Constipation, headache and indigestion are perhaps three of the most widespread bodily conditions that afflict quite a few few of us almost on routine basis. These are rather persistent conditions, usually taken fairly lightly by us – most of us prefer resorting to OTC or home remedies for the purpose. And, that surely doesn’t grant us any longer lasting relief. More often than not, constipation can may be due to some degree of dehydration, rich, processed food – lacking dietary fiber, irregular meal times, scant physical activity, or may even be traceable to the side effects of a variety of medications. Constipation occurs when bowel movements become irregular and/or less frequent and stools become difficult to pass, or, there may not be any urge to empty the bowels, or the bowels aren’t really completely emptied in just one go.
In case of chronic diabetes gastro-intestinal movements can be affected owing to autonomic neuropathy, resulting in some degree of gastro-paresis – making the peristaltic movements sluggish, and the subject(s) consequently suffer from constipation. Hypertension and edematous patients are often prescribed water-pills (diuretics) resulting in varying degrees of dehydration – causing varying degrees of constipation. Similarly, very many tranquilizers/sedatives result in much decrease in muscle tone, resulting in constipation, especially if such drug therapy is continued for longer term.
Overstraining while attempting to empty bowels may at times result in fissures and hemorrhagic piles, both quite painful inflammatory conditions. Topical anti inflammatory agents (steroids) are often used to counter such a conditions, and at times surgery may be resorted to to remove the painful hemorrhoids – which are swollen, enlarged veins that form inside and outside the anus and rectum. They can be painful, uncomfortable and cause rectal bleeding. Bleeding-hemorrhoids condition is called as piles. We’re all born with hemorrhoids, but unless overly inflamed and strained, they don’t really bother us.
Chronic constipation may often result in fecal impaction – a condition denoting a large, hard mass of stool that gets stuck so badly in the colon or rectum that the subject just can’t push it out. This problem can be very severe. It can cause grave illness or even death if it’s not treated. It’s more common among older adults who have bowel problems. Use of routine anti-constipation drug therapy is usually not advisable in such a condition.
The usual drug therapy (other than water-cleansing of the rectum through enema) comprises stool-softeners, drugs that extract water osmotically from rectal wall to lubricate the anal passage, drugs that intensify the movements of the rectal musculature, and some direct lubricants like petroleum jelly, glycerin and castor oil etc.