Many people have been experiencing constipation. Knowing the symptoms and side effects of constipation can help to avoid the condition.
Almost everyone may experience this condition at any given time. Although it’s not a serious condition, it causes discomfort. That’s why it’s important to treat it the soonest possible time and keep your body back on track.
The frequency of bowel movement varies from one person to another. Some people eliminate their bowel once or twice a week. Others do it three times a day.
If moving your bowel takes three or more days will make the feces or stool harder. Thus, making it more difficult to pass.
Symptoms of constipation
Aside from the irregular bowel movement, other symptoms of constipation that you should watch for include the following:
- Small, hard stools
- Straining bowel movement
- Belly pain or swollen belly
- Throwing up
- A feeling that defecating is not successful
If you’re experiencing more than two of the symptoms cited above for a few months, then it’s about time to seek medical intervention because the condition is considered to be chronic. Better yet, if you’re experiencing persistent and unexplained changes in your bowel movement, you should set an appointment with your healthcare provider.
Apart from knowing the symptoms of constipation, it’s also important to know what causes the condition. Here are some of the factors that cause constipation:
- Insufficient fiber intake
If your diet lacks enough fiber, there’s great possibility that you will experience constipation. To avoid the condition, you should eat fiber-rich foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Read which foods that can help you poop.
- Physical inactivity
Your lifestyle greatly impacts your well-being especially if you’re physically inactive. This is the reason why older adults who don’t engage in physical activity is highly at risk of experiencing constipation. This may be because the metabolism slows down as in the case of people living a sedentary life.
People taking drugs or medications like antidepressants, narcotics, anticonvulsants, antacids, diuretics, and calcium channel blocking drugs can also cause constipation.
As an individual gets older, the metabolism slows down. This results in less intestinal activity because the muscles in your digestive tract don’t work as they used to.
Inadequate intake of water or any liquid can make a person dehydrated. However, you should be careful in drinking beverages that contain caffeine as they can worsen the condition. Likewise, alcoholic beverages can make the body dehydrated that’s why they should be avoided by people prone to constipation.
Possible side effects of chronic constipation
If the condition persists and left untreated, it may become chronic and manifest side effects including the following:
Straining bowel movements can make the veins around your anus to swell, thus experience hemorrhoids.
- Anal fissure
Passing a hard and large stool can tear the skin in your anus that is also called as an anal fissure.
- Fecal impaction
Chronic constipation can lead to fecal impaction. This happens when an individual can’t expel the accumulated stool stuck in the intestines.
- Rectal prolapse
Rectal prolapse is one of the side effects of constipation. This is due to straining of bowel movement that causes the intestine to protrude from the anus.
Constipation is not a serious condition as it can be treated naturally by eating foods that are high in fiber. But, if the condition becomes chronic it is recommended to consult your doctor the soonest possible time.
Janice Thompson is a nutritionist. She loves to share her healthy lifestyle and diet tips.