Constipation is the state of inability to pass stools. It may be absolute when one is not able to pass stool at all or relative when stools are passed with difficulty. Constipation is not only a problem by itself but gives rise to many other health related problems.
One suffering from constipation does not realize that the abdominal pain, bodyache, nausea, heart burn, lethargy, eructation or other symptoms he is experiencing are because of constipation only.
Diseases like diabetes mellitus, tuberculosis of the intestines, crohn’s disease, e.t.c., can cause change in bowel habits and constipation in the affected individual. Spinal injuries also cause constipation along with urinary retention and paralysis of limbs.
Antacids like aluminium hydroxide, drugs like buscopan used for abdominal pain, iron syrups and tablets, are some of the drugs which produce constipation as a side effect.
Constipation produced due to some disease of the intestines or due to drugs reverses completely after the cause is removed.
Largely, constipation is produced due to a functional abnormality of bowels. Due to a defective diet lacking in fiber and water the intestines start moving sluggishly and this augments over time.
Lack of physical exercise also contributes to it. As the intestines become more and more sluggish, constipation also increases, becoming more troublesome.
People affected, spend their valuable time and money in buying sure shot indigenous medicines and visiting hospitals for something which they can rectify themselves by correcting their food habits.
It can occur both in young and old. While with advancing age, intestinal motility tends to become slow, the young also suffer from constipation due to defective life styles and stress.
Mental stress is yet another factor which causes and maintains constipation. Fresh green vegetables and fruits with high fiber content are very useful for constipation.
Papaya is very useful in this regard as it has a high content of pectin an enzyme which helps in digestion. Eating whole wheat bread is more advantageous as compared to bread made of refined white flour.
Drinking plenty of water ensures good movement of bowels and helps to control constipation. One suffering from constipation should start taking hot water in the night before sleeping. Hot water acts as a laxative.
This helps in eliminating constipation. Regular physical exercise is beneficial for overall general health of the body and also constipation.
After adopting these measures a person needs to be patient. The results appear slowly and not overnight. The intestines which have become sluggish over years take time to restore their normal functions.
A word of caution here. One should not depend on laxative drugs for relieving constipation. These drugs are habit forming. That is after some time of use the body becomes resistant to their effect and their dose has to be increased.
With increasing dose, there is risk of dilatation of the large intestine, which causes sense of bloating after food and also aggravates constipation.
Constipation is not a disease by itself but causes much sickness and suffering. In extreme cases, death can also occur due to total paralysis of bowel movements.
Therefore, it is wise to prevent constipation rather than seeking magic remedies which would cure instantly. After all, it is necessary for a person to remain absolutely healthy and work efficiently, a state prevented by constipation. Dr. Rachna Pande