Constipation refers to a decrease in the frequency of bowel movements. For some people, it may mean difficulty in passing stools. A constipated stool is hard because it contains less water than normal. Constipation is a symptom, not a disease.
Constipation also can alternate with diarrhea. This pattern commonly occurs as part of the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). At the extreme end of the constipation spectrum is fecal impaction, a condition in which stool hardens in the rectum and prevents the passage of any stool.
The number of bowel movements generally decreases with age. Ninety-five percent of adults have bowel movements between three and 21 times per week, and this would be considered normal. The most frequent pattern is one bowel movement a day, but this model is seen in less than 50% of people. Moreover, most people are irregular and do not have bowel movements every day or the same number of bowel movements each day.
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is also known as irritable or spastic colon, and there is no real understanding of why it exists, but that seems to occur when the muscles that line the walls of the intestine and the colon, go into spasm. The muscles contract for no apparent reason, causing pain and diarrhea alternating with constipation. Other symptoms include a cramping pain in abdomen, bloating, malaise and lethargy, back pain and, often, excessive wind. Symptoms may diminish and even disappear for long periods of time, but many patients continue to experience symptoms recurrently throughout their lives. It is a chronic, annoying and uncomfortable condition, but is not life threatening and the symptoms can be reduced, in many cases for appropriate treatment.
It is estimated that about 30 percent of people in the West has suffered from IBS at some stage, and 13 percent of people do it regularly.
IBS seems to be brought on and exacerbated by anxiety, stress, and nervous problems. Symptoms often appear worse during menstruation. Other factors include food intolerance.
Orthodox medical treatment has been largely unsuccessful in the treatment of IBS. Antispasmodic drugs are often recommended, but in many cases, they are ineffective. The best ways to control the disease is through the reduction and learn to cope with stress, and eating a diet that does not exacerbate the condition.
Alternative Treatment: a.††† Diet and Nutrition study shows that eating more fiber in the form of oats, dried beans, peas, fruits and vegetables can greatly reduce the symptoms of IBS, but improvement may take months, not weeks. Also, keep in mind that wheat bran, often prescribed as the standard treatment for IBS, can actually make the condition worse for some patients. Eat plenty of natural resources, live unsweetened yogurt or taking daily supplements to increase levels of healthy bacteria in the digestive system. b.††† Different combinations of foods can cause symptoms in different individuals IBS: keep a detailed record of everything you eat and drink, and all bowel movements and their consistency. c.††† Avoid intake of medications that may cause constipation. d.††† Eat a well-balanced diet that includes wheat grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Recent evidence suggests that increasing dietary fiber intake may help some people with hard stools but is not necessarily of benefit to every person with constipation. e.††† Drink plenty of water and fruit juice. f.††† Exercise regularly. Walking is especially important. g.††† Massage, Relaxation Techniques (Including Yoga, Meditation) all these therapies are beneficial. A soothing herbal tea of chamomile, mint, fennel and is recommended. Herbalists may prescribe cramp bark, golden seal, wild yam, and drink. h.††† Aromatherapy- Essential oils of peppermint or sassafras relaxation and help reduce painful spasms. i.††† Acupuncture this can be beneficial to help relieve IBS.
Treatment may be difficult, particularly in those with chronic constipation. Increased activity in the elderly and regular exercise in younger people will help.
By adrianna smith
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