Digestion | July 13, 2014 | Author: The Super Pharmacist
Constipation is a condition that can affect people of all ages. It is classified as having less than three bowel movements per week and stools that are dry, hard and difficult to pass. This condition can lead to painful bowel movements, bloating and overall discomfort.
It is important to note that constipation is not a disease itself, rather a symptom. Constipation is usually a temporary condition, which may be related to poor diet, lack of exercise or insufficient consumption of fluids. However, consultation with medical professionals may be required to rule out any underlying conditions. It is important to avoid over-treating symptoms with the use of laxatives which may cause dependence.
When secondary causes of constipation have been ruled out or treated, simple education can be helpful. Following a few guidelines and understanding good bowel habits can be sufficient to relieve constipation, such as:
Often times, patients will try a number of different non-drug treatments without experiencing any relief from constipation.
The first approach to treating constipation is with bulking agents.
However, this treatment should not be used if there is any impacted faecal matter or bowel obstruction present.
Drinking plenty of water with this type of treatment is very important and you may not see any results for at least two days.
This treatment should only be used for the short-term and under the advice of a medical professional.
Osmotic laxatives like lactulose needs to be taken on a regular basis to experience the maximum effect. Elderly patients with electrolyte imbalances should not use this method of treatment. Like with bulking agents, you may not experience any relief for up to two days.
Stimulant laxatives like senna and bisacodyl are often used in severe cases of constipation where immediate relief is essential. This type of treatment should not be used frequently unless directed by a medical professional. Relief is usually experienced in as little as eight hours. Once the bowel has be completely evacuated, it can take up to three days to refill. Thus, you should avoid using this treatment daily and never during pregnancy.
In some cases, constipation can be a sign of a serious illness. Therefore, the condition should not be ignored. If you experience persistent symptoms without any relief, you should seek immediate medical advice.
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