Constipation is a quite common condition that affects people of all ages. Almost everyone experiences constipation at some point in their lifetime, which is why we’re exploring its symptoms today – including severe constipation symptoms.
Rather than a disease, constipation is a symptom that occurs when the colon has absorbed too much water, thus resulting in hard feces that are difficult to expel. The slower the food moves through the digestive tract, the more water the colon absorbs from it and as a result, the feces become hard and dry, according to MNT.
The length of time between bowel movements vary from person to person. While some adults have them as often as three times a day, others have them three times per week. But note that if you have less than just one per week, that is considered to be a severe constipation symptom which can be linked to complications like bleeding and bowel obstruction.
Acute vs. Chronic Constipation
Also known as recent onset constipation, acute constipation begins suddenly and according to Health24, occurs when you have a serious medical illness (e.g. colon tumors) where constipation is the symptom. If acute constipation is accompanied by other symptoms like rectal bleeding, abdominal pain and cramps, nausea, vomiting, and unexplained weight loss, then you should immediately seek professional help.
Chronic or long duration constipation is a condition where an individual has difficult, infrequent, or perceived incomplete evacuation of bowel movements. The symptoms include less than three bowel movements per week, hard stools, and having difficulty passing stools. Chronic constipation can affect the quality of life by slowing down your performance at work, and many other issues that come as a result of not knowing much about the condition which then leads to stress and anxiety. That’s why it’s recommended to talk to a doctor about your situation.
What are the symptoms of constipation?
According to Health24, constipation symptoms vary depending on the person, but also whether or not the constipation is chronic or just temporary. They include:
- Few bowel movements (and straining when having a bowel movement)
- Hard and compacted stools that difficult to expel
- Stomach aches relieved by bowel movements
- A feeling of incomplete evacuation
- Pain in the rectum from trying to pass dry and hard stools
- Bloating and nausea
- Loss of appetite
- The appearance of bright red blood on the stool from hemorrhoids or anal fissures
- Frequent urination due to the pressure on the bladder, and even involuntary release of urine (chronic constipation)
- Obsession with having to use the bathroom.
You might also want to read: This Is What People With Irritable Bowel Syndrome Should Know About Probiotics
Severe constipation symptoms
Constipation can be a sign of a serious underlying digestive problem. According to Health24, seek medical help immediately if you experience the following:
- Severe abdominal cramps
- Blood in the stool when you manage to have a bowel movement
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
- Constipated for more than two weeks despite using home remedies or changing your diet
*If you experience some or all of the abovementioned symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately, especially if you have a family history of bowel cancer.
Causes of constipation
It’s quite difficult to identify the exact cause of constipation, however, according to Medical News Today there are many things that contribute to it, including the following:
- Lack of fiber in your diet
- Physical inactivity
- Changes in routine
- Not going to the toilet when needed
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Overuse of laxatives
- Problems with the colon or rectum
- Some diseases and conditions
How to treat constipation?
Treatment for chronic constipation usually begins with lifestyle and diet changes.
- Increase your daily intake of fiber
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Exercise more
However, if these tips don’t work, then it’s best to talk to your doctor who might recommend medications or surgery.
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