Constipation is a very common bowel complication. It is characterized by dry and hard feces, painful and irregular bowel clearance, and trouble in excretion. Patients usually have defecation rate fewer than thrice a week. However, it is a symptom and not a disease and most of the cases are merely temporary and not serious at all.
Causes of Constipation
Lack of roughage and liquid in diet: Insufficient water consumption or absence of fiber ingredients in daily diet is one of the major causes of hardening of stool. Food stuffs like cheese, meat, and egg do not contain enough roughage or fibers and creates constipation. Many people believe that lack of fluid in the diet causes this disease; however, liquid containing caffeine and alcohol often develop constipation.
Absence or inadequate physical activities: In case of older people diminished physical movement often results in irregular and untimely bowel movements. Also sometimes the risk of constipation heightens in those cases where people deliberately ignore their natural urge for regular excretion.
Laxatives and medications: Excessive consumption of laxatives or certain medications like iron supplements, calcium channel blocker, antacids, diuretics, and anticonvulsants play a major role. Due to regular use of laxatives body stops its natural ability to soften the stool which turns into constipation whenever laxatives are withdrawn.
Wrong posture: Prolonged poor posture in sedentary works in some professions like in IT sector or in driving works intensifies the probabilities of constipation.
Physiological and other problems
- Dehydration or diseases in the colon and rectum
- Certain neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, heart stroke, and injuries in spinal chord
- Some metabolic conditions like diabetes, uremia, and systemic disorders like amyloidosis, etc. often involve constipation as one of the symptoms.
- Certain other reasons which are still unknown like in idiopathic constipation
- Excessive sleep, smoking, lack of exercise, and even mental stress
Symptoms of Constipation
- Dry, hard, and small feces
- Lack of appetite and subsequent weight loss
- Painful bowel movements
- Irregular bowel clearance
- Abdominal pain
- Swelling of the abdominal area or bloating
- In children loss of appetite, mood swing, stomach pain etc.
Complications of Constipation
Piles: After several prolonged strenuous defecations, the veins of the anal area get inflamed. In worst cases these swollen portions partially pop out, causing localized bleeding and extreme pain.
Hernia: This severe condition is caused due to protrusion of intestine through the abdominal wall. It often appears as bulging of the abdominal contents which tries to pass through some bodily passage. This situation becomes worse when hernia patient gets constipation and tries to get rid of hard stools which causes prolapse of rectum or womb (in women).
Fecal Impaction: It is very common among older people, pregnant women and patients of colonic inertia. In this case the stool in the terminal zone of the intestine gets hardened blocking the passage of other stools. This results in cramps and pain in the rectal area.
Fissure: Fissure is a severe outcome of chronic constipation which often involves injury and bleeding in the rectum wall created by hard feces. Instances of rectal cancer and hemorrhoids are believed to be aftermath of fissure.
Diet is the best remedy in controlling constipation. By maintaining an ideal diet schedule you could do away with constipation forever.
- A proper diet should contain ample roughage since diets containing fiber directly helps in regular bowel movement. Vegetables, grains and fruits are rich source of fiber.
- Milk with plantain, green, fresh and leafy vegetables like radish, coriander, cabbage, mints, and fruits are highly recommended.
- As per Ayurveda, ghee or butter oil should be included in diet which being an Uddipak or catalyst helps in getting over this problem.
- Avoid junk foods, grams, hot beverages, dry fruits, cold water etc.
- Yoga might be extremely helpful especially for those who are involved into sedentary work schedules.
Constipation Relief – Cure for Constipation
Haritaki: scientifically also known as Terminalia chebula, is an herbaceous plant which is regarded as one of the best natural astringent and internal cleanser. It has wonderful antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
Triphala: Triphala (combination of three herbs—Harada, Amla, and Behada) is one of the best recommended medicines for constipation. It carries the attributes of purgative and lubricant laxative. This loosens the dry and hard stool and eases the process of excretion. The patient never feels any pain inside the colon, nor does it create any cramps or irritation in the walls of the intestine.
Plantago ovata(ईसबगोल): This amazing herb contains a natural derivative called Psyllium husk which bears the properties of a laxative as well as an emollient. It also has some gentle cooling and diuretic property and widely used as the medication for constipation.
Markandika : Extremely useful for smoothing constipation.
Dhaanyak : It alleviates vata dosha and boosts digestive system.
Yashtimadhu : It is rich in fiber and helps in softening stools.
Vachaa : This herb is conventionally used for cure for constipation and indigestion problems.