What is chronic constipation
An irregular or difficult bowel movement that lasts for many weeks at a time is termed as chronic constipation. Constipation is a common condition and diagnosed as such when bowel movements are confined to one or two a week.
When the condition lasts for weeks on end, it is chronic and may require treatment. Chronic constipation treatment can depend on the cause of the condition.
There are many symptoms of chronic constipation. Constipation treatment for a chronic condition may be necessary if you experience these symptoms for at least three months.
- Having only one or two bowel movements in a week’s time.
- Having hard stools.
- Needing to strain to pass stools.
- Feeling of incomplete bowel evacuation.
- Having difficulty in passing stools.
Chronic constipation can occur due to many reasons. Treatment of constipation is possible only in diagnosing and understanding the cause for the same.
- Rectum or colon blockages can cause chronic constipation. These can occur due to colon cancer, anal fissures, rectal cancer, bowel stricture (colon becoming narrow), rectocele (bulge in the rectum through vagina’s back wall) and bowel obstruction.
- Hormonal imbalance caused by diabetes, thyroid problems and pregnancy can lead to chronic constipation. In the case of pregnancy, chronic constipation treatment may not be necessary as the symptoms may ease after delivery.
- Neurological problems can affect the nerves in the rectum and the colon. This can cause constipation. These nerve-related problems can be a stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal injuries, Parkinson’s disease, etc. In such cases, treatment for constipation will be to treat or manage the specific nerve conditions affecting normal bowel movements.
Chronic constipation treatment often begins with dietary and lifestyle modifications.
- Eating more fiber and fresh foods.
- Doing moderate to intense physical activities depending on a person’s health.
- Drinking sufficient water to keep intestines healthy.
- Using laxatives for smooth or easier bowel movements.
- Doing pelvic floor exercises (Kegel exercises).
If the symptoms do not improve, the doctor may prescribe medicines to help with bowel movement. Surgery is the last option for chronic constipation treatment.