Understanding What To Do If You Are Suffering From Severe Constipation
People who are wondering what to do if you are suffering from severe constipation generally have no more than three bowel movements weekly, or pass stools that are dry and hard. However, many treatments are available, including adding fiber to the diet, getting more exercise, increasing fluid intake, and utilizing over-the-counter laxatives. When the condition becomes severe, however, patients should discuss their situation with their doctors.
Severe constipation has multiple symptoms. In addition to infrequent stools, and hard stools, patients may experience straining during bowel movements, or a sensation of rectal blockage. Also, patients may feel that they still have stool in the large intestine, even after they have moved their bowels. If the problem is accompanied by pain in the abdomen or rectum, blood in the stool, thin or pencil-like stools, or unexplained weight loss, then a visit to the doctor is warranted.
The condition has many different causes. The primary issue is that the body is not moving waste through the colon quickly enough. Reasons for slow movement may include insufficient fiber, insufficient exercise, or insufficient fluids. Other reasons may include more serious disorders, like intestinal obstruction, diverticulosis, or irritable bowel syndrome.
Women have more occasions of constipation than men, and the problem affects more children than adults. Older adults who are sedentary, or confined to bed, may experience more instances of difficult bowel movements. Also, people who take certain types of medications, or who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment, may be more susceptible to the disorder.
Complications may be inevitable, if patients do not treat their symptoms. For instance, the sphincter muscles may become strained, resulting in anal fissures or hemorrhoids. Patients may also experience rectal prolapse, in which a small piece of the rectum, as well as a mucus secretion, is expelled from the anus. If patients abuse laxatives, the bowels may become inefficient, and the body may have difficulty absorbing vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients.
Serious cases may require extensive testing. Doctors will want to rule out severe disorders, such as intestinal obstruction or a narrowing of the colon. Some tests may include a barium swallow and x-ray, or a colonoscopy. Other tests may include a defecography, in which doctors insert a substance of stool consistency into the rectum, and then take x-rays as the patient move the substance out of their rectum.
Treatments from traditional medicine include dietary and lifestyle changes. Other traditional treatments may include laxatives, or chloride channel activators. Manual manipulation may be used to break up impacted stool, or surgeons may remove problem segments of the colon. Patients may also try alternative treatments, including massage, acupuncture, and homeopathic remedies, like plant-based laxatives.
Fiber supplements may be useful for patients who are wondering what to do if you are suffering from severe constipation. However, people will be far more comfortable if they take steps to prevent constipation in the first place. Eating a fiber-filled diet, taking in plenty of fluids, and exercising will prevent many bouts of the disorder. While the problem may seem embarrassing, patients who are experiencing severe symptoms should discuss them with a medical professional. Before trying any supplements or over-the-counter medications, patients should consult their doctors.
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