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Feeling all tied-up about constipation?

Explaining the cause of constipation he said, “It may be due to the stool being hard or pain on defecation, usually as a result of…

Explaining the cause of constipation he said, “It may be due to the stool being hard or pain on defecation, usually as a result of a fissure or haemorrhoid in the anus. You may also get constipated when you travel or have limited access to a proper toilet.”

Another cause for constipation is low fiber diet and inadequate intake of water. Other contributing factors include medicine such as antidepressants, antacids containing aluminum or calcium, antihistamines, iron tablets and diuretics as well as lack of exercise.

Laxatives he said have become the fastest and most accessible item that most people reach out for when constipated. “Many people use laxatives to treat constipation on their own by buying them from a chemist or pharmacy. It is important to stress that constipation is not a diagnosis; it is merely a symptom of an underlying problem. Some causes of constipation may be due to sinister illnesses such as cancer of the colon. Treating the symptom without knowing the cause may result in a missed or delayed diagnosis.”

A problem with the use of laxative is that it is gradually being abused. “Many people tend to misuse laxatives. Frequent use of laxatives to bring on a bowel movement may lead to your own colon “forgetting” how to work on its own, resulting in further dependence on laxatives.”

Offering some self care tips on constipation he advised that, before starting on your own treatment, it is wise to consult your doctor to rule out any serious problem. Once that is ruled out, you can try the following useful tips:

Diet – Increase your fiber intake by taking more vegetables and fruits. Low fiber diet increases the likelihood of constipation while high fiber diet not only prevents constipation but is also known to reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Exercise – Regular exercises help your bowel movement. Conversely, immobilization and lack of exercise increases the risk of constipation.

Water intake – You should take at least 2 litres of water daily, and more when the weather is hot or when you perspire profusely.

Where available and possible, add unprocessed bran to baked goods, cereal, or fruit, or add a fiber additive such as Forlax, Fybogel or Metamucil to your daily intake.

Prune juice has been known to improve bowel movement.

Also he said, try not to resist the urge to pass motion or put off a trip to the bathroom.

More importantly, it is not advisable to use “stimulant” laxatives such as dulcolax, senokot or enemas for long term without consulting your doctor as they may make you even more constipated without them. Long term use of these laxatives may also lead to mineral imbalance in your blood.

Culled from the ‘net

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