Chronic constipation refers to infrequent bowel movements or the difficult passage of stool that persists for several weeks.
Although occasional constipation is prevalent, some people with chronic constipation experience an inability to continue with their daily tasks.
Chronic constipation can also cause excessive exertion when defecating and other signs and symptoms.
Causes of Chronic Constipation
Different causes can cause chronic constipation, such as:
Structural colon lesions (colon cancer, colon stenosis, or narrowing).
Medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, Parkinson’s disease, pregnancy, or even some medications, such as drugs for pain (narcotics), blood pressure (calcium channel blockers), anti-convulsants, and antispasmodics.
Similarly, other factors contribute to this condition, such as:
- Do not eat enough fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and cereals.
- Changes in lifestyle, such as eating habits.
- Ignoring the need to perform the evacuations.
- Side effects of certain medications.
- Do not drink enough fluids.
- Anxiety or depression
In people over 50 years, more severe bowel disease or a structural disorder could cause the appearance of constipation, so it is essential to consult a health professional to rule out any serious cause.
Constipation in children can be caused by poor diet, fear about using potty training, and training problems using the bathroom.
The diagnosis is made essentially from the description of the patient’s symptoms. Stools that are difficult to remove, very firm, or composed of small, hard pellets (such as those excreted by rabbits) qualify as constipation.
Other symptoms related to constipation may include swelling, distention, abdominal pain, headache, fatigue, nervous exhaustion, or a feeling of incomplete emptying.
Chronic constipation (symptoms present at least three days per month for more than three months) associated with abdominal discomfort is often diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome when no apparent cause is found.
Treatment of chronic constipation
Treatment for chronic constipation usually begins with changes in diet and lifestyle to increase the rate at which stools move through the intestines.
If these changes do not help, the doctor may recommend the use of medications or surgery. Among the changes in diet and lifestyle, we can mention:
Increase fiber intake: The addition of fiber to your diet increases the weight of the stool and speeds its passage through your intestines.
It is advisable to gradually increase the intake of fruits and vegetables since a sudden increase in the amount of fiber in the diet can cause swelling and the production of gases.
Perform exercises every week. Physical activity increases muscle activity in the intestines, so it is necessary to perform exercises at least three times a week.