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Constipation is characterized by uncomfortable, infrequent bowel movements

Symptoms may include painful and difficult bowel movements straining to go, feeling like you can’t completely empty your bowel, feeling bloated, headaches, fatigue, lower gut pain, dry hard stools and having a bowel movement less than three times a week.

What Causes Constipation?

Normally, as food moves through the colon, it absorbs water that it utilizes to form stools. This helps the intestines, through a process called peristalsis, push the stool to the rectum so they can be eliminated Stools become too hard to push through when peristalsis becomes sluggish or slow, due to a lifestyle or medical condition and the colon absorbs too much water.

Some of the most common causes of constipation include a lack of exercise, a lack of liquids, a lack of fiber in the diet, abuse of laxatives and problems with intestinal function. Abusing laxatives or painkillers that contain codeine or morphine can also cause constipation.

Emotional stress can also be a cause of constipation as can traveling, a change of life style or interruptions in your usual eating and elimination schedule.

Constipation is also a symptom of several different conditons including anal fissures, an intestinal blockage and a narrowing of the colon. Addressing thse conditions may help relieve the constipation,

Coping With The Symptoms of Constipation

Constipation may or may not be curable depending on the condition that caused it. Treatment usually begins with diet modifications. A diet that contains twenty to thirty five grams of fiber daily may help in the formation of soft bulky stool. Adding foods such as beans, whole grains, bran, fresh fruits and vegetables can also help add fiber to the diet.

  • Your doctor may also recommend that you get more exercise. Taking a walk for one hour every day can help cure most cases of constipation.
  • If a medication is the cause of the constipation then your doctor may eliminate or change your prescription and non-prescription medications.
  • If emotional stress is the culprit then the person may be advised to eliminate the source of it or to receive psychological or psychiatric help.

Constipation is usually curable within a couple of days. Left untreated it can cause hemmoroids (that are caused by straining to have a bowel movement) or anal fissure (tears in the skin around the anus.)

You are more at risk for constipation if you are older, an older woman, inactive or dehydrated.

Our integrated practice at the Pinewood Natural Health Center has an interest and focus on anti-aging therapies, weight loss, allergy testing, therapeutic massage, homeopathic remedies, herbal remedies, acupuncture and NAET (allergy testing.) Feel free to contact us online. You can also call us at our Toronto Clinic at (416) 556-8100 or at the Pickering Clinic (905) 427-0057.

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