Constipation can upset the otherwise even bowel movement and can affect beyond the physical outcomes. Fortunately, there are many treatments for constipation and implementing them can help deal with this problem. Identify what is best for you by having a clear understanding of the cause of constipation.
Besides medical prescriptions, constipation can also be dealt with lifestyle changes. It is a good idea to implement lifestyle changes even if you are using medications for constipation. Following are some of the most effective and popular treatments for constipation.
Common Treatments For Constipation
Diet can play a crucial in the treatment of constipation. Adding sufficient fiber to your diet can take care of constipation, even prevent it from happening. Fiber (made by plants) is not digested by the human gastrointestinal tract. Fiber can bind to water and keep the water within the intestine.It adds volume to the stool and the water softens the stool.
Increasing fruits and veggies in your diet can give you more fiber and better ability to deal with constipation. Other common sources of fiber are wheat, psyllium seed, oat bran and polycarbophil. You can also consider fiber supplements to cater to your increased need.However, high-fiber diet can have some side effects. You may have to adhere to the ‘trial and error’ method to determine which food suits you and which do not. Flatulence can be a common side effect of consuming a diet rich in fiber.
All types of fibers can produce flatulence so you can only alter the degree of gas production but cannot possibly eliminate it totally. If you’re pregnant and suffer from constipation, try consuming high-fiber foods. Drink sufficient quantity of water and adopt an exercise regimen after consulting your doctor.
Laxatives are over-the-counter medications for constipation. These can be implemented when diet and lifestyle changes seem ineffective. Laxatives are used to make the stool loose and can be an important element of constipation treatment. But laxatives have their unfavorable outcomes as well and should not be used habitually. Excess use can cause diarrhea and can even pose health hazards.
Laxatives can be of different types like stimulants, fiber supplements, osmotic and lubricants. They mainly help in the movement of feces through the colon. The fiber supplements are usually considered safe but you should always consult a health care expert before taking any. FiberCon, Correctol, Sorbitol and Haley’s M-O are some laxatives which can be used for treating constipation. Natural laxatives include banana, aloe vera, kiwifruit, nuts and prunes.
Sometimes, your doctor may prescribe medicines to treat constipation, especially when lifestyle changes cannot possibly take care of the constipation. Prescription medicines like Chloride channel activator and 5-HT-4 agonist are implemented for treatment of constipation.
Chloride channel activator has lubiprostone which increases the fluid component of stool. The other type, 5-HT-4 agonists, mainly increase fluid in the intestine and restrict the colon transit time. However, these drugs (e.g. Prucalopride) are unavailable in the U.S. owing to safety concerns.
Therapies and Procedures
There are some other methods to treat constipation which can be implemented when medications (and lifestyle amendments) do not respond. These are surgical procedures which are not commonly used. One of the methods is to manually clear the colon of retained stool.
Disimpaction, or breaking impacted stool, is an important part of this manual procedure which can be done by gently inserting a gloved ginger. This is supplemented with a laxative enema for softening stool and ensuring easy bowel movement.Chronic constipation can be treated with surgical removal of colon (partly). Here, the surgeon may remove the problematic part of the anal sphincter or rectum.
Constipation may happen due to an underlying pelvic floor disorder wherein the doctor can recommend biofeedback as the treatment. Biofeedback is a training technique which can give better control over the muscles used during bowel movement.
Through biofeedback, you can learn to improve the functionality of your muscles thereby improving the ability to defecate. The ano-rectal biofeedback training can teach relaxation and contraction of muscles more normally to relieve constipation.
Enema can also be used as part of treatment of constipation, it is meant to be used occasionally as it can upset the natural fluid and electrolyte composition of the body and can cause damage to the rectum. Enema is used when there is hardening of stool.
There are different types of enemas – saline enema, mineral enema, phosphate enema, emollient enema and tap water enema. The simplest among all is tap water enema; but all types of enemas should be administered with care. Enemas should be applied according to the instructions including positioning and full application of the enema.