Constipation is the condition when you are unable to pass stool or your bowel movements are tougher than normal. Almost in some part of life, everyone faces his problem. In general cases, the bowel movement varies from person to person. Some pass bowel three times or some pass once in a day. However, if you go for 3 days or more without passing a bowel then it’s a problem. After a course of 3 days, the stool becomes hard and is difficult to pass leading to chronic constipation. Some of the signs of constipation include trouble having a bowel movement, very hard stools, swollen belly, nausea, or vomiting.
Causes of Constipation
- Antacid medicines comprising calcium or aluminium
- Changes in the usual diet
- Colon cancer
- Consuming excessive dairy products
- Eating disorders
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis
- Low physical activity
- Lack of fibre in the diet
- Overuse of laxatives
- Improper functioning of nerves and muscles of the digestive system
- Medication like narcotics, antidepressants, or iron pills
- Underactive thyroid
- Very painful stomach cramps
- Blood in your faces
Diseases caused by Chronic constipation
Constipation itself is uneasy, discomforting, and painful. If constipation lasts for a short time then it causes short time effects like bloating, abdominal pain, small amounts of blood while passing motion, whitish mucus in the stool, and urgency to pass the bowel. However, constipation that lasts for a longer time may cause more serious and harmful effects. Chronic constipation is a condition when one does not pass a motion for more than seven days and requires immediate attention. Chronic, long-term constipation produces the below mentioned harmful effects:
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lowest part of the rectum and anus. Constant chronic constipation is the most common cause of it. The walls of these blood vessels stretch and become so thin that the veins bulge and get irritated. The irritation is most when passing the stool. The condition is also known as “varicose veins of the anus and rectum.” It is the pressure from the stool that impedes the outflow of blood from the veins in the anus and the rectum, causing them to become abnormally distended. When a person has constipated the pressure on the bowel movement is more which further distends up the veins and pushes them outside their usual site. Hemorrhoids can be internal inside the rectum and now hurting or externally under the skin around the anus having pain-sensing nerves which hurt and bleed as well.
2. Rectal Prolapse
Rectal prolapse occurs when the rectum becomes stretched with a chronic accumulation of huge amounts of stool and even losses its capability to contract to its former size after the stool is passed out. The loosened tissue falls out of the body and protrudes through the anus as a small, pink mass or bubble. The signs of this are small amounts of stool and mucus, the sensation of incomplete defecation, itching, pain, and/or bleeding.
3. Anal Fissures
An anal fissure is a small tear or cracks in the lining of the anus. It occurs when the stool is large or hard. The hard stool can be due to chronic constipation, straining during childbirth, or experiencing bouts of diarrhea. The fissures cause pain and bleeding during and after the stool accompanied by itching and burning in the anal area. The condition goes away on its own with six weeks. But, in many cases, they become infected, resulting in a collection of pus known as an abscess, which requires surgical drainage. In rare cases when the anal fissures is not healing on their own for a longer time than an anal fissure surgery is required.
The surgery is done in many ways. One technique is Lateral internal sphincterotomy, in which a small cut is made in the internal anal sphincter muscle to relax it. The second is Fissurectomy, it is performed in case of incontinence, diabetes, or irritable bowel syndrome. In this, all damaged skin around the anal fissure is removed. The third is Advancement flaps, in this, the broken skin is replaced with healthy skin from the anal lining.
4. Faecal Impaction
A fecal impaction is a solid, immobile bulk of human feces developed in the rectum due to severe chronic constipation. A large volume of stool gets accumulated in the rectum and can be of any consistency. The hardened stool gets stuck in the intestines. The signs and symptoms of this condition include fecal incontinence, paradoxical or overflow diarrhea as liquid stool passes around the obstruction. In some cases, it may include necrosis and ulcers of the rectal tissue. When the condition becomes severe abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and bloating can also occur.