Chronic constipation is a condition of infrequent or restricted bowel movements, which persists for several weeks or longer in some cases. In general, constipation is described as bowel movements limited to fewer than 3 a week.
Although occasional constipation is common in people, some experience chronic constipation that causes interference with how they go about their everyday tasks.People with chronicconstipation, sometimes, strain heavily to have a bowel movement.
The treatment for chronic constipation is subject to its cause, which, however, is never found in some cases.
The following are a few common signs and symptoms of chronic constipation:
- Passing 3or fewerstools a week
- Straining while havinga bowel movement
- Having hard and lumpy stools
- The feeling of incomplete bowel movements
- The feeling of having a blockage in the rectum, which prevents bowel movements
- A feeling of needing help to empty the rectum, e.g. pressing on your abdomen to remove the stool from your rectum
If you are having one or more of these symptoms for 2 to 3 months in a row, yours could be chronic constipation.
Constipation Potential Causes
The most common reason why constipation occurs in the first place could be the slow movement of the stool through the digestive tract, which causes its ineffective elimination from the colon. This results in the hard and dry stool. The following could be other causes of constipation:
- Blockages in the colon
A blockage in the colon may cause slow movement of the stool, typicallycaused by:
- Anal fissure –the skin around the anus has multiple tiny tears
- Bowel obstruction – the intestines have a blockage
- Colon cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Bowel stricture – narrowing of the colon
- Abdominal cancer could be pressing on the colon
Otherthan these, there could be any other problem as well.
- Damaged nerves around the colon
A neurological problem might also affect the nerves responsible for causing muscles inside the colon and rectum to contract and move the stool within the intestines. The issue is typically caused by:
- Damaged nerves responsible for controlling bodily functions
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord injury
If a person has one or more pre-existing conditions, he or she is at risk of getting constipation due to regular medication.
- Affected hormones in the body
The human body releases various hormones that help balance different fluids in the body. Any disease or condition that upsets this balance may cause constipation. Some of these conditions are mentioned below:
- Hyperparathyroidism (overactive parathyroid gland)
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Hemorrhoids (swollen veins in the anus)
- Anal fissure (torn skins around the anus)
- Fecal impaction (stools that cannot be removed)
- Rectal prolapse (when intestine protrudes from the anus)
Constipation may not be a problem when occurs occasionally. When you fail to have more than 3 bowel movements for about 3 months, see a doctor. Switch to a healthy diet and make some lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of getting constipation in the future.