Constipation is a common digestive system problem in which you have infrequent bowel movements, pass hard stools, or strain during bowel movements. In terms of frequency, what constitutes constipation for one person may be normal for someone else. That's because the normal frequency of bowel movements varies widely — from three a day to three a week. What's normal for you may not be normal for someone else. In general, though, you're probably experiencing constipation if you pass hard and dry stools less than three times a week. In some cases, constipation also may make you feel bloated or sluggish or experience discomfort or pain. Fortunately, a few common-sense lifestyle changes, including getting more exercise, eating high-fiber foods and drinking plenty of water, can go a long way toward preventing or alleviating constipation.
Not having a bowel movement every day doesn't necessarily mean you're constipated. You're likely constipated, however, if you: Pass a hard stool fewer than three times a week Strain frequently during bowel movements Have abdominal bloating or discomfort
Normally, the waste products of digestion are propelled through your intestines by muscle contractions. In the large intestine, most of the water and salt in this mixture are reabsorbed because they're essential for many of your body's functions. If too much water is absorbed or if the waste moves too slowly, you may become constipated. You may also experience constipation if the muscles you use to move your bowels aren't coordinated. This problem is called pelvic floor dysfunction (anismus) and it causes you to strain with most bowel movements, even soft ones. Stool moves through your colon but gets hung up in the rectum because of a lack of muscle coordination to empty your bowels. A number of factors can cause an intestinal slowdown, including: Central nervous system
Multiple sclerosis. This disorder can produce constipation along with many other signs and symptoms of sensory and motor disturbances. Spinal cord lesion. Constipation may occur in this disorder, depending on the level of the lesion. Endocrine system
Diabetic neuropathy. This neuropathy produces episodic or diarrhea. Hypothyroidism. This disorder causes early and insidious onset of constipation. Gastrointestinal.
Anal fissure. A crack or laceration in the lining of the anal wall can cause acute constipation- usually due to the patient’s fear of the severe tearing or burning pain associated with bowel movements. Anorectal abscess. In this disorder, constipation occurs together with severe, throbbing, localized pain and tenderness at the abscess site. Cirrhosis. In the early stage of cirrhosis, the patient has constipation along with nausea, vomiting, and a dull pain in the right upper quadrant. Crohn’s disease. Although most patients with this disorder experienced diarrhea, some develop chronic constipation due to strictures. Diverticulitis. In this disorder, constipation occurs together with left lower quadrant pain and tenderness. Hemorrhoids. Thrombosed hemorrhoids caused constipation as the patient tries to avoid the severe pain of defecation. Hepatic porphyrie. Abdominal pain- which maybe severe colicky localized or generalized- precedes constipation in hepatic porphyrie. Intestinal obstruction. Constipation associated with this disorder varies in severity and onset with the location and extent of the obstruction. In partial obstruction, constipation may occur. Constipation can be the earliest sign of partial colon obstruction, but it usually occurs in later if the level of the obstruction is more proximal. Irritable bowel syndrome. Usually, this common syndrome produce chronic constipation, although some patient may have intermittent, watery diarrhea and other may complain of alternating constipation and diarrhea. Mesenteric artery ischemia. This life-threatening disorder produces sudden constipation with failure to expel stool or...
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