Constipation - one of the commonest gastrointestinal problems is a cause of distress for a large number of people globally. Constipation can affect people of all ages though it tends to be common amongst children and the elderly people (above 65 years of age)
A common misbelief that exists amongst people is that if they do not get a bowel movement every day, they are constipated. However, there is nothing like a fixed frequency to judge the normalcy of bowel movements. Three bowel movements a day to three in a week is considered normal and this varies from person to person. So if a person defecates less than 3 times a week, he can be said to be constipated.
Again the consistency of the stools and the amount of straining required for defecation also requires to be considered. Hard, dry stools that are difficult to be passed or that require a lot of straining constitute constipation.
Some other features that arise on account of constipation are:
- Bloated feeling in the abdomen
- Sluggishness in general
- Unsatisfied feeling after passing stools, feeling of incomplete evacuation
- Rectal fullness needing manual evacuation of stools
Constipation tends to be much more common amongst females as compared to males, the male: female ratio being 1:3. Constipation is very common during pregnancy and after childbirth. Almost 40% of people above the age of 65 years experience chronic constipation.
An occasional bout of constipation is extremely common but if the complaint tends to be very frequent, medical assistance must be sought. Again, if someone experiences sudden and very acute constipation, immediate treatment must be sought to rule out a serious medical illness (bowel obstruction due to a tumor, etc.)
Some symptoms that you must watch out for; report to the doctor at the earliest if you notice any of these:
- Rectal bleeding
- Severe abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of weight
A large number of people with chronic constipation use over-the-counter laxatives and millions of dollars are spent annually to treat this condition. The problem with laxatives is that they provide only temporary relief and tend to be habit forming many times. Homeopathy can provide effective treatment for constipation, one that is safe yet non habit-forming.