Constipation is a condition that affects many people at some point in their lives. It can cause significant discomfort due to blockages in the colon and not being able to pass stools regularly. You’re considered to be constipated if you have not passed a stool for more than 3 days or have had bowel movements less than 3 times in a week.
There are many causes of constipation including diet, lack of exercise and some medications. There are ways to alleviate the symptoms and get your bowels moving normally again with some home remedies and medication. Increasing the fibre content in your gut and softening the stools so they can pass through your digestive system easily are the best ways to relieve constipation.
“Constipation is a very common condition and nothing to be embarrassed about. It can cause great discomfort but can easily be relieved with changes to diet, exercise and sometimes medication to help move things along. Most people experience problems with their bowel at some point in their lives, including constipation. Constipation can often be mistaken for IBS so it’s important to get the right diagnosis to get the best treatment. We offer an oral solution known as Fybogel Mebeverine if you are suffering from chronic constipation.”
What is constipation?
Constipation is a common condition that causes difficulty passing stools. When you’re constipated you’re unable to empty your bowel regularly as the stools become too hard and tough to push out. Due to a number of reasons, the stool becomes stuck in the colon for too long which causes dryness of the stool. Normally, your stool will pass through the digestive system and the intestine will absorb some water from the food and impact it into a stool. In constipation, the food moves too slowly through the digestive system meaning too much water is absorbed and as a result, the stool becomes too dry to pass through the rectum.
Many people will experience constipation at some point in their lives or maybe multiple times. For most, constipation is a short term condition that usually resolves quite quickly with some home remedies. This condition does cause discomfort and for some this can be long term and chronic.
Infrequent bowel movements of less than 3 times in a week is considered to be constipation particularly if it’s accompanied with other symptoms such as needing to poo but having difficulty passing a stool.
Short, occasional bouts of constipation is normal, but there can be complications and some people may experience long term constipation. Long term constipation can be a debilitating condition but there are ways of treating both minor and chronic constipation.
What are the symptoms of constipation?
It’s important to remember that everyone’s bowel movements are different, some may go multiple times a day whereas others may be just a few times a week. However, if you haven’t passed a stool for 3 or more days this is a sign there may be a problem, particularly if you have other symptoms. There are some signs and symptoms to look out for which may indicate that you’re constipated. These include:
- Stomach ache or cramps
- Feeling bloated/sick
- Straining to pass a stool
- Passing hard, lumpy or small stools
- Still feeling like you need to poo after passing a stool - there may still be a blockage
- Loss of appetite
- Not being able to completely eliminate the stool from the rectum
Is it constipation or something more serious?
Generally, any changes to your bowel habits and movements should be monitored and checked by a GP if it’s ongoing and causing you discomfort. Many digestive problems including constipation are mistaken for IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) as the symptoms can be similar. However, if you’ve not passed a stool for a long period of time this may be a sure sign of long term constipation which needs to be treated to avoid complications. Any changes in bowel movements can also be a symptom of cancers such as colon or bowel cancer. If you’re having persistent bowel problems you should certainly see your GP to rule out any serious conditions, but more often than not these symptoms are caused by constipation or IBS.
What are the causes of constipation?
It can be difficult to know why stools sometimes don’t pass through normally and get stuck in the colon, but in most cases constipation is caused by diet and lifestyle. Not eating enough fibre or not drinking enough fluids can cause constipation. Fibre makes stools softer by retaining more water in the feces and adds bulk to the feces which allows it to travel through the colon smoother and faster. A diet high in fibre will significantly reduce the occurence of constipation.
Constipation can also be brought on by being inactive. Exercise can help speed up the digestive process to a normal level and make the bowels move more regularly. Lack of exercise is one of the leading causes of constipation.
It’s vital that you listen to what your body is telling you, and you must relieve yourself as soon as you need to go. Ignoring the urge to go to the toilet can also cause constipation. Before the stool is eliminated it is stored in the rectum, and when the rectum is full this is when you will feel the urge to release it. The longer a stool is held in the rectum the harder it will become which makes passing it more difficult.
Stress, anxiety and depression has also been linked to digestive problems. The nervous system can often be in sync with the digestive system, so when you’re feeling stressed or anxious you’ll also feel sick or have cramps/aches in your stomach, and constipation. Likewise, constipation can also cause of lot of stress and anxiety, so the two are interlinked.
Some drugs and medications can also disrupt bowel movements and cause constipation. If you’ve developed constipation after starting any of the following medications you should consult your GP to see if it can be changed or altered. Medications which may cause constipation include:
- Aluminium antacids for indigestion
- Blood pressure tablets
- Iron supplements
- Opiate painkillers
- Epilepsy medication
- Blood pressure medication
How to treat constipation
There are a number of things you can do at home to help relieve the symptoms of constipation. Your bowel movements and the health of your bowel all comes down to having a healthy, balanced diet and being active. If your current diet is causing you bowel problems such as constipation you should consider changing it and including plenty of fibre. You can get fibre from whole grains found in cereals and bread, fruit and veg, and beans. Increasing your daily intake of fibre will significantly improve your bowel movements.
As stated earlier, lack of exercise is one of the biggest causes of constipation. Being active helps to regulate your digestion at a normal speed allowing you to go to the toilet more regularly and easily. Exercise daily to get your bowels moving throughout the day and drink plenty of water to avoid constipation.
It’s vital that you have a good toilet routine and that you go at a regular time, when you need to (do not delay going to the toilet, go when you feel the urge). You should also allow plenty of time to relieve yourself to make sure your bowels are fully emptied and you feel comfortable.
These are simple ways of treating constipation and improving your overall general health. However, if the above remedies are not relieving your constipation there is medical treatment available. Fybogel Mebeverine is a medicated treatment for constipation in the form of a drinkable powdered solution. The powder is mixed with water and is usually taken twice a day. Fybogel Mebeverine contains both ispaghula husk and mebeverine hydrochloride which work to boost fibre in the gut and relieve pain by relaxing the muscles in the gut.
Can you buy Fybogel Mebeverine online?
Doctor-4-U makes it more convenient and less embarrassing to get treatment for constipation. You can order this medication from the comfort of your home and have it by the following day as long as you have been deemed suitable by our online doctors. Simply fill out an online medical consultation form and provide necessary details which will be reviewed by our GMC (General Medical Council) registered doctors and your medication will be dispensed by our UK-based pharmacy.