Thursday, 17 November 2011

Battling Constipation: Knowing about it

I lifted this from my other blog http://sharosem.wordpress.com/ .  An entry I posted in December of 2010.  I am sharing it here for those people who are visitng this site and are also in search of information regarding bowel movement problems, incomplete voiding of the stomach and colon, in short – constipation.
Hope this will help you understand what constipated people like me are going through and our desire to find that relief :-)

-foodformylove(17November2011)

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Constipation…  For more than three decades of my life, I’ve been in constant battle with constipation and I tell you it is not easy.   Defecating has always been driving me insane that every time I eat I first consider if such food will make me crap or just worsen my constipation.  A relief from it is always my everyday goal I look forward to and contracting diarrhea is what I consider as heavenly ( seriously)

Do I have an irregular and infrequent bowel movement which makes me defecate 2 times a week utmost or sometimes once a week at its worse? – YES!

Is it difficult, painful, strenuous, really straining to expel that darn faecal matter?  -  extremely YES and most of the time it is giving me psychological stress and causing me mental distress.  I am caught between begging and cursing I don’t know who just to get rid of my crap.

Do I feel the urge of moving again after pooping because it felt like my bowels are not completely emptied when they move? -  YES,
Do I experience abdominal bloating, constant fullness and cramps? – Almost every day specially when I eat red meat and rice no matter how small the quantity I have ingested.

Are my faeces hard and lumpy that looks like a goat’s stool or a hard rock? – 101% YES,  and it’s really painful to pass it out

All of the above are symptoms of constipation.  In addition to those, which I haven’t experienced yet and would not want to, are the following: bleeding when passing, coated tongue, foul breath, loss of appetite, headache, dizziness, dark circles under the eyes, depression, nausea, pimples on the face, ulcer in the mouth, constant fullness in the abdomen, diarrhea alternating with constipation, varicose veins, pain in the lumbar region, acidity, heart burn, and insomnia

I have always been constipated.  I have difficulty crapping since I was less than a month old and that persisted through out my adulthood – up to this moment.  I’ve been constipated all my life that most of the times I only past motion every 4-5 days sometimes during its worst period, I poop after a week.   I have been experimenting on the best diets I could go with not only because I want to lose weight but also because I need to regulate my bowel movement.

Let me describe how constipation goes for me.  Let say that I haven’t poop for 5 days, my stomach feels so heavy and tight and painful.  Vomiting the contents of my stomach might be an immediate release.  The only thing is that there’s nothing to vomit. I am feeling nauseated by this time already, It is even worst when I haven’t crap in 7 days.  I feel the contraction inside my stomach and my intestine, squeezing and pushing anything that is inside them.  I sit on the toilet thinking that I am about to “move”.  I sit there for hours, pushing the crap out of my ass with all my strength (imagine the bloodvessels on my face and neck potruding and almost about to burst, and the beating of my heart echoing all over the bathroom as I make the push). It’s really painful and difficult and irritating.  Another mighty hard breathtaking push and then 1 or 2 pebble-like hard faecis come out and that’s just it.  Not to mention that the stool has blood on it sometimes and my anus also bleeds and painful.   Annoying isn’t it.  Then I will start to cry because I am so mad, either that or I’m already insane

What is constipation? 

A normal faecal elimination for most adult is from 3 times a day to 3 times a week.  Having bowel movements that is lesser than that means being constipated.   Constipation is considered as a common disturbance of the digestive tract. As medically defined by medicinenet.net,  constipation usually is fewer than three bowel movements per week and a severe constipation is less than one bowel movement per week.  For some constipated people like me, the stool is hard and dry cause it contains less water than normal.  Wikipedia  refers constipation to bowel movements that are infrequent and/or hard to pass and is a common cause of painful defecation. And severe constipation includes obstipation (failure to pass stools or gas) and fecal impaction.

Constipation however is not considered as a disease but a symptom for a graver disease.   Medical doctors do not agree that constipation causes poisoning in the body in contrast to the beliefs of nutritionists and other alternative medicine practinioners.  Such that they believe that when faecal matters stays in the colon for days, they become toxins and these toxins will spread to the bloodstream which later on will be spread to the rest of the cells, tissues and organs in the body which later on may lead to more serious disease/s if it’s not treated.

What causes constipation? 

Causes of constipation vary from one person to person.  Below are some causes in layman’s term according to my internet research and according to doctors I have consulted with my constipation problems.
1) Bad diet:   Constipation can be caused and aggravated  by a low, or  worse, no dietary fiber diet, inadequate liquid intake,improper and irregular eating habits,  intake of refined and rich foods lack in vitamins and minerals, too much consumption of red meat, immoderate intake of coffee, and of course overeating without properly chewing the food.

2) Medication : Many medications have constipation as a side effect. Some include: analgesics, opioids (e.g. common codeine pain killers), diuretics, antidepressants, antihistamines, antispasmodics, anticonvulsants, beta-blockers pain-killers, iron and calcium supplemet, and aluminum antacids (source:  wikipedia & healthscout.com)

3 ) Diseases and conditions : IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and other diseases of the stomach, colon causes constipation.  Other diseases and medical conditions  that tend to slow down the movement of the feces through the colon, rectum, or anus are more likely to cause constipation. They include the following: hypercalcemia, hypothyroidism, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, parkinsons, colon cancer, anal fissures, protitis, pelvic problems, Systemic diseases that affect organs and tissues, and cancers  (source:  medicalnewstoday.com)

4) Sedentary lifestyle:  the lack of physical activity causes constipation
5) Psychological:  emotional stress and strain causes constipation.  Similarly that withholding of the stool by not pooping when one feel the urge to.  For me, I cannot crap in public toilets well for some psychological reasons maybe.   For most of those working people, they are too busy to go to the toilet and some are just plainly lazy.

6) Excessive use of laxative :  Continual use of laxatives can be one of the leading causes of constipation. Laxatives can be habit forming. With prolonged use, the colon can become dependent upon the laxative for evacuation. When the colon has been exposed to laxatives and stool softeners for a long time and then it does not get an expected dose, constipation can occur  (source: newcolonsweep.com)

As I am researching on this topic, I have found out what is/are causing my constipation and those are bad diet, medication, and excessive use of laxative. I have no illnesses or disease that I currently am aware of that might be causing my constipation.  Well, except for the occassional allergies and gastritis that I have.  I remember when I had a corrosive gatritis 4 years ago (i went through endoscopy) and I didn’t poop for like 9 days.  I have consulted another gastroenterologist (a doctor specialized in the digestive health) and told him about my predicament specially the bowel movement part and he prescribed another set of medicines for me to take and told me to trash the maalox as it was causing my constipation.

I am having constipation though it’s true that I drink lots of water (at least 3 liters a day), my eating habits are irregular with too much consumption of fatty pork and oily foods, processed foods that are usually empty calories, and less consumption of vegetables and fruits.  I am also in constant intake of antibiotics and anti-histamines.  Excessive use of laxative? Yep. Guilty as charged.

I have tried different laxative from drugs to herbal supplements and teas.  Some work, some don’t, some work only once and twice after which it wouldn’t.  A few years ago I became hooked on laxative that I can no longer poop without it.  It became a habit that I’d become too dependent on them which worsens my constipation.  I usually have to up the dose for the laxative to be effective. I also alternately use laxative tablets (dulcolax), laxative rectal suppositories (dulcolax and other brands), laxative teas (kankunis brand tea have been effective for me when I increase the dose to 2-3 teabags, it contains dried senna leaves which is a known laxative), laxative herbal medicines (senokot which also contains senna and other ingredients), just to make me crap.

Why am I writing this?

For personal reasons of course.  When I want to solve a problem I have  to research about it and write about it and save it so that in the future I could refer back to it.  The objective is for me to know what is causing this/these problem/s, in this case my constipation, and how can I solve it or find ways that offer even just a short relief.   I thinks next time I need to search about how to get diarrhea
Well, I have to cut this short for now.  I will continue writing about battling constipation, may be tomorrow or next week of next month. I need to search first on how to treat and remedy constipation.  thinking about it I need to check what is causing diarrhea.  The answer to it might be the solution to my constipation.  Who knows?

(sources  google, easyhomeremedy.com, medicinenet.net, Wikipedia, health-cares.net, ucsfhealth.org, emedicinehealth.com, medicalnewstoday.com)

- Sharosem(26December2010)

Ooops for those who are interested to know what type of stool you crap out of your system, take a look at Bristol Stool Chart.  It’s fascinating …

Bristol Stool Scale (source:  Wikipedia)



The Bristol Stool Scale or Bristol Stool Chart (source: wikipedia .org )  is a medical aid designed to classify the form of human faeces into seven categories. Sometimes referred to in the UK as the “Meyers Scale”, it was developed by Dr Ken Heaton at the University of Bristol and was first published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology in 1997.[1] The form of the stool depends largely on the time it spends in the colon (though there may be other contributing factors, including diet and illness).

The seven types of stool are:
  • Type 1: Separate hard lumps, like nuts (hard to pass)
  • Type 2: Sausage-shaped, but lumpy
  • Type 3: Like a sausage but with cracks on its surface
  • Type 4: Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft
  • Type 5: Soft blobs with clear cut edges (passed easily)
  • Type 6: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool
  • Type 7: Watery, no solid pieces. Entirely liquid
Types 1 and 2 indicate constipation, with 3 and 4 being the “ideal stools” especially the latter, as they are the easiest to defecate, and 5–7 tending towards diarrhea.
The Bristol Stool Scale or Bristol Stool Chart (source: wikipedia .org )  is a medical aid designed to classify the form of human faeces into seven categories. Sometimes referred to in the UK as the “Meyers Scale”, it was developed by Dr Ken Heaton at the University of Bristol and was first published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology in 1997.[1] The form of the stool depends largely on the time it spends in the colon (though there may be other contributing factors, including diet and illness).
The seven types of stool are:
  • Type 1: Separate hard lumps, like nuts (hard to pass)
  • Type 2: Sausage-shaped, but lumpy
  • Type 3: Like a sausage but with cracks on its surface
  • Type 4: Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft
  • Type 5: Soft blobs with clear cut edges (passed easily)
  • Type 6: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool
  • Type 7: Watery, no solid pieces. Entirely liquid
Types 1 and 2 indicate constipation, with 3 and 4 being the “ideal stools” especially the latter, as they are the easiest to defecate, and 5–7 tending towards diarrhea.

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