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Constipation which is a symptom is defined as having a bowel movement fewer than three (3) times per week. Constipation is also referred to as irregularity of bowels or lack of regular bowel movements. With constipation, stools are usually hard, dry, small in size and difficult to eliminate. Some people who are constipated find it painful to have a bowel movement and often experience straining, bloating and the sensation of a full bowel. Almost everyone experiences constipation at some point in their life and a poor diet typically is the cause.

Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints in the United States. More than 4 million Americans have frequent constipation accounting for 2.5 million physician visits a year. Those reporting constipation most often are women and adults ages 65 and older. Pregnant women may have constipation and it is a common problem following childbirth or surgery. Self-treatment of constipation with over-the-counter laxatives is by far the most common aid. Around $725 million is spent on laxative products each year in America.

The colon which is the final part of the digestive tract extending from the cecum to the anus. The colon is approximately 5 to 6 feet long and has an average diameter of 2.5 inches. It is where the fecal waste goes before it leaves the body. The colon has been referred to as the sewer system of the body. It is the place where we store the waste material that most of us would rather not think about. When the colon is clean and working properly we feel great. However, let it stagnate and it can distill the toxins of decay, fermentation and putrefaction into the blood.

The colon (large intestine) absorbs water while forming waste products stool) from digested food. Muscle contractions in the colon (peristalsis) push the stool toward the rectum. By the time the stool reaches the rectum, it is solid because most of the water has been absorbed. When too much water has been absorbed, hard, dry stools occur.

                                              CAUSES OF CONSTIPATION;

1.      Not Drinking Enough Water.

2.      Lack Of Eating Fiber Rich Foods.

3.      Lack Of Exercise.

4.      Delays In Going To The Bathroom When There Is An Urge To Defecate.

5.      Hypothyroidism.

6.      Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

7.      Side Effects Of Medication (Especially the abuse of laxatives).

8.      Neurological Disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis & Spinal Cord Injuries.

9.      Metabolic & Endocrine Conditions such as Diabetes and Uremia.

10.  Systemic Disorders such as Lupus and Scleroderma.

                                   CONSTIPATION CAN LEAD TO THE FOLLOWING;

1.      Bleeding and the Development of an Anal Fissure.

2.      Bowel Obstruction.

3.      Chronic Constipation.

4.      Hemorrhoids (Dilated veins in swollen tissue around the anus).

5.      Hernia (Protrusion of an organ through a tear in the muscle wall).

6.      Laxative Dependency.

7.      Spastic Colitis (Irritable bowel syndrome – alternating diarrhea and constipation).

8.      Tearing of the Mucosal Membrane of the Anus (Especially in children).

                                CHRONIC CONSTIPATION MAY BE A SYMPTOM OF;

1.      Colorectal Cancer.

2.      Depression.

3.      Diabetes.

4.      Diverticulosis (Small pouches in the muscles of the large intestine).

5.      Lead Poisoning.

6.      Parkinson’s Disease (In adults).

7.      Toilet Training (Infants).


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