retention of two days is normal. The biggest threat to your health in this situation is mild discomfort.Most likely, in the near future you will be able to visit the toilet without additional treatment.
However, if you are used to going to the toilet at least three times a day, you should listen to your feelings – you may have constipation.
Most doctors consider constipation a situation in which:
- 90,270 people defecate less than three times a week
faeces, dry and solid
bowel movement painful or effortful
after using the toilet, there was a feeling of incomplete emptying of the intestines.
The causes of constipation can be many – from lifestyle and nutritional characteristics to medication and hormonal changes in the body. For example, pregnant women often suffer from constipation – hormones that relax the intestinal muscles are to blame, and the pressure of the enlarged uterus on the intestines also contributes to constipation.
However, for most people, the causes of constipation are much more commonplace:
lack of fiber in food – this is typical for people who eat few vegetables and fruits
Dairy consumption – large quantities of milk and cheese can cause constipation.
dehydration – this happens if a person has lost the habit of paying attention to thirst and does not drink enough water, so that the feces are too hard.
sedentary lifestyle – people who work in the office spend most of the day at the computer. But our body is not very adapted to this: in the movement of food through the intestines (doctors call it “peristalsis”), the abdominal muscles also take part.People who move frequently and a lot are less likely to suffer from constipation than sedentary people.
lifestyle changes – such as travel, unfamiliar food, or other short-term stress.
Regular abstinence – if you often have to “endure” before going to the bathroom, the urge gets weaker and the likelihood of constipation increases.
Sometimes constipation is drug related.These can range from relatively harmless antihistamines and over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen to “serious” drugs like strong pain relievers and antidepressants. If after the start of treatment, “pill” constipation begins to occur regularly, tell your doctor so that he can adjust the dosage or change the drug.
If stool retention lasts only two days, the problem can usually be resolved without the help of a doctor. This is usually enough:
Listen to yourself.It is important to understand in time what you want to drink or to the toilet. For this it is sometimes useful to be distracted from work. During the break, you can drink tea or coffee – these drinks also improve bowel movements.
Increase the amount of fiber in your diet. The recommended amount of dietary fiber is 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day. For most people, a couple of apples, a serving of vegetables, and a bowl of whole grain pasta will be enough. For constipation, citrus fruits and prunes, wheat bran, oat or flax cereals are especially useful.
It is better to increase the fiber content gradually – if you overeat vegetables and fruits, your stomach may ache from habit.
Move. Enough warm-ups and a daily hour-long walk.
Laxatives should not be taken on their own – even if they are sold without a prescription. There are 4 types of laxatives, they are designed to solve various problems, so choosing the right drug is difficult. In addition, drugs have contraindications, and there is a chance not to guess with the dosage, provoking another problem – diarrhea.
If you have not had any problems with stool before, you should consult your doctor before buying a laxative. The doctor will explain which medication to choose, in what dosage and how long to take it.
Schedule a visit to your doctor if lifestyle changes have not worked and the constipation lasts longer than three weeks.
There are situations when you cannot wait three weeks. Make an urgent appointment or call a doctor if, in addition to constipation, you have the following symptoms:
Psychological constipation in children | Artyomovsk Children’s Hospital
1.Outpatient medical care includes all types of outpatient care permitted on an outpatient basis, for children, adolescents:
1.1. Preventive examinations of children and adolescents upon admission to preschool, secondary and higher educational institutions.
1.2. Preventive medical examinations of children and adolescents under 18 years of age attending educational institutions.
1.3. Outpatient clinics on a territorial-production basis (except for the acquisition of immunobiological drugs) for children, adolescents, the adult population of vaccinations included in the national calendar of preventive vaccinations, in accordance with federal laws of September 17, 1998 No. 157-FZ “On immunization of infectious diseases” , dated March 30, 1999 No. 52-FZ “On the sanitary and epidemiological well-being of the population”, the order of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation dated June 27, 2001 No. 229 “On the national calendar of preventive vaccinations and the calendar of preventive vaccinations for epidemic indications”, the order of the Ministry of Health and social development of the Russian Federation dated January 11, 2007 No. 14 “On amendments to the order of the Ministry of Health of Russia dated June 27, 2001 No.No. 229 “On the national calendar of preventive vaccinations and the calendar of preventive vaccinations for epidemic indications” and the approval of the reporting form No. 68 “Information on the contingent of children and adults additionally immunized against hepatitis B, poliomyelitis, influenza, rubella, and on the movement of vaccines for immunization.”
1.4. Vaccinations in accordance with the order of the USSR Ministry of Health
dated April 09, 1990 No. 141 “On further improvement of measures for the prevention of tick-borne encephalitis”, orders of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation dated October 7, 1997 No. 297 “On improving measures for the prevention of rabies in people” (except for the acquisition of immunobiological drugs), dated May 17, 1999, No. 174 “On measures to further improve the prevention of tetanus.”
1.5. Dispensary observation of patients, including certain categories of citizens who have the right to receive a set of social services; persons exposed to radiation; pregnant women, women in labor; healthy and sick children and adolescents; recovered from infectious diseases.
1.6. Dynamic medical monitoring of the growth and development of the child.
1.7. Fluorographic examination in the manner prescribed by the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of December 25, 2001 No. 892 “On the implementation of the Federal Law” On the prevention of the spread of tuberculosis in the Russian Federation. “
1.8. Provision of emergency medical care, diagnosis, treatment of
patients with acute illnesses, injuries, poisoning, exacerbation of chronic diseases.
1.9. Consultations of specialists in the direction of the attending physician of an outpatient clinic.
1.10. Day hospital treatment of patients with acute and chronic diseases.
1.11. Treatment in hospitals at home for patients with acute and chronic diseases, the condition of which does not require round-the-clock monitoring in hospitals.
1.12. Rehabilitation treatment according to a doctor’s referral.
1.13. Registration of documents for referral to the examination of patients in the bureau of medical and social expertise to determine persistent disability and an individual rehabilitation program; paperwork for the provision of high-tech medical care.
1.14. Conducting clinical observation and diagnostic examinations of contact patients in the foci of infectious diseases.
1.15. Medical advice on determining the professional suitability of minors in the manner and under the conditions determined by this Program in accordance with the Fundamentals of the legislation of the Russian Federation on the protection of the health of citizens of July 22, 1993 No. 5487-1.
1.16. Registration of documents for referral to sanatorium treatment of citizens.
1.17. Medical examination of citizens (according to the list of diseases and types of medical care within the framework of the basic program of compulsory medical insurance) by the direction of the medical commissions of military commissariats based on the results of medical examination in accordance with Article 5.1 of the Federal Law of March 28, 1998 No. 53-FZ “On military service and military service “and the decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of February 25, 2003 No. 123” On the approval of the Regulations on military medical expertise. “
1.18. Conducting a comprehensive laboratory study of adolescents 15 – 18 years old with a referral from a pediatrician of an educational institution to create a reproductive health passport.
90,000 How to get rid of constipation at home, remedies for adults
What is constipation
Constipation is considered to be stool retention for more than two days. This condition is also characterized by incomplete emptying of the intestines, accompanied by unpleasant sensations, a change in the consistency of feces and the need for excessive straining during bowel movements.
People who neglect the rules of a healthy diet and lead a sedentary lifestyle are most often susceptible to constipation. Constipation is classified according to two criteria: etiology (cause of occurrence) and pathogenesis (mechanism of development).
According to the etiology, constipation is divided into:
- Primary. They arise as a result of congenital or acquired pathologies of the colon.
- Secondary. They are the result of another disease, injury, as well as side effects of pharmacological drugs.
- Idiopathic. This definition hides the impossibility of finding out the exact cause of the intestinal dysfunction. Constipation of unknown etiology is also called cryptogenic.
Classification by pathogenesis:
- Alimentary. It develops in violation of the diet and a decrease in water consumption.
- Mechanical. It is caused by neoplasms in the large intestine. They can be both tumors and polyps or lymph node clots, as well as adhesions or kinks.
- Dyskinetic. It occurs due to a violation of intestinal motility, which is the result of nervous tension. This type of constipation is also called neurogenic.
Strictly speaking, constipation itself is a symptom or side effect. At least, modern medicine does not consider it as an independent disease, although constipation is formally included in the list of diseases according to ICD-10. If we talk about concomitant manifestations (not to be confused with the criteria), then they include:
- Feeling of heaviness and discomfort in the lower abdomen and rectum;
- bloating, flatulence;
- Feeling of incomplete emptying of the intestines.
90,026 decreased appetite;
90,026 loss of energy, irritability, depression;
When to see a doctor?
Constipation as an episodic phenomenon should not cause undue concern. Often the reason lies in poor nutrition, stress or a change in environment (moving, business trips, etc.), and eliminating the provoking factors solves the problem. However, if constipation continues on a regular basis, this may mean that there are health problems, therefore, in such a situation, you should not postpone a visit to a gastroenterologist.
Particular attention should be paid to this problem for pregnant women, since excessive straining is contraindicated for them.In addition, constipation is fraught with the development of intoxication of the body, which is also completely useless for a pregnant woman.
People prone to diseases of the gastrointestinal tract should also regard increasing constipation as a signal from the body that the course of the disease is worsening. Therefore, one should not expect that the problem will be solved by itself – in such situations, the help of a doctor is needed.
Where does constipation come from
Stool retention periodically occurs in all people, regardless of age, gender and political views.Constipation can occur for a variety of reasons. Let’s consider them in more detail.
Any situations associated with nervous tension can cause stool retention, since the nervous system regulates all vital processes in the body, including intestinal motility. Stress can affect digestive function in an unpredictable way, as a vast network of neurons is located in the human gut, which provides communication with the central nervous system.
That is why situations involving emotional discomfort, whether it be a minor domestic conflict or chronic nervous overstrain associated with work, can lead to constipation. Separately, mention should be made of the change of scenery: very often problems of this kind arise when moving to a new place of residence or in field conditions.
Constipation occurs quite often in pregnant women for several reasons at once:
- In the first half of pregnancy, a change in hormonal levels occurs, as a result of which the synthesis of progesterone increases.This hormone lowers the tone of the uterus and helps prevent premature birth. However, it also weakens the tone of smooth muscles, thereby impairing intestinal motility.
- Around the end of the second trimester, the constantly enlarging uterus puts pressure on the rectum, which also hinders peristalsis and leads to regular stool retention.
- The influence of medications. Many women are prescribed antispasmodics during pregnancy, as well as iron and calcium supplements.One of the side effects of these medications is the compaction of stool and the weakening of intestinal motility.
This can also be supplemented by decreased physical activity, stress and severe toxicosis.
Despite the fact that skeletal muscles are of the striated type, and the intestinal musculature is smooth, there is a close relationship between their activity. In other words, the less a person moves, the greater the risk of constipation.Sedentary work and low physical activity are almost guaranteed to lead to stool retention.
Lack of fluid
The production of digestive juices decreases in people who consume insufficient amount of water. In addition, the stool becomes too dry and hard, which makes it difficult for them to move through the intestines.
Constipation can be provoked not only by a lack of fruits and vegetables in the diet, but also by eating muffins, large amounts of meat, rice, smoked and fatty foods.In addition, the absence of the habit of eating at the same time, evenly distributing the amount of food for each meal, also contributes to impaired intestinal motility.
Treatment of constipation
Choosing methods of treating constipation, the doctor primarily focuses on eliminating the causes that caused this condition. Treatment should be comprehensive, however, regardless of its main course, all patients should increase their physical activity, adjust their diet and consume at least one and a half to two liters of water per day.Treatment methods can be grouped, which we will discuss below.
Physiotherapeutic methods are used to relieve constipation as part of ancillary therapy. It should be noted that the appropriateness of the application of some of them is the subject of controversy and discussion in science. Not all modern medical guidelines contain such information.
- Belly massage. It is assumed that this method helps to improve intestinal motility and relieve spasms.Mainly gentle pressing and stroking movements are used, which are performed strictly clockwise.
- Electro-impulse therapy. Due to the use of electrical impulses, the contractile function of intestinal smooth muscles improves, which is especially important for atonic constipation.
- Inductothermy. It is usually used for neurogenic constipation of a spastic nature, as well as for inflammatory processes in the intestine that provoke stool retention.The essence of the method is in the application of a high-frequency electromagnetic field.
- Electrophoresis with novocaine. A gauze cloth moistened with a solution of novocaine is placed on the patient’s lumbar region. Due to the influence of a constant or pulsed electric current, the drug flows through the skin to the lumbar plexus. The procedure is relatively painless – the patient only feels a slight tingling sensation.
Separately, mention should be made of methods such as acupressure (shiatsu), acupuncture (acupuncture), aromatherapy and other branches of Far Eastern traditional medicine.At the end of the last century, these techniques were widely advertised by all sorts of charlatans from medicine as a universal remedy for almost any disease. Currently, their popularity is gradually dwindling, and so far there has been no evidence of the effectiveness of such techniques.
It is important to understand that from the point of view of modern medicine, stimulation and piercing of various points on the body, supposedly responsible for improving bowel function, have no proven clinical effectiveness.At best, the patient can count on a placebo effect.
As an alternative to pharmacological preparations, herbal remedies with a laxative effect can be used. However, it is not recommended to choose them yourself, since if used incorrectly or unjustifiably, they will do more harm than good.
Some herbs have an antispasmodic effect, others irritate the nerve endings of the intestine. The use of such effects should be related to the cause of the constipation, and only the attending physician can understand it.Some of the most common herbal remedies for constipation include licorice root, senna, buckthorn and oregano, which are used to prepare decoctions. In addition, ready-made laxative preparations are sold in pharmacies. It should also be remembered that any laxative drugs with prolonged use (2 weeks or more) are addictive.
If you disassemble laxatives aimed directly at relieving constipation, then they can be divided into several groups.
This group of drugs does not give a quick laxative effect, since it is aimed at normalizing the composition of the intestinal microflora – this takes a certain amount of time. In essence, prebiotics are a breeding ground for lacto- and bifidobacteria, without which the intestines cannot function normally. The main active ingredients of prebiotics are inulin and lactulose. They are poorly digested, and therefore reach the intestines practically unchanged, contributing to the growth of beneficial microflora.
These remedies allow you to quickly get rid of constipation, but they are recommended to be taken in case of acute stool retention. Osmotic laxatives may also be prescribed to a patient to cleanse the bowel before diagnostic procedures. Drugs in this group promote the accumulation of fluid in the intestine, which creates the osmotic pressure necessary for normal bowel movements. Osmotic laxatives are made with macrogol, lactitol, and magnesium sulfate.
Preparations of this group improve peristalsis by improving the excitability of intestinal receptors. As a result, the propulsive activity and motility of the gastrointestinal tract are improved. It is not recommended to take such drugs on your own, as they can disrupt the heart rhythm. The active components of prokinetics are itopride hydrochloride, domperidone and metoclopramide.
The laxative effect of drugs in this group is achieved due to the lubricating effect: stool softens and improves their movement through the intestines.Lubricants are available both for oral administration (flaxseed oil and mineral oil) and for rectal administration in the form of suppositories (with glycerin or sodium docusate).
Preparations based on bisacodyl and sodium picosulfate improve peristalsis due to irritating effect. They are considered second-line drugs because they are highly addictive, contributing to the development of the so-called lazy bowel syndrome. In addition, irritation is associated with side effects such as cramping abdominal pain or diarrhea.
Appointed only for spastic constipation. Most often, drugs based on drotaverine and bendazole are used, which relieve spasm of intestinal smooth muscles and contribute to its relaxation. In other forms of constipation, these remedies can have the opposite effect.
Diet and lifestyle correction
It is necessary to learn to eat not only correctly, but also in a timely manner. The intervals between meals should be approximately equal. The same applies to the distribution of its volume throughout the day.How does it look in practice?
Since the middle of the last century, many people in Russia have been accustomed to having breakfast in a hurry, and during the lunch break to kill their appetite with a dry-boiled sandwich. At the same time, during dinner, “compensate” for malnutrition during the day with an abundance of food, using the first, second and dessert at one time. Unfortunately, this is not the healthiest eating style.
Another assumption implies a ban on eating after a certain time of day. However, the secret to maintaining a healthy weight lies not in evening fasting at all, but in the correct distribution of the balance of nutrients throughout the day, as well as in physical activity.
Overeating at night is really harmful, especially when it comes to foods rich in complex carbohydrates. However, you do not need to torture yourself with hunger: lean meat combined with whole grain bread and vegetables or cottage cheese with kefir not only stimulate normal digestion, but also help maintain normal weight.
To ensure normal intestinal motility, you should eat at least three times a day, and preferably at the same time. If possible, it is better to eat fractionally, in small portions, about 4-5 times a day.To do this, you can either take a lunch box with you to work or study, or dine in the dining room.
It is important to provide at least minimal physical activity. Work for a large number of modern people is associated with a long stay in a sitting position. This negatively affects intestinal motility. But you can find a little time for physical activity. For example, you can replace taking the elevator by walking up the stairs, and public transportation by walking. Perhaps this will slightly increase the travel time, but the result is worth it – in addition to intestinal motility, walking improves sleep and overall well-being.
It is very beneficial to do physical exercises, working out the legs, shoulder girdle and abdominal muscles. This is best done at the gym, but there are many exercises that are easy to do at home. It is more efficient to spend an extra hour on exercise or walking than to spend the same time every day in the toilet torture.
You should also develop the habit of emptying your bowels at the same time of day and not create the need to regularly suppress the urge to defecate at the wrong time.
Regular suppression of the urge to empty the bowel reduces the reflexes of the rectum, which ensure normal bowel movements.
It is categorically not recommended to eat “dry water”, it is better to always have the opportunity to drink food. You can also add more liquid foods, such as soups, to your diet.
Most of the traditional methods aimed at treating constipation are somehow associated with the intake of any products or decoctions. Below we have described a number of foods that can help relieve symptoms of constipation and support prevention.
What to eat with constipation
If you experience constipation, do not rush to buy a laxative. First, you should reconsider your diet. Is there enough fiber in the diet? Fiber is the part of plant foods that the body cannot break down. When eating fiber-rich foods, the extra fiber helps keep stools soft and speeds up digestion.
All plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, contain fiber.The nutritionist recommends consuming 25 grams of fiber per day for women and up to 38 grams for men. After 50 years, the amount can be reduced to 21 grams for women and 30 grams for men. The percentage of fiber content is indicated in table No. 1.
If during the day you cannot get the required amount of fiber from fruits and vegetables, you can compensate for its lack by using granulated bran: 40-50 grams per day will be enough. At the same time, it is important to drink them with a sufficient amount of water, since otherwise they will enter the intestines in the form of dry food lumps.Julia Anders, the author of the book “Charming Intestines,” recommends drinking at least 2.5 liters of water a day, but you need to focus primarily on your own thirst. For some people, one and a half liters of purified water a day is quite enough (which, by the way, is also not so little), while others are able to drink all three. In doing so, of course, it must be remembered that diet is only part of the treatment program prescribed by the doctor. What foods should you eat?
We all heard from childhood that prunes help with constipation.The laxative effect is carried out due to the fact that the prune has a moderate choleretic effect, and also suppresses the activity of opportunistic intestinal microflora, thereby normalizing the intestinal biocenosis. It is used both in the form of dried fruits and for the preparation of decoctions.
Plums and plum juice
As in the case of prunes, the laxative effect of plums and plum juice is due to their choleretic and antibacterial properties. When they enter the intestines, they retain moisture and increase osmotic pressure, which stimulates peristalsis.
Kefir improves the balance of intestinal microflora due to the high content of lacto- and bifidobacteria. However, it should be borne in mind that if you are prone to constipation, you should drink only fresh kefir – it is he who has a laxative effect. Two or three days of kefir gives the opposite effect.
The mechanism of action of olive oil for constipation is simple: it envelops the intestinal walls and softens the stool, thereby improving peristalsis.As we already know, such products are classified as lubricants. Usually, one spoonful on an empty stomach is enough to eliminate stool retention.
Apples contain ingredients useful for digestion such as pectin, sorbitol, lactulose and cellulose. In case of constipation, it is advisable to use apples both raw and baked, but it should be remembered that more does not mean better. Eating more than 3 apples a day can cause bloating, which will backfire and worsen constipation.Baked apples cause less gas formation, so this type of use is considered more gentle.
Beets contain a large amount of hemicellulose, which is poorly digested, but completely eliminated from the body. Due to the slight irritating effect of undigested fibers, intestinal motility is improved. In addition, polysaccharides in dietary fiber play the role of a prebiotic, being a nutrient medium for beneficial intestinal microflora.
Lemon juice and warm water
In some sources, you can find recommendations to use lemon juice diluted in warm water for constipation. However, no one has yet provided a convincing justification for its effectiveness in stool retention: supporters of the use of this recipe operate with general phrases from the series “effectively stimulates digestion” or “quickly removes congestion in the intestine.”
Lemon juice really has a number of beneficial properties, however, in the educational and periodical literature on nutritional therapy, the benefits of lemon for constipation are not mentioned.In addition, it should be remembered that in a number of inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, lemon is contraindicated. Of course, you can try to agree on the advisability of using this prescription with your doctor, but the gastroenterologist will almost certainly not approve of this idea.
Since flax seeds contain a large amount of dietary fiber, and they themselves, with sufficient water intake, increase in volume and stimulate intestinal motility, their use for constipation is quite common.In this case, it is important to know the nature of stool retention, since such a recipe is contraindicated in case of mechanical constipation.
Figs contain a large amount of dietary fiber that stimulates peristalsis. Pectin softens fecal matter, due to which a mild laxative effect is achieved.
Constipation really often occurs due to insufficient water intake – with a lack of water in the body, the feces become excessively hard and dense, and this significantly complicates their movement through the intestines.Reception of one and a half to three liters of water per day (the exact amount should be agreed with the doctor) improves intestinal motility and the production of gastric juice.
Save yourself a memo with foods to help with constipation.
For the prevention of constipation, the following recommendations should be adhered to:
- Consult a doctor promptly in case of digestive disorders – constipation is often the result of various diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Do not eat dry food and chew food thoroughly.
- Provide sufficient physical activity – at least half an hour of walking a day, exercise, work out the abdominal muscles. All this improves intestinal motility.
- Drink plenty of water and eat fiber-rich foods.
- Minimize the consumption of alcohol, as well as fried, flour and fatty foods.
- Avoid nervous stress.
- Train yourself to eat and go to the toilet at about the same time.
You can also watch a video that looks at reliable, home remedies for constipation.
Thus, constipation occurs either as a consequence of an underlying gastrointestinal disease, or as a result of errors in diet, stress and improper lifestyle. Taking laxatives on your own can cause a number of unpleasant addictive side effects. Constipation treatment should always be comprehensive.
- V.T. Ivashkin, I. V. Maev, A. A. Sheptulin // Clinical guidelines of the Russian Gastroenterological Association for the diagnosis and treatment of adult patients with chronic constipation
- Enders J. // Charming intestines
- Fulghum D. // Chronic Constipation: Facts vs. Myths
When the intestines work, everything is in order!
Focus on your intestinal microflora
Bloating, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, gas……. At least 1 in 5 people suffer from functional digestive disorders, which is more than 20% of the population. When the malaise occurs almost daily, it combines both abdominal pain and transient disorders. Such disorders cause the syndrome we hear more and more about: Irritable Bowel Syndrome – IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome affects 5 to 10% of the population, perhaps even more, because even if intestinal pain has recently come out of the shadows, only 15% of people would “dare” to tell their doctor about it… These disorders, even when they are only incidental, strongly affect people’s lives and their overall mood.
THE INTESTINE PLAYS A KEY ROLE IN THE GLOBAL STATE OF HEALTH
Our gut has 200 million neurons (also called the “gut brain” or “second brain”), its 100,000 billion beneficial bacteria (more than the number of cells in the human body). The gut plays a key role in assimilating essential nutrients (digestion), protecting the body, and disposing of waste and toxins.Everyone today recognizes the vital importance of the gut in overall health.
Advances in scientific reports, articles in the press, publication of bestsellers on this topic … In recent years, both researchers and the general public have shown close attention to intestinal problems. Where does this unexpected interest come from? Thanks to advances in genetic analysis that have identified the diversity of microorganisms that inhabit our gut, this valuable collection of microorganisms is called “microbiota” (microflora).
More about MICROFLORA
With 100,000 billion bacteria, the microflora forms an impressive ecosystem that can weigh up to 2 kg. It is involved in the synthesis of vitamins such as vitamin K, B12, B8 or folic acid, and aids digestion by being converted into nutrients and energy during the fermentation of indigestible foods, especially certain complex sugars from plants (fibers). She is involved in the development and maturation of the immune system.80% of our biological defenses are found in the intestines. The microflora helps to create connections between the intestinal epithelial cells to create a real “barrier”, and also plays the role of protecting against pathogens by competing with them. Finally, we now know that our microflora produces all kinds of metabolites, which can then cross the intestinal barrier, enter the bloodstream and affect all organs (including the brain). This makes it much easier to understand why it is important to take care of the condition of the intestines and the microflora that “lives” in it.
WHAT IS AN IDEAL MICROFLORA?
First of all, you need to know that each person has their own microflora. It begins to form before the moment of birth, then develops from the next 2 to 3 years, reaching its functional balance. Its development is influenced by our diet, habits and environment. “Effective” microflora is quantitatively rich and diverse in 500 different microbial species. This set can be depleted and partially lost due to an irrational diet, too sweet, too rich in calories, too industrial (processed foods) or too rich in meat, as well as chronic stress or excessive exposure to antibiotics… 1 person out of 3 would have a depleted flora (about 40%). Violation of the microflora causes intestinal disorders (diarrhea, constipation, bloating). Fortunately, eating a balanced diet can help improve his condition.
I WANT TO IMPROVE MICROFLORA BALANCE!
Among the tips for caring for your microflora, we highlight 2 basic principles:
– Eat foods rich in sugars from dietary fiber, which feed some good bacteria and help their growth (inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides).They are found in artichoke, asparagus, leeks, chicory … They are all natural prebiotics.
– Consume probiotics. Probiotics or lactic acid enzymes are lactic acid bacteria (bifidobacteria, lactobacilli …), “friendly” microorganisms that oppose bacteria that are enemies of microflora and do not allow them to multiply. They will be useful in case of microflora imbalance and digestive discomfort.
Our recommendation: MAFLORIL-10M / MAFLORIL 10M
MAFLORIL-10M was developed from 7 strains of lactic acid enzymes carefully selected for their work. 1 capsule per day brings 10 billion enzymes and 50 mg of chicory Inulin, a prebiotic fiber that helps in digestive comfort. This supplement also has the advantage of being gluten free and packaged in vegetable capsules.
I take care of my intestines!
I eat 4 different types of vegetables and 1 fruit per day (preferably organic), but also foods rich in omega 3 (canola oil, oily fish, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts).
I avoid manufactured foods and foods that are too rich in saturated fat.
I restrict alcohol, spices and tobacco.
I exercise regularly (3 times a week)
I detoxify my colon 2 or 3 times a year with dietary supplements made from selected herbal extracts. Our colon is truly home to waste and toxins that are harmful to our health and well-being.
> Our offer: DETOX COLON / detox column
New from INELDEA Natural Health, DETOX COLON / Detox Colon includes the prebiotic chicory fiber inulin and apple and 7 detoxifying plant extracts (Tamarin, Figs, Prunes, Dill, Cinnamon, Ispagul and Aloe Vera) for a healthy and cleansed colon.
I have trouble digesting … especially dairy products…
Fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains are rich in fiber, but some of the elements we need are found exclusively in dairy products and sugars, which are difficult for some to digest and can cause bloating. However, don’t ignore them because they are good for microflora balance. Milk is a food rich in lactose. It is difficult for people with lower levels of lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose, to digest it.
> Our offer: DIGELISE / digeliz
DIGELISE contains artichoke, mint, fennel and ginger to aid digestion, but also contains lactase to help sensitive people digest milk and all foods that contain it better.