Constipation is defined as bowel movements becoming less frequent or difficult. It occurs when having a bowel movement fewer than three times per week. With constipation stools becomes small in size, hard, dry, and difficult to eliminate. The stools often result in incomplete evacuation. People who are constipated find it very painful to have a bowel movement. Often times they experience the sensation of a full bowel, bloating and straining when passing stool.
The normal length of time between bowel movements varies widely from person to person. Some people will experience bowel movements three times a day; while some others, only one or two times a week. Going longer than three days without a bowel movement is too long and is not normal. After three days, the stool/feces will become harder and more difficult to pass.
If for the pass three months there are occurrences of two or more of the following, you are considered constipated
- Each week there is two or fewer bowel movement.
- Experiencing hard stool majority of the time there is a bowel movement.
- Evacuation is incomplete after bowel movement majority of the times.
- During bowel movement straining occurs most of the times.
Causes of constipation
To get a full understanding of constipation, it helps to know how the colon works. As food moves through the colon, it absorbs water from the food while it forms waste products or stool. Muscle contractions in the colon then push the stool toward the rectum. By the time stool reaches the rectum it is solid, because most of the water has been absorbed. Constipation will occur when the colon absorbs too much water or if the colon’s muscle contractions are slow or sluggish, causing the stool to move through the colon too slowly. As a result, stools can become hard and dry.
The main cause of constipated is due to a disorder of bowel function rather than a structural problem. Some common causes of constipation include
- adequate fiber in diet
- inadequate water intake
- inadequate activity or exercise or immobility
- A disruption of regular diet or routine
- An abuse of laxative
- Eating a large amount of dairy product in diet.
- Eating disorders
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Colon cancer
- Antacid medicines containing calcium or aluminum.
Constipation is one of those topics that few people would like to discuss but if you are suffering from this problem then you’ll know that it is a painful and frustrating problem. Most persons experience constipation at least once in there lifetime. Women and the elderly are mostly affected by this. Though usually it is not considered serious constipation can be a concern.