Chronic constipation is a condition that is hard to pin down because there is no absolute number that represents how many days should pass in between movements. Normal bowel movements may occur a couple of times a day for some of us while it may two to three days for others. We should all know when a bowel movement is late but this in and of itself is no cause for alarm. However, when chronic constipation strikes, we may find ourselves with severe abdominal and/or lower back pain for days on end and the potential for serious health problems.
Growths and a narrowing of the colon are the primary anatomic reasons for chronic constipation. It is possible to treat both conditions but a doctor must first narrow the diagnosis as each requires a specialized treatment. The easiest method for determining whether or not an anatomical cause is at the root of chronic constipation is to perform a digital examination. The examination is performed on the anorectal area and will help determine if it is a growth or narrowing of the colon causing the problem. However, should the digital examination fail to find growths or a narrowing of the colon, the intestines then be examined as a potential cause of the chronic constipation.
Commonly referred to as a “lower GI”, a doctor will use a lighted probe to investigate the intestines themselves in search of more serious potential causes for the chronic constipation. Some potential causes within the intestines are: polyps, tumors, or evidence of some diverticular disease. If nothing is found, the doctor will begin investigating potential functional causes of chronic constipation.
The bowel movements themselves are what the doctor is concerned with when trying to find functional causes of chronic constipation. In particular, the doctor will be investigating the actual body parts responsible for bowel movements like the anus, rectum, and intestines.
To see if the muscles of the intestines are in working order a doctor will typically order a marker study. In this procedure, patients are given pills to swallow filled with special chemical markers that pass through your body and can be monitored by special machines. The marker will be monitored as it passes through the intestines, anus, and rectum. normally.
It is not uncommon for physicians to find no anatomical or functional problems as the source of the chronic constipation. Oftentimes, it is improper nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle, and dehydration that are the true causes and cannot be remedied with a quick fix. A diet rich in fiber, even if in supplement form, will help stop infrequent bowel movements along with proper hydration and exercise.
In the case of acute or severe constipation, a blockage may be the cause. While laxatives will often get the system moving again, they often use stimulants that can dehydrate the body and potentially become habit forming. Colon cleansers are an excellent way to clear away blockages and clean the gastrointestinal tract. Be sure to use colon cleansers made with all natural ingredients as those made with harsh chemicals may cause dehydration or other side effects. By eating a diet rich in fiber and maintaining a healthy lifestyle while using a colon cleanser made with all natural ingredients at regular intervals, you can prevent chronic constipation in most cases.
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