Constipation is a digestive condition having less than three bowel motions per week. 

Constipation results from the colon absorbing excessive amounts of water from waste (stool/poop), which dries out the stool and makes it difficult to push out of the body. Nutrients are absorbed while food passes through the digestive tract. The waste from partially digested food travels from the small to the large intestine, generally known as the colon. This waste is turned into stool when the colon collects water from it. Food may pass through the digestive system too slowly if patient have constipation. As a result, the colon is given more time to absorb water from the waste. The stool gets thickened, dry, and thus difficult to push out.

Causes:

  • Ageing. Older adults have a slower metabolism and tend to be less active and thus have weaker muscle contractions along their digestive tracts.
  • Pregnancy: During pregnancy and post partum, women are more prone to constipation due to hormonal changes. Stool passage is delayed due to uterine compressing the intestines
  • Insufficient intake of high-fiber meals. High-fiber foods help digestion by keeping food moving.
  • Certain medications
  • Having certain neurological (brain and spinal cord) conditions

Symptoms of constipation:

  • Less than three weekly bowel motions
  • Stools that are difficult or painful to pass or that are hard, lumpy, or dry having the impression that not all of the stool has passed

Complications of Constipation:

  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Constant abdominal pain and blood in the stool make it difficult to pass gas
  • Nausea, fever or lower back discomfort accompanied by Constipation
  • Unintentional weight loss

The following tests and procedures are used by clinicians to identify persistent constipation and try to determine its cause, in addition to a general physical examination and a digital rectal exam.

  • Blood tests to check for excessive calcium levels or hypothyroidism
  • X-ray to look for intestinal blockages
  • Sigmoidoscopy to look at the colon’s lower part and the rectum.
  • Anorectal manometry, which measures how well the muscles work together to move the bowels, and colonoscopy, which looks at the entire colon.
  • Measure the length of time it takes to evacuate a water-filled balloon from the rectum using the balloon expulsion test.
  • Identification of gut muscle dysfunction with scintigraphy 
  • Defecography to identify problems with muscular coordination and function


Treatment

Doctors may prescribe medications to relieve the symptoms or recommend surgical treatment, like colon remodelling based upon the Clinical condition of the patient

Dr. Giridhar Reddy
Consultant Gastroenterologist

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