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Article: Constipation | Constipation Supplements | Digestive Problem

Constipation | Constipation Supplements | Digestive Problem

Constipation 

Author:

Dr. Veena Deo.

Constipation

The abnormally delayed or infrequent passage of dry hardened faeces. This condition is relieved by laxatives, which are of two types. Certain herbs having laxative properties help by adding to the bulk. These herbs or laxatives are rich in fibre and mucilage. Certain other laxatives stimulate the contraction of the bowels. One must use small amounts of these laxatives and use them occasionally.

In constipation, patients may complain of straining, a sensation of incomplete evacuation, and either perianal or abdominal discomfort. It may be the end result of many gastrointestinal and other medical disorders. The frequency of bowel action may vary from person to person. Constipation is a subjective complaint. Sometimes, patients may feel constipated when they experience that they have not adequately emptied their bowel by defecation.

Causes:  Stress, absence of green vegetables in adequate quantity and fruits in the diet, regular abdominal pain, hyperacidity, high blood pressure, headache, insufficient time given for passing stools, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, cancer, and age are all factors that could create constipation.

We can classify it as follows:

Gastrointestinal Disorders:

  • Dietary: Lack of fibre or inadequate fluid intake
  • Mobility: IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
  • Structural: Colonic carcinoma, Diverticular Disease, Hirschsprung’s Disease
  • Defecation: Fissure, Hemorrhoids

Non-Gastrointestinal Disorders:

  • Drugs: Iron supplements, Calcium antagonists, Aluminum-containing antacids
  • Neurological: Multiple sclerosis, Parkinsonism
  • Metabolic/Endocrine: Hypothyroidism, Hypercalcemia, Diabetes Mellitus, Pregnancy
  • Others: Depression, Stress and Strain, Any type of serious illness in elderly persons

Symptoms: Irregularity and difficulty in passing stools, coated tongue, feeling of heaviness in the stomach, loss of appetite, nausea, discomfort, headache, ulcers in the mouth, and discomfort. The presence of symptoms like rectal bleeding, pain and weight loss, and excessive straining may be suggestive symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and there may be a history of childhood constipation and emotional distress.

Types of Constipation:

Simple Constipation: 

This is a common type of constipation and does not imply underlying organic disease. In this type, inadequate fluid intake and increased Dietary Fiber are necessary to treat it.

Severe Idiopathic Constipation: 

This type usually occurs in young women, in childhood, or adolescence. The cause is unknown, but some have 'slow transit,' which reduces motor activity in the colon. Others have 'obstructed defecation.'

Faecal Impaction:

In faecal impaction, a large hard mass of stool fills the rectum. It occurs in disabled, immobile, or institutionalized patients.

Constipation in Old Age:

Evaluation should pay particular attention to immobility, dietary fluid and fibre intake, drugs, and depression. Immobility predisposes to constipation by increasing the colonic transit time.

Bulking agents should be avoided in patients with slow transit time. Overflow diarrhoea may occur if faecal impaction occurs in the patient, and paradoxical overflow diarrhoea may take place. In such cases, if Antidiarrheal is given, then serious complications may occur.

Some Laxatives are listed below:

  • Bulk Forming: Ispaghula husk
  • Stimulants: Senna
  • Faecal softeners: Arachis oil enema
  • Osmotic laxatives: Magnesium salts
  • Others: Polyethylene glycol (Use only for bowel preparation, prior to investigation or surgery)

Herbs to Treat Constipation:

  • Sannay (Cassia – angustifolia) in large quantity
  • Plums (Prunes, Aloo Bukhara)
  • Grapes (Vitis – vinifera)
  • Triphala churna
  • Papaya
  • Pear
  • Raisins
  • Guava
  • Orange juice
  • Dry ginger and Sannay powder
  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
  • Spinach juice

Natural remedies are always better to relieve constipation and its related problems. Though I have mentioned the quantity of ingredients in some natural home remedies, it is advisable to take the quantity with the consultation of an Ayurvedic Physician.