What are the signs and symptoms of constipation?
An individual may experience different symptoms; however, the most common signs and symptoms of constipation are as follows:
- Less than three bowel movements in a week
- Dry, hard, or lumpy stools
- Straining while passing stools
- Difficult to pass stools
- Stomachache or cramps
- Incomplete emptying of bowels
- Decreased appetite
Constipation is a symptom in itself and may sometimes indicate an underlying medical condition.
What is constipation?
Constipation is difficulty in passing of stools, which is usually associated with hardened stools. It commonly occurs due to a poor diet and lack of exercise. It involves the inability to pass the stool for more than three days that leads to dry and hard stools. Generally, everyone experiences bouts of constipation, which resolves on its own with dietary changes and time. Constipation is usually not serious and only causes a little discomfort.
What causes constipation?
Constipation can be caused due to various reasons. There can be more than one cause of constipation at a time. Causes of constipation include the following:
- Lack of fiber in the diet
- Dairy products
- Drinking less water
- Physical inactivity
- Overuse of laxatives
- Resisting the urge to defecate
- Dietary changes
- Eating disorders
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Delayed emptying of the colon
- Certain medications (narcotics, antidepressants, and iron pills)
- Inflammation linked to diverticular disease
- Intestinal obstructions
- Metabolic disease such as diabetes
- Hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism
- Parkinson’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Spinal cord or brain injuries
- Older age
- Colon cancer
- Problems with the nerves and muscles in the digestive system
When to call a doctor?
Contact your physician immediately if the following symptoms are observed:
What should I do if I am constipated?
If you are constipated, try out the following remedies:
- Drink two to four extra glasses of water in addition to the usual 3 L of water each day
- Try warm water, especially in the morning
- Add more of fruits and vegetables in the diet
- Include more of green leafy vegetables in the diet
- Avoid dairy products such as yogurt and milk because it can worsen the symptoms in some cases
- Exercise regularly to activate the muscles in the intestines
- Do not resist the urge to defecate
- Eat prunes and bran cereal
- Consuming seeds such as flax seeds
- Try taking laxatives
How can I prevent constipation?
You can prevent constipation by including the following lifestyle changes:
- Eating a well-balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds
- Include fiber-rich foods in the diet
- Drink eight-ounce glasses of water and other fluids a day
- Avoid caffeine and soft drinks that may cause dehydration
- Cut back on dairy products
- Exercise for 30 minutes a day, or in any case, keep yourself active for at least 30 minutes a day
- Do not resist the urge to defecate
- Avoid junk foods and foods high in trans fats
- Try to train yourself to have a bowel movement at the same time
- Stop taking medications or supplements that cause constipation
Latest Health and Living News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Constipation Signs and Symptoms Related Articles
Boost Digestive HealthUpset stomach? Some foods may be the culprits, and bad habits may be to blame. Treat your body right with these simple nutrition tips on how to deal with with diarrhea, gas, reflux, and more digestive ailments.
ConstipationConstipation is defined medically as fewer than three stools per week and severe constipation as less than one stool per week. Constipation usually is caused by the slow movement of stool through the colon. There are many causes of constipation including medications, poor bowel habits, low-fiber diets, laxative abuse, and hormonal disorders, and diseases primarily of other parts of the body that also affect the colon.
Constipation Myths and FactsConstipation results in fewer bowel movements. Laxatives, home remedies, and diet changes may bring constipation relief. Change habits that constipate you and adopt lifestyle changes to benefit your intestines and bowel. Bloating and chronic constipation are treatable with the right interventions.
Constipation: Foods to Eat, Foods to Avoid QuizTake this quiz to find out what foods to eat, and what foods to avoid to prevent or relieve constipation.
How Can You Tell if Your Baby Is Constipated?Constipation is a common issue that affects many infants. Learn the signs of constipation in babies, what causes it, how doctors diagnose it, and what you can do to treat it.
How Do You Know If You Have Rectal Prolapse?Rectal prolapse is a common issue that affects many people. Learn the signs of rectal prolapse, what causes it, how doctors diagnose it, and what you can do to treat it.
Laxatives for ConstipationLaxatives types for treatment of constipation include over-the-counter (OTC) preparations, for example, bulk-forming laxatives, stool softeners, lubricant laxatives, stimulant or saline laxatives, enemas, and suppositories. Some OTC laxatives are not recommended for people with specific diseases or conditions (for example, people with diabetes). Some laxatives may have negative side effects if taken over a long time. Laxatives are not recommended for weight loss.
What Are Some Home Remedies I Can Give My Child for Constipation?What are some home remedies for children with constipation? Learn what causes constipation and how to relieve your child’s symptoms.
12 Foods to Eat to Relieve ConstipationConstipation is a common problem, and almost everyone has been constipated at one time or another. There are foods that can help prevent constipation and also provide relief, for example, kiwi, prunes, beans (your choice of type), berries, certain seeds, potatoes, and popcorn.
15 Foods That Cause ConstipationConstipation or the decrease in frequency and/or difficulty in passing stools (bowel movements) can be caused by a variety problems. Check out these top 15 foods to avoid because they cause constipation. Some foods to avoid include, white rice and breads, caffeine, bananas, alcohol, processed foods, and frozen dinners.
What Are the Symptoms of a Diverticulitis Flare-Up?Diverticula are small, bulging pouches that form in the lining of the digestive system in some people. They are usually formed in the lower part of the large intestine. The presence of diverticula is known as diverticulosis. They are usually seen in people over the age of 40 and rarely cause issues. When one diverticulum or diverticula becomes inflamed or infected due to the accumulation of waste products and bacteria, the condition is called diverticulitis.
What Causes Vault Prolapse?Over one-third of the women in the United States have experienced some form of pelvic prolapse in their lives. Vault prolapse can occur whenever the supporting structures in the pelvis become weak, torn or stretched. The causes include childbirth, surgery, obesity, long-term constipation, long-term cough and other conditions.
What Helps Constipation Fast?Learn what medical treatments can help ease your constipation symptoms and speed up your recovery.