When You Can’t Go: Understanding and Treating Chronic Constipation in Adults
Constipation is a common issue that can occur at any age, but it is particularly prevalent in adults. According to the American Gastroenterological Association, around 16% of adults experience chronic constipation, meaning they have fewer than three bowel movements per week and/or have difficulty passing stool. Chronic constipation can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, causing discomfort, pain, and even psychological distress.
Causes of Constipation
Constipation can be caused by various factors, including a lack of fiber in the diet, inadequate hydration, a sedentary lifestyle, certain medications, and underlying health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), hypothyroidism, and Parkinson’s disease. Constipation can also be caused by psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, and depression.
Symptoms of Constipation
The primary symptom of constipation is the absence of bowel movements or difficulty passing stool. Other symptoms may include abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and feeling unwell. Chronic constipation may also lead to hemorrhoids, fissures, and rectal prolapse.
If you are experiencing constipation, there are several constipation treatments available. In most cases, lifestyle changes can help alleviate the symptoms of constipation. The following are some of the most effective constipation solutions:
Fiber is essential for keeping the digestive system functioning correctly. Increasing fiber intake can help soften your stool, making it easier to pass. Foods that are high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Experts recommend consuming at least 25 grams of fiber daily for women and 38 grams for men.
Dehydration can lead to constipation. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help keep the stool soft and easy to pass. Experts recommend drinking at least eight cups of water per day. However, Dr. Sohn, an acupuncture and herbal medicine doctor in Beaverton, Oregon, does not recommend drinking plenty of water to easily swollen and bloated people.
Physical activity stimulates bowel movement and can help alleviate constipation. Exercise for at least 30 minutes daily, five days a week, can help promote regular bowel movements.
Over-the-counter laxatives are another common constipation treatment. They work by softening the stool, making it easier to pass. However, it is essential to be cautious when using laxatives, as overuse can lead to dependency and other health issues.
If lifestyle changes and over-the-counter remedies do not provide relief, prescription medications may be necessary. Medications like lubiprostone and linaclotide can help stimulate bowel movements in individuals with chronic constipation.
In some cases, chronic constipation may require constipation therapy. The following are some of the most effective constipation therapy options:
Biofeedback is a therapy that involves using electronic devices to monitor bodily functions like muscle activity and heart rate. Biofeedback can help individuals with chronic constipation learn how to control their bowel movements better.
Pelvic floor therapy is a form of physical therapy that focuses on the pelvic floor muscles. This therapy can help improve the coordination of the pelvic muscles, which can help alleviate chronic constipation.
Behavioral therapy involves making lifestyle changes to improve bowel movements. This therapy may include changing diet, increasing fiber intake, and adopting regular exercise habits.
In rare cases, chronic constipation may require surgical intervention. Surgery can help remove obstructions or correct abnormalities in the colon or rectum. However, surgery is typically only considered when all other constipation treatments have failed.
Chronic constipation is relieved after acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments. The therapy is a holistic treatment that considers the conditions of the whole body.
The best way to prevent constipation is to adopt healthy lifestyle habits. The following are some of the most effective ways to avoid constipation:
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fiber can help prevent constipation. Aim to consume at least 25 grams of fiber daily for women and 38 grams for men.
Drinking plenty of water can help prevent constipation. Experts recommend drinking at least eight cups of water per day. However, Dr. Sohn, an acupuncture and herbal medicine doctor in Beaverton, Oregon, does not recommend drinking plenty of water to easily swollen and bloated people.
Regular physical activity can help prevent constipation. Exercise for at least 30 minutes per day, five days a week.
Stress can cause constipation. To help manage stress, try relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
Overuse of laxatives can cause dependency and other health issues. Use laxatives only as directed, and talk to your healthcare provider before taking new medications.
If lifestyle changes and over-the-counter remedies do not provide relief, or if you are experiencing severe symptoms such as bloody stool, vomiting, or severe abdominal pain, you should see a doctor. Your healthcare provider can determine the underlying cause of your constipation and recommend appropriate constipation solutions.
Chronic constipation is a common issue that can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. Fortunately, many constipation treatments are available, including lifestyle changes, over-the-counter remedies, prescription medications, and constipation therapy. Individuals with chronic constipation can manage their symptoms and improve their overall health and well-being by adopting healthy lifestyle habits and seeking appropriate medical care.
Acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments are noninvasive therapy for chronic constipation. The treatment can be good constipation therapy and solution.
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