A Patient’s Guide to Managing Chronic Constipation

A Patient’s Guide to Managing Chronic Constipation

Does any of the following apply to you?

  • You must strain while having a bowel movement 25% of the time.
  • You have less than three bowel movements a week.
  • When you have a bowel movement, you do not feel like you are finished.
  • You have lumpy – hard stools about 25% of the time.

My friend, if you said yes to any two of the above and have experienced them for longer than three months, you fit into the category of chronic constipation.

Let’s think about what chronic constipation is to you. You know that it is not just a short-term problem.  Chronic is a form of constipation that will last for months to years instead of days.  It will be different from one person to the next. For some, it is a lifetime of suffering and discomfort.

About 19% of Americans suffer from some form of chronic constipation that could require medical care.  There are risk factors for chronic constipation. Several of which can place you at a more significant risk of developing chronic constipation.

  • Age – if you are over the age of 65 years.
  • Gender – if you are a woman.
  • Dietary – if you don’t drink enough fluids every day.
    • If you don’t eat the right amount of fiber.
  • Decreased movement – if you do not remain physically active whether it be by disability or by choice.

Chronic constipation will last for at least three months and can be a problem for some for their lifetime.  It seems it is not always related to change in diet, behavior, illness, medication, or lack of exercise.

Even if your bowel movements happen every day and you still suffer from straining hard, have extreme difficulty passing stools, you feel you are not finished, it takes a long time to get your stools out, or you must use your fingers to get the stool out then you are chronically constipated.

When you talk to your doctor about this problem, he will need to know if you have lost weight without trying.  Have you had rectal pain or bleeding, been vomiting, had fevers, a family history of cancer or irritable bowel syndrome, or celiac disease?

There are two kinds of chronic constipation:  There is a PRIMARY CONSTIPATION that consists of three subgroups:

  • Normal-transit constipation: the most common type of primary constipation, you might be passing your stools at a relatively regular rate, but you are still feeling like you have trouble moving your bowels.
  • Slow-transit constipation: the stool passes slowly through the colon.  Through this delay, it will damage nerves and muscles in your colon and rectum.  The damage might reduce your sensation of knowing when you need to have a bowel movement.
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction: you will probably have trouble coordinating the rectal muscle contractions.  There might be a lot of straining, and you might feel like you still need to go when you get done.  You may have to use your fingers to get the stool out.

There is a SECONDARY CONSTIPATION that is caused by medications and other health conditions.

  • Health conditions: if you suffer from any endocrine or metabolic issues like thyroid disease, diabetes, etc., neurological problems like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, etc., physical abnormalities like narrowing of the colon, anal or rectal tears, etc., mental health problems like anxiety, eating disorders,  depression, etc., digestive tract problems like colon cancer, Crohn’s disease,  ,
  • Medications: Here are some that can cause constipation:
Prescription Drugs Examples
Opiates Morphine, Vicodin
Anticholinergic agents Cogentin, Ditropan
Tricyclic antidepressants Elavil, Sensoval
Calcium Channel Blockers Isoptin, Cardizem
Anti-Parkinsonian drugs Rimantadine, Sinemet
Sympathomimetics Ventolin
Antipsychotics Aloperidin, Risperdal
Diuretics Lasix
Over the Counter Drugs Examples
Antacids, especially calcium-containing TUMS, Rolaids
Calcium supplements Citracal, Os-Cal
Iron supplements Feosol, Ferro-Sequels
Antidiarrheal agents Imodium
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents Advil, Aleve
Antihistamines Benadryl, Claritin

 

  • Do not ever ignore the urge when it hits you to use the bathroom. Set yourself up a regular time for using the toilet.

It is essential for you to know that not all treatments and laxatives are the same and they do not all have the same outcomes.

There are:

  • Bulking agents: they absorb liquids while your food is in your intestines and swell what is there to form a soft, bulky  They are usually known as fiber supplements.  You must drink plenty of water with these supplements.  They can cause bloating, rumbling sounds, nausea, mild abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.
  • Osmotic Laxatives: they draw more water into your colon from your body tissue making your stool a soft mass.  They can cause cramping, bloating, reduction in electrolytes, and dehydration.
  • Stimulant laxatives: They work on the intestinal wall, and cause muscle contractions. They can cause faintness, cramps, and abdominal discomfort.
  • Stool Softeners: They help liquids mix into your stool and keep it from being a hard, dry mass.  They are not laxatives but can help to relieve straining or painful bowel movements.  They might cause skin rashes, diarrhea, bitter taste or throat irritation, and mild nausea.
  • Emollients: Will coat the bowel and the mass of stool with a film of waterproof substance so that the stool remains soft.  It might cause nausea and cramps.

However, the best to be found is still Colon Cleanse and Super Colon Cleanse.  It is all natural by use of herbs that aid in cleaning you out with a super easy go.  No cramping, no bloating, no nausea, and no hurting.  Just a gentle, easy way to go.

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