Coping With Chronic Constipation

Chronic constipation is no walk in the park, and neither are hemorrhoids that develop because of the condition. How much do you know about constipation and what can you do to prevent it and hemorrhoids? Read on if you want to know more.

Constipation means having less than two to three bowel movements per week.

False. Constipation means different things to different people as regular bowel movements vary from person to person. For some, being constipated means having infrequent bowel movements for weeks at a time. For others, it means having to strain to pass a stool or feeling the need to have a bowel movement but being unable to do so.  No matter what constipation means to you, it can increase your risk of developing hemorrhoids, swollen and inflamed veins in or near the anus or rectum.

Few people suffer from chronic constipation.

False. Chronic constipation affects 15 to 20 percent of the U.S. population.

Chronic constipation gets worse with age.

True. As we age, we tend to lead lives that are more sedentary, eat less food and drink less water, which all increase the risk for constipation and hemorrhoids.

Chronic constipation may be a sign of something more serious.

True. If you experience chronic constipation for more than two weeks, severe diarrhea, bloody diarrhea or black or tar-colored stools, it could be a sign of a viral or bacterial infection, an obstruction, inflammatory bowel disease or even colon cancer.

Preventing chronic constipation

  1. Try going to the bathroom at the same time every morning as colonic motor activity is at its peak in the morning hours.
  2. Don’t ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. Peristalsis of the bowel (muscle movements that spur movement of bowels) comes and goes, so if you ignore the urge, you may have missed your chance.
  3. Stay well hydrated to promote the formation of soft stools that pass easily.
  4. Increase your fiber intake to add bulk to stools and increase the rate of movement.

If none of these measures work, you might want to consider scheduling a colonoscopy to make sure nothing else is going on. Chances are these steps will clear up the problem, but it never hurts to get the most information possible when it comes to your digestive health.

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