What You Should Know About Chronic Constipation

Chronic constipation is occasional bowel movements or hard passage of stools that continue for many weeks or longer. Constipation is commonly characterized as having fewer than three bowel movements a week.

Though some people experience chronic constipation that can hinder their strength to go about their daily chores. Chronic constipation may also cause people to strain excessively in order to have a bowel movement

Constipation symptoms
Constipation symptoms

Symptoms of Chronic constipation

  • Striving to have bowel movements
  • Feeling as though there’s a blockage in your rectum that stops bowel movements
  • Feeling as though you can’t quite empty the stool from your rectum
  • Passing less than three stools a week
  • Needing help to remove your rectum, such as using your hands to press on your abdomen and using a finger to push stool from your rectum
  • Having lumpy or hard stools

Constipation may be analyzed chronic if you’ve encountered three or more of these signs for the last three months.

When to see a doctor

Book an appointment with your doctor if you feel uncomfortable and persistent changes in your bowel habits.

Causes

Constipation most generally happens when waste or stool moves too slowly through the digestive tract or cannot be discharged completely from the rectum, which may create the stool to become hard and dry. Chronic constipation has many possible causes.

1.Blockages in the colon or rectum:

  • Tiny tears in the skin around the anus (anal fissure)
  • A blockage in the intestines (bowel obstruction)
  • Colon cancer
  • Narrowing of the colon (bowel stricture)
  • Other abdominal cancer that presses on the colon
  • Rectal cancer
  • Rectum bulge through the back wall of the vagina (rectocele)

2.Problems with the nerves around the colon and rectum:

Neurological problems can affect the nerves that cause muscles in the colon and rectum to contract and move stool through the intestines. Causes include:

  • Damage to the nerves that control bodily functions (autonomic neuropathy)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Stroke

3.Difficulty with the muscles involved in the elimination:

Problems with the pelvic muscles involved in having a bowel movement may cause chronic constipation. These problems may include:

  • The inability to relax the pelvic muscles to allow for a bowel movement (anismus)
  • Pelvic muscles that don’t coordinate relaxation and contraction correctly (dyssynergia)
  • Weakened pelvic muscles

4.Conditions that affect hormones in the body:

Hormones help balance fluids in your body. Diseases and conditions that upset the balance of hormones may lead to constipation, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Overactive parathyroid gland (hyperparathyroidism)
  • Pregnancy
  • An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)

Complications

  • Swollen veins in your anus (hemorrhoids)
  • Torn skin in your anus (anal fissure)
  • Chronic constipation may cause an accumulation of hardened stool that gets stuck in your intestines.
  • Intestine that protrudes from the anus (rectal prolapse)

Prevention

The following can help you avoid developing chronic constipation.

  • Eating high-fiber foods, which includes fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grain cereals, and bran.
  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Eat fewer foods with low quantities of fiber such as processed foods, and dairy and meat products.
  • Try to control stress.
  • Don’t overlook the urge to pass stool.
  • Stay as productive as possible and try to get daily exercise.

Risk factors

Factors that may increase your risk of chronic constipation include:

  • Being dehydrated
  • Eating a diet that’s low in fiber
  • Getting little or no physical exercise
  • Having a mental health condition such as depression or an eating disorder
  • Taking certain medications, including sedatives, opioid pain medications, some antidepressants or medications to lower blood pressure

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