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Why Being Constipated Shouldn't Be Taken Lightly

Lakshmi Devan
2 min read

Why Being Constipated Shouldn't Be Taken Lightly

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Don’t make the mistake of ever thinking that you’re too good for constipation. It can happen to anyone, sometimes even if you eat well and exercise amply. Constipation can be a sign of an underlying disease, and hence, you wouldn’t want to take it lightly.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a kingdom – as prosperous as spring, where the sky and the sea were together turquoise, the grass and parrots green alike, where birds would sing of harmony, and where no living being ever went hungry. It was ruled by a king who had constipation all year round. 

Eww, not the kind of story you expected, right? Hey, anyone can have constipation! 

And on that note, I’m going to put a stop to the story and let constipation take over.

Constipation refers to bowel movements that are infrequent or hard to pass. It usually isn’t much to worry about, and simple dietary and lifestyle changes should provide immediate relief. However, chronic constipation, i.e., constipation that lasts over two weeks, may be a symptom of other diseases and may require consultation with a physician. 

What causes constipation?

  • Antacid medicines containing calcium or aluminum, narcotics, antidepressants, or iron pills
  • Changes in your usual diet or activities
  • Colon cancer
  • Eating a lot of dairy products
  • Eating disorders
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Neurological conditions such as Parkinson's or multiple sclerosis
  • Not being physically active, stress, insufficient water intake
  • Problems with the nerves and the muscles in the digestive system
  • Resisting the urge to have a bowel movement, which some people do because of hemorrhoids

Chronic constipation can be a manifestation of diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, depression, anal fissure, bowel obstruction, colon cancer, narrowing of the colon (bowel stricture), and other abdominal cancers that press on the colon. Several neurological and muscular degenerative diseases affect the bowel movements and cause constipation as well. 

So now you know why constipation should not be taken lightly. But at the same time, constipation itself does not pose any grim threat and can be managed by conservative methods. Your doctor will probably start treatment by recommending more fibre or bulk in your diet. However, over-the-counter laxatives should be avoided. Your doctor will probably also encourage you to take out adequate time for evacuating your bowel each morning, and increase exercise.

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