What is constipation?
First we must consider what is considered a normal bowel movement: one to three times a day.
Therefore, constipations is defined as passing three of less bowel movements per week, with scarce, hard and dry feces. According to studies, the prevalence of constripation is between 20 to 40% of the population. It occurs are frequently in women, people living a sedentary life, with a diet low on fluids and fiber.
Constipation is not a disease, but a symptom that can be a consequence of a variety of clinical scenarios. We will distinguish between secondary chronic constipation or primary functional constipation.
Chronic secondary constipation: It is considered a consequence of a variety of situations that affect the normal structure or function of the small intestine. Some of the causes are: narrowing of the intestine, colon or rectal cancer, alterations in the distribution of blood vessels as in ischemic colitis, anal fissures, complicated hemorrhoids, rectal prolapse. There are medications that can cause constipation as a side effect such as benzodiazepine, antihypertensive as are calcium antagonists, diuretics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s), analgesics, and anti-acids.
Chronic constipation due to metabolic and endocrine alterations: diabetes mellitus, hypo-thyroidism, uermia, and hypomagnsia.
Chronic constipation due to neurologic diseases: Parkinson’s disease, traumas, dementia, ictus, depressive syndrome, brain tumors, and multiple sclerosis.
Primary functional constipation: Constipation which is not associated with colon lesions, neurological diseases, metabolic disease, or medications.
What are the symptoms?
The mains symptom is difficulty to defecate due to the absence of bowel movements, as well as the sensation of bloating.
What are the complications associated with constipation?
The symptoms exist as a result of persisting constipation and the repetitive strain at the time of defecation, including:
- -Anal fissure
- -Retrocele, or the protrusion of the intestinal wall toward the vagina
- -Rectal prolapse
- -Perianal damage
Are there symptoms to be alarmed of?
In the case of experiencing constipation it is important to identify alarming symptoms that can point to a serious disease and seek medical help for additional evaluations. Alarming symptoms can include:
- -Sudden case of constipation after the age of 50
- -Weight loss
- -No reaction to laxatives
- -Blood in feces
- -History of colorectal cancer