Constipation, Prevention and Treatment

Almost everyone gets constipated at some time during his or her life. Generally, it is not usually serious but according to a U.S. study, older women bothered by severe, chronic constipation may have a higher risk of heart disease than those who aren’t. This article presents prevent and treatment for this condition.

Definition

Constipation refers to the state of difficult or less frequent bowel movement. People with constipation usually have a pain during the passage of a bowel movement, inability to pass a bowel movement after straining or pushing for more than 10 minutes, or no bowel movements after more than 3 days. Exclusively breastfed infants having constipation may go 7 days without a stool.

Prevention

Prevention is better cure. To avoid constipation, you should do the following things:

•        Eat lots of fiber.

•        Drink plenty of fluids each day (at least 8 glasses of water per day).

•        Exercise regularly.

•        Go to the bathroom when you have the urge. Don’t wait.

Treatment

Home care

•     Get enough fiber intake. Vegetables, fresh fruits, dried fruits, and whole wheat, bran, or oatmeal cereals are foods good for treating constipation.

•        Do regular exercise to establish regular bowel movements.

•       Use stool softeners (such as those containing docusate sodium). DO NOT give laxatives or enemas to children without first asking your doctor.

Consult a Medical Professional

Call your doctor if you have:

•       Sudden constipation with abdominal cramps and an inability to pass gas or stool. (DO NOT take any laxatives — call immediately!)

•        Sharp or severe abdominal pain, especially if you’re also bloated

•        Blood in your stool

•        Constipation alternating with diarrhea

•        Thin, pencil-like stools

•        Rectal pain

•        Unexplained weight loss

•        Been using laxatives for several weeks or self care is not working

Call if:

•        An infant younger than 2 months is constipated

•        An infant (except those exclusively breastfed) goes 3 days without a stool — call immediately if the child is vomiting or irritable

•        A child is holding back bowel movements in order to resist toilet training


Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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