- Constipation is defined medically as fewer than three stools per week and severe constipation as less than one stool per week.
- Some of the symptoms of constipation include
- lower abdominal discomfort,
- infrequent bowel movements,
- straining to have a bowel movement,
- hard or small stools,
- rectal bleeding and/or anal fissures caused by hard stools, and
- physiological distress and/or obsession with having bowel movements.
- Constipation usually is caused by the slow movement of stool through the colon.
- The two disorders limited to the colon that cause constipation are colonic ine
- There are many causes of constipation including medications, poor bowel habits, low fiber diets, possibly abuse of laxatives, hormonal disorders, and diseases primarily of other parts of the body that also affect the colon.
- rtia and pelvic floor dysfunction.
- High levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy may cause constipation.
- Medical evaluation of constipation should be done when constipation is of sudden onset, severe, worsening, associated with other worrisome symptoms such as loss of weight, or is not responding to simple, safe and effective treatments.
- Medical evaluation of constipation may include a history, physical examination, blood tests, abdominal X-rays, barium enema, colonic transit studies, defecography, anorectal motility studies, and colonic motility studies.
- The goal of therapy for constipation is one bowel movement every two to three days without straining.
- Treatment of constipation may include dietary fiber, non-stimulant laxatives, stimulant laxatives, enemas, suppositories, biofeedback training, prescription medications, and surgery.
- Stimulant laxatives, including herbal laxatives, should be used as a last resort because they may permanently damage the colon and worsen constipation. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 7/16/2015
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