Okay, everyone, for this blog, we need you to toss those rose-colored classes because it’s time to talk about poop, or lack thereof. Everyone poops, and when you can’t, it becomes a severe issue. More specifically, constipation. The clinical definition of constipation is having fewer than three bowel movements a week. About 16 out of every 100 adults experience symptoms of constipation. Has regularity evaded you? Never fear, we have the facts behind the backup, and we’re giving you the low down on constipation.
Trouble Down Under
Occasional constipation is pretty standard and occurs when stool moves too slowly through the digestive tract or cannot be eliminated through the rectum. Chronic constipation happens more often, and the cause can be several different things. Here are some examples:
- Blockages-anal fissures, colon cancer, narrowing of the colon.
- Problems with nerves in the colon and rectum – multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, stroke.
- Conditions that affect hormones – Diabetes, pregnancy, an underactive thyroid.
Some factors increase your constipation risks like age, gender, not drinking enough water, inactivity, specific medications, and more.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of constipation include having less than three stools a week, lumpy or hard stools, straining to have bowel movements, or feeling there is a blockage preventing you from eliminating the stool. You may also feel bloated.
Treatment for constipation begins with diet and lifestyle changes. Several types of laxatives exist, along with medication that draws water into your intestines, reverses the effects of opioids, or helps move stool through the colon. Constipation can become chronic if the infrequent bowel movements and difficulty passing stools last for several weeks. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have with constipation.
InQuest is running research studies exploring potential new options for those with chronic constipation. Contact us to learn more.
Mayo Clinic.org | Constipation
NIDDK.NIH.gov | Definition & Facts for Constipation
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