Constipation in adults and how to tackle it



Published on Dec 16, 2023 07:00 AM IST

Health expert reveals the causes behind constipation in adults, its signs and symptoms and shares tips on how to tackle it

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Published on Dec 16, 2023 07:00 AM IST

Constipation is a prevalent digestive ailment that can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life and it occurs when bowel movements become irregular or challenging, leading to discomfort and inconvenience. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and effective remedies is crucial for managing this common issue. (Pixabay)

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Several factors contribute to constipation, with a low-fiber diet being a primary culprit. Fiber adds bulk to stool, facilitating smoother passage through the digestive tract. Inadequate fluid intake, lack of physical activity, and ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement can also contribute to this condition.(File Photo)
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View Photos in a new improved layout

Published on Dec 16, 2023 07:00 AM IST

Several factors contribute to constipation, with a low-fiber diet being a primary culprit. Fiber adds bulk to stool, facilitating smoother passage through the digestive tract. Inadequate fluid intake, lack of physical activity, and ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement can also contribute to this condition.(File Photo)

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In an interview with Zarafshan Shiraz of HT Lifestyle, Dr Pallavi Garg, Gastrologist at Apollo Spectra in Delhi's Chirag Enclave, shared, “Certain medications and conditions such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, uremia, and hypercalcemia are known to cause constipation. Colorectal cancer, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulitis, Neurological disorders such as spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and stroke can also affect bowel function. Multiple organ diseases like amyloidosis, lupus and scleroderma and pregnancy can contribute to changes in bowel habits inviting constipation. Certain medications, such as pain relievers and iron supplements, may further exacerbate constipation.” (Instagram/anshukayoga)
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Published on Dec 16, 2023 07:00 AM IST

In an interview with Zarafshan Shiraz of HT Lifestyle, Dr Pallavi Garg, Gastrologist at Apollo Spectra in Delhi’s Chirag Enclave, shared, “Certain medications and conditions such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, uremia, and hypercalcemia are known to cause constipation. Colorectal cancer, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulitis, Neurological disorders such as spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and stroke can also affect bowel function. Multiple organ diseases like amyloidosis, lupus and scleroderma and pregnancy can contribute to changes in bowel habits inviting constipation. Certain medications, such as pain relievers and iron supplements, may further exacerbate constipation.” (Instagram/anshukayoga)

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She added, ‘‘Recognizing the symptoms of constipation is essential for early intervention. Infrequent bowel movements, straining during defecation, and a sense of incomplete evacuation are common indicators. Abdominal discomfort and bloating may accompany these symptoms, making it imperative to address the issue promptly.’’(Unsplash)
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Published on Dec 16, 2023 07:00 AM IST

She added, ‘‘Recognizing the symptoms of constipation is essential for early intervention. Infrequent bowel movements, straining during defecation, and a sense of incomplete evacuation are common indicators. Abdominal discomfort and bloating may accompany these symptoms, making it imperative to address the issue promptly.’’(Unsplash)

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According to Dr Pallavi Garg, preventive measures and lifestyle adjustments play a pivotal role in managing constipation. She said, “Increasing dietary fiber by incorporating fruits, vegetables and whole grains can promote regular bowel movements. Staying hydrated is equally crucial, as water helps soften stool and ease its passage. Regular physical activity stimulates bowel function, contributing to a healthier digestive system.” (pexels)
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Published on Dec 16, 2023 07:00 AM IST

According to Dr Pallavi Garg, preventive measures and lifestyle adjustments play a pivotal role in managing constipation. She said, “Increasing dietary fiber by incorporating fruits, vegetables and whole grains can promote regular bowel movements. Staying hydrated is equally crucial, as water helps soften stool and ease its passage. Regular physical activity stimulates bowel function, contributing to a healthier digestive system.” (pexels)

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She suggested, “In addition to lifestyle changes, over-the-counter laxatives and fiber supplements can offer relief. However, their use should be approached cautiously, as dependency can develop. Consulting a healthcare professional before using such remedies is advisable. A large number of people are suffering from constipation and find it embarrassing to discuss with the doctor but one shouldn’t take it lightly and try to seek medical attention without any delay to determine the underlying cause behind it.” (Freepik)
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Published on Dec 16, 2023 07:00 AM IST

She suggested, “In addition to lifestyle changes, over-the-counter laxatives and fiber supplements can offer relief. However, their use should be approached cautiously, as dependency can develop. Consulting a healthcare professional before using such remedies is advisable. A large number of people are suffering from constipation and find it embarrassing to discuss with the doctor but one shouldn’t take it lightly and try to seek medical attention without any delay to determine the underlying cause behind it.” (Freepik)

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Pointing out that sometimes it can be a symptom of some underlying disease, Dr Pallavi Garg cautioned it could lead to sudden change in bowel habit, constipation associated with blood in stools, unexplained weight loss, low hemoglobin or nutritional deficiencies. Constipation along with pain in abdomen and vomiting can be a feature of some serious underlying disease.(Unsplash)
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Published on Dec 16, 2023 07:00 AM IST

Pointing out that sometimes it can be a symptom of some underlying disease, Dr Pallavi Garg cautioned it could lead to sudden change in bowel habit, constipation associated with blood in stools, unexplained weight loss, low hemoglobin or nutritional deficiencies. Constipation along with pain in abdomen and vomiting can be a feature of some serious underlying disease.(Unsplash)

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She concluded, “Constipation can lead to various complications like  swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum (hemorrhoids), tears in the anus lining from hardened stool (anal fissures), infections in pouches formed off the colon wall (diverticulitis), fecal impaction, and damage to pelvic floor muscles leading to urinary leakage (stress urinary incontinence). Hence, constipation is a common and generally treatable condition, often linked to lifestyle choices. By adopting a balanced diet, staying hydrated and embracing an active lifestyle, individuals can mitigate the discomfort associated with constipation and maintain optimal digestive health. Please consult your GI health physician if required.” (Freepik)
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View Photos in a new improved layout

Published on Dec 16, 2023 07:00 AM IST

She concluded, “Constipation can lead to various complications like  swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum (hemorrhoids), tears in the anus lining from hardened stool (anal fissures), infections in pouches formed off the colon wall (diverticulitis), fecal impaction, and damage to pelvic floor muscles leading to urinary leakage (stress urinary incontinence). Hence, constipation is a common and generally treatable condition, often linked to lifestyle choices. By adopting a balanced diet, staying hydrated and embracing an active lifestyle, individuals can mitigate the discomfort associated with constipation and maintain optimal digestive health. Please consult your GI health physician if required.” (Freepik)

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