CONSTIPATION TYPES AND TREATMENT.Constipation is a digestive system condition where you have a hard stool that is difficult to expel and most of the time it happens when your colon absorbs too much water from the food moving through it. The slower food moves through your gut, the more water is absorbed making your stool hard and dry.
As this happens, it becomes very painful for you to empty your bowels and you may experience other symptoms like straining to pass stool, stomach aches and cramps, losing appetite, feeling nauseous and bloated.
Now there are different types of constipation. Let’s take a look:
Hard stool, also known as stool dryness or stool hardness is one type of constipation that can be an underlying symptom of some other medical conditions. While constipation is often described as difficulty in passing stool, the hardness of the stool is also a defining characteristic of the kind of constipation.
In some cases, constipation involving stool hardness can lead to conditions like hemorrhoids.
FECAL IMPACTION/OBSTRUCTIVE CONSTIPATION
Fecal impaction is a type of constipation where the stool becomes impacted and obstructs the large intestines. On the other hand, it also refers to the obstruction of the passage of stool by other components apart from the stool itself. It is often caused by the presence of tumors, cystic fibrosis, structures formed within the intestine as a result of inflammatory conditions like Crohn’s disease and even scars from abdominal surgeries which form outside the intestine but inside the abdomen.
It can also be caused by advanced aging.
A reduction in the muscle tone of the abdominal wall, colon or pelvic floor causes atonic constipation. This then leads to chronic constipation and reduced bowel activity, that is, food barely moves along the gut.
The major causes of atonic constipation include the following:
- Poor lifestyle habits like having irregular meals. Eating low fiber diets, sedentary lifestyle, postponing your trip to the toilet, excessive use of laxatives that leads to a reduction in the colon’s muscle tone which causes the colon to lose its ability to be stimulated by the existence of stool in the gut – this is called a lazy colon. Because of this, a person experiencing atonic constipation would even feel the urge to poop even when the person’s colon is filled with feces.
- In people of advanced age, looser rectal muscles put them at risk of atonic constipation.
- Weakened pelvic muscles – mostly experienced by pregnant women.
- Long term damage to the nerves of the intestines – often seen in congenital disorders and poorly managed diabetes.
In this type of constipation, lifestyle changes and surgical procedures may help to reverse the condition.
This type of constipation manifests as bloating, abdominal cramps, occasional diarrhea and even symptoms of the other types of constipation. It is often triggered by stress, some kinds of medications and foods, some neurological disorders and even spasms in the colon.
Spastic constipation is also sometimes referred to as constipation-dominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS_C) on account of its similarities to the original irritable bowel syndrome disease (IBS).
CHRONIC IDIOPATHIC CONSTIPATION
This type refers to constipation that has been going on for an extended period and whose cause isn’t known. It is also known as “long-lasting” constipation.
Anyone experiencing this type of constipation usually presents with hard to pass bowel movements that happen less than 3 times in a week, straining, bloating, discomfort and not feeling empty after a bowel movement.
If you happen to experience any of these symptoms, you should inform your doctor of these symptoms so that the right treatment goals can be set for you.
Now that we’ve touched on the types of constipation, the next thing is to understand how they can be treated.
Some cases of constipation may resolve themselves without any risk to your health or without treatment but it is important to first understand what is causing the constipation – maybe a bad lifestyle habit or an underlying condition – to be able to determine how it should be treated. For example, some doctors have noted that some people do not take enough time to poop and this results in constipation. CONSTIPATION TYPES AND TREATMENT.
CHANGE WHAT YOU DRINK OR EAT
When you change the kinds of foods and drink you consume, it can make your poop softer and much easier to pass out. For example, you should more foods that are high in fiber – depending on your age and gender, as an adult, you should be getting between 25 and 31g of fiber daily – and make sure if your fiber intake increases, you should drink plenty of water.
You can also take fiber supplements.
TRY TRAINING YOUR BOWEL
This might sound weird but doctors have suggested that you can try training yourself to go to the toilet at the same time every day to help you develop a regular bowel movement schedule. For example, you can try going to the toilet about half an hour after breakfast since eating also helps your colon to move the feces along your gut.
Don’t forget to give yourself ample time to have the bowel movement and visit the toilet as soon as you feel the need to poop. Either relax your muscles as much as you can or place your feet on a stool so you feel comfortable.CONSTIPATION TYPES AND TREATMENT.
TAKE OVER THE COUNTER LAXATIVES
Depending on what works for you, it may be best to take a laxative but only as a last resort.
- Stimulants like senokot or dulcolax contract the muscles of the intestines rhythmically to move stool along.
- Lubricants like mineral oil also help to smoothly move stool along the colon.
- Stool softeners moisten the stool.
- Osmotic laxatives like sorbitol support the movement of liquids through the colon.
- Saline laxatives like milk of magnesia draw water into the colon to make stool easier to pass.
If all else fails, colon surgery may be undertaken to remove the part of the rectum that is causing the constipation.