Infrequent bowel movement is a delicate topic, which is somehow awkward to discuss. Nevertheless, difficulties with going to the toilet may be really disturbing or even signal about serious health issues.
What is constipation?
Speaking about the norm, an average adult should “go” at least 3 times a week or ones in three days. In case one has fewer bowel movements, he is constipated. Another variant of this trouble is a need to put an effort to have a bowel movement or having the feeling that the bowel is not completely emptied. Whatever the situation, it needs to be solved.
What are the signs of constipation?
Constipation may be either chronic or acute. In the first case you need to consult your healthcare provider on the ways of improving your condition. Yet, if you experience an acute form of the ailment, you need to turn for medical help promptly. To the symptoms of chronic constipation belong:
- Less than 3 bowel movements a week;
- Need to strain to have a bowel movement;
- Discomfort in the lower abdomen;
- Feeling that you haven’t emptied the bowel;
- Hard stool;
- Small amount of feces;
- Loss of appetite;
- Lack of energy and fatigue.
You may be experiencing acute constipation in case you have noticed:
- Rectal bleeding or blood in stool;
- Sharp pain in the lower abdomen;
- Noticeable weight loss without obvious reasons;
- Stomach cramps;
- Vomiting, nausea, bloating.
What may become the reason for infrequent bowel movements?
Gastrointestinal tract may react to a number of ailments, which may be either connected with it or not. In most cases, troubles with defecation are the result of some lifestyle choices and eating habits.
Among the non-medical reasons of constipation are:
- Dehydration or insufficient amount of water you drink during the day;
- Lack of fiber (fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products) in a diet;
- Little physical activity;
- Excess of dairy products in nutrition;
- A habit to endure the need to defecate.
If these are the reasons for constipation you experience, they are easy to solve by altering your usual way of life. However, the core of the problems with emptying may be much more serious, for example:
- Hormonal imbalance. Too much progesterone and estrogen in women may result in constipation. Changes in the levels of hormones usually happen during periods and pregnancy but they may also be caused by some ailments of women genital organs.
- Hypothyroidism. Lack of thyroid hormone slows down all the processes in the human body including bowel movements.
- Irritable bowel syndrome may manifest through constipation.
- Colon cancer. A tumor, which appears in individuals with this type of cancer gradually blocks or squeezes the digestive tract making it difficult or impossible to have a stool.
- Neurological issues. Some ailments, for example, spinal injury, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease prevent the normal transition of signals from the gastrointestinal tract to the brain thus leading to constipation.
- Some medications may also be the reason for constipation. Here belong: antidepressants, iron supplements, narcotic painkillers, aluminum-containing antacids and some other preparations.
What should be done to normalize the stool?
Here are some simple tips on how to improve gut function:
- Drink at least three or four glasses of water a day;
- Add foods rich in fiber to your diet. Eat cereals, whole-grain bread, vegetables, and fruits;
- Start exercising at least 30 minutes a day or do some job, which needs physical activity;
- Use laxative medications to soften the stool and have a defecation;
- Defecate when you feel the need. Don’t ignore the urge to bowel movement.
In case you think you might have acute constipation, turn to the doctors.