CONSTIPATION

CONSTIPATION

It means hardening of stools, resulting in difficult evacuation of the intestinal contents. This results in distension and infrequent or difficult passing of the faeces. The stools may sometimes be accompanied by blood loss.

Defecation takes place normally within 12-72 hours after the intake of food but for some individuals elimination every second or third day is normal. It is important to maintain regularity of elimination according to what the individual is used to.

Causes

  1. Lack of sleep and rest

  2. Irregular eating and elimination habits

  3. Faulty dietary habits such as including more refined and concentrated foods and lack of high fiber foods.

  4. Excessive use of laxatives

  5. Poor muscle tone

  6. Underlying disease

  7. Ingestion of certain drugs, large amounts of sedatives

  8. Intestinal spasms due to presence of irritating material, psychological influences etc.

  9. Change in surroundings

Dietary management

  • Requirements of various nutrients are not altered. It is essentially a normal diet with modifications in fluid and fiber intake.

  • This is based on increasing the intestinal bulk by increasing the fiber content of the diet. This can be achieved by including plenty of raw green vegetables and fruits.

  • Bran as found in whole grain cereals and pulses are also helpful.

  • All refined cereals should be substituted with their wholesome counterparts. Fat containing foods are useful for some because of their lubricating effect and stimulating action of the fatty acids on the mucous membrane.

  • Drink plenty of fluids as it helps in softening the stools. An intake of 8-10 glasses of water or fluids in a day is advisable.

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