Constipation is a condition where there’s difficulty in emptying the bowels and is usually associated with hardened faeces. Being constipated means that your bowel movements are tough or come out less often. The reality of the matter is that almost everybody goes through it at some point in their lives.
Although constipation is not a very serious condition, it brings some problems which can make you uncomfortable. What I mean is that you are likely to feel much better when your body is back on track.
The normal time length between bowel movements vary from person to person. Some people have them three times a day while others have them just a few times a week. Going for more than 3 or more days without bowel movements is usually alarming. Your poop gets harder and you face difficulty in passing the stool.
Causes of Constipation
In most cases, constipation occurs when the colon has absorbed too much water from the food. Consequently, the faeces become hard and difficult to pass. When you are constipated, emptying bowels become painful.
The slower the food movement the more water is absorbed from it. This usually happens when the muscles in the colon are contracting slowly or poorly. This causes the stool to move slowly and lose more water. The most common causes are listed below:
- Lack of fiber in the diet – Fiber promotes bowel movements which consequently prevents constipation. Those people who consume enough fiber are less likely to experience constipation.
- Physical inactivity – The other thing is that constipation may occur if someone has become too inactive physically. This is one of the main causes of constipation in older adults.
- Medication – There are some medications that cause constipation including narcotic, antidepressants, calcium and many more.
- Milk – There are some people out there who become constipated when they consume milk or any other dairy products.
- Pregnancy – There occur some serious hormonal changes during pregnancy. This is what makes most pregnant women more susceptible to constipation.
Symptoms of constipation
- Stomach ache
- Stomach cramps
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling bloated
- Passing fewer stools
- Increased difficulty and strain when passing stool
5 Possible Risks of Constipation
According to statistics, constipation is one of the most common Gastrointestinal issues affecting people in the US, Canada, Germany, UK and many other parts of the world. In the USA alone constipation affects up to 42 million people.
According to NIDDK, Constipation affects more than 15 percent of the USA population. There are several associated health risks of constipation. Majority of the people think that constipation doesn’t have long term effects but yes, it has.
1. Enlarged Hemorrhoids
Constipation causes several health problems which includes enlarged hemorrhoids. The reasons for these are very clear. Your colon was designed to hold a few pounds of faeces in transit. When you get constipated, the colon may be forced to hold up to 20 or more lbs. The reality of the matter is that the weight by itself is not a problem, the volume is. The large, strong and heavy stool is likely to enlarge and stretch the colon.
2. Colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer is another leading cause of deaths in the US. Although there’s no satisfactory evidence to show that constipation can cause colorectal cancer, there are several doctors and scientists out there that claim it can.
This is a case where the intestinal flora is dead and missing. This flora has several functions when alive. The first thing is that it protects the colon from any inflammation-causing pathogens. When it is dead or missing, it can lead to constipation.
4. It increases the chances of falling a victim of medical error or side effects of drugs
When you have another colorectal disorder, there are chances that the drugs will have severe side effects and when you have constipation. Due to the compromised functions of the colon, you are likely not to enjoy a happy health.
5. It affects genitourinary health
Constipation can as well compromise the genitourinary health especially in women. The large intestines and the woman reproductive organs are in close proximity. What this means is that the problems caused by constipation are likely to run the gamut from undue pressure on the uterus to rectal prolapse inside the vagina.
For this reasons it can cause miscarriages from straining, fecal incontinence and equally nasty problems.
I bet you can now see that the connections are plentiful. I have just scratched the surface, there are several other constipation associated risks that I have not touched yet.
You need to deal with constipation because it is extremely dangerous to your health.