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Constipation Symptoms

Difficulty in passing stools, pain and cramping in abdomen are the prominent symptoms of constipation. This article will give you more information on causes, symptoms and treatment of constipation.
Constipation is one of the most common conditions in the world, which may be second only to headaches. It is a generic term that can be used to determine different types of abnormal bowel movements. For e.g. infrequent stool, difficulty in passing stool, passing of hard stool, etc. all these conditions are commonly known as constipation. It is not a serious disorder; but, in chronic cases, it can lead to complications.

Constipation Causes
A person whose diet lacks in fibers (fruits and vegetables) and liquids (plain drinking water) can suffer from constipation, as fibers and liquids are essential for proper and quicker bowel movements. Secondly, diseases like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or kidney failure, use of certain medication, lifestyle changes and improper food habits are the other prominent causes of constipation. Thirdly, during pregnancy, the high levels of progesterone in women slow down the process of digestion which consequently results in constipation.

Signs and Symptoms
One should know that inability of having a bowel movement every day is not a symptom of constipation. This condition can be caused due to dietary changes or by consuming certain food products.
  • Straining or difficulty in passing stools
  • Not passing stools regularly
  • Inability to empty the bowel completely
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Pain in rectum
  • Bloating
  • Cramps in stomach
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
An adult is said to suffer from constipation, if he or she passes stools only for 3 times a week. On the other hand, a child is said to be constipated if he or she passes stools for only 4 times a week. Constipation symptoms in adults are similar to those in children. However, in case of children, the following symptoms may also be observed:
  • Lack of energy
  • Irritability
  • General feeling of illness
Frequent constipation, if left untreated, can turn chronic. It can last for months or even years together. This condition can lead to complications like diverticulitis and hemorrhoids, and hence, it is advisable to treat it as early as possible.

Constipation Treatment
As mentioned above, constipation is not a serious disease or a disorder. However, one needs to consult the doctor if this condition occurs frequently. There are no tests required for the diagnosis of this condition. A medical history about the symptoms, consistency and frequency of bowel movements can help in diagnosing this condition. In most of the cases, constipation can be treated with the help of medication or home remedies. Having laxatives or fiber supplements is the best way of treating constipation. There are several brands and types of laxatives available that can be gotten directly from chemists. However, one needs to be aware of the side effects like skin rash, dizziness and nausea caused by some laxatives. If you find that constipation occurs due to certain types of medication, you should bring it to the notice of your doctor immediately. Constipation home remedies include having fruits, raw vegetables, nuts, apple cider vinegar, honey, etc. Having a high fiber diet is essential to treat this condition.

It is essential to identify the symptoms in order to treat and prevent constipation. A change in the diet and lifestyle are the only effective means that prevent this discomforting condition forever!
By Madhura Pandit
Published: 3/8/2010
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