For fear of being ridiculed, most people hide the fact that they are suffering from constipation. But the problem of constipation is no laughing matter. In fact, only people who have suffered from this problem can understand the discomfort that is associated with this condition.
If you suffer from constipation don’t trivialize it. Constipation could be indicative of more serious underlying health conditions including colon cancer, polyps, diabetes, multiple sclerosis or even Parkinson’s disease. Constipation if left untreated can lead to build up of bodily toxins which can even cause death.
Understanding the Problem of Chronic Constipation
There is hardly anyone in this world who has not suffered from constipation at some point or the other in their life. Bowel movements vary from person to person. For some people passing stools twice a day is considered normal, while for others passing stools once in two days may be considered normal.
When people suffer from constipation once in a blue moon it should not be a source of undue concern. However, when people experience extreme difficulty in passing stools or are able to pass stools only once in 4 days, they are said to be suffering from chronic constipation.
Risk Factors for Chronic Constipation
It has been noted, that individuals who practice or adopt unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices, are at a greater risk of suffering from constipation in general. If constipation is left untreated, it progresses into chronic constipation.
A diet that is filled with fatty and high cholesterol foods and is devoid of fibrous foods can cause constipation. Leading a sedentary lifestyle can also result in constipation. However, it has been generally seen that the problem of constipation worsens with age.
The elderly are more likely to suffer from severe constipation because of their muscles becoming lax. Older people are dependant on a variety of medications to treat their numerous health problems. Sometimes certain medication can also cause constipation.
Depression, hyper calcaemia, colon cancer and irritable bowel syndrome can also cause chronic constipation.
Causes of Chronic Constipation
It is extremely important to understand the underlying factors which are responsible for chronic constipation. If chronic constipation is left untreated, it can lead to more dangerous health conditions including hernia, hemorrhoids or even a prolapsed womb in women.
Poor Dietary Habits
If you are the type of person who likes to binge on pizzas, chocolates and other high fat, low fiber foods, you are extremely likely to suffer from constipation. To prevent the problem of chronic constipation, eat a diet that is high in fiber.
Foods which contain good quantities of fiber include all fresh fruits, vegetables – particularly green leafy vegetables and whole grain products. Make it a point to eat plenty of raw salads and eat plenty of fruits at mealtimes. Avoid products prepared from refined flour and instead opt for whole grain foods.
If your idea of exercise is walking from your bed and flopping down on the sofa, then you fall into the high risk category for chronic constipation. Make exercise a mandatory part of your daily life. Start with simple exercises like walking, jogging or running and progress to more advanced exercise forms.
Inactive lifestyle, leads to obesity and obesity in turn causes chronic constipation. So make a conscious effort to change your lifestyle and successfully fight the problem of chronic constipation.
Poor Fluid Intake
Poor fluid intake can lead to chronic constipation. Many people think that it is enough to drink water as and when they feel thirsty. This is not the case. An adult should drink a minimum of eight glasses of water every single day, to prevent problems like dehydration and chronic constipation.
The key point to be kept in mind here is that a normal adult should drink eight glasses of purified water and not eight glasses of fluid which may include coffee and aerated drinks. Coffee, and aerated drinks like sodas act as diuretics or they remove fluids from the body. So, don’t try and substitute water for any other fluids.
Poor Sleep Patterns
Most people are unaware of the fact that their poor sleeping habits may be indirectly linked to their problem of chronic constipation. Most of the important bodily activities including repair and rejuvenation takes place when we are asleep. Lack of sleep can affect all the major bodily activities. The digestive system is also affected by poor sleeping habits and this in turn can lead to chronic constipation.
Stress is inevitable in today’s fast paced life. But excessive stress is not good. When we are faced with an extremely stressful situation, our body reacts by diverting the excess energy from the different parts of the body to face the perceived threat. The body goes into a fight or flight mode and all non essential activities are shut down to gather every extra ounce of energy.
During these kinds of stressful situations, the digestive and eliminatory systems are also affected. If we are faced with extremely stressful situations on a daily basis it can lead to chronic constipation.
Sometimes a simple parasitic infection can wreak havoc with the normal bodily functions. Even the digestive and eliminatory systems are affected by these types of infections. Many parasitic infections can lead to faulty elimination and this in turn causes chronic constipation.
Enzyme deficiency can cause chronic constipation. People who eat a diet that lacks fresh fruits and vegetables are more likely to suffer from the problem of enzyme deficiency related constipation. Replacing raw fruits and vegetables with processed foods and foods high in sugar can aggravate the problem of enzyme deficiency.
Sometimes severe injuries, particularly spinal cord injuries can result in chronic constipation. Severe spinal cord injuries affect the nerves which control the bowel movements. When this happens, the nerves are not able to carry the necessary commands to empty the bowels when they are full. This leads to a build up of stools and over time compacted stools can lead to chronic constipation.
Under Active Thyroid Gland
There is a definite correlation between under active thyroid gland and chronic constipation. In fact, one of the main symptoms of hypo thyroidism is severe constipation.