Constipation is really common, though nobody likes to talk about it. Approx. 10% of the population suffers from the symptoms, with women and older people being more commonly affected. Though there is a medical definition, everyone has their own personal understanding of what they mean by constipation. For example, if you are used to having a bowel movement every day, if you go as long as a day without one, you may feel unpleasant and constipated.
Everyone has their own rhythm of digestion, depending on age and diet. For some people, regular evacuation three times a day is the norm, whereas others feel that three times a week is normal. What counts in each case is your own personal well-being.
Doctors speak of constipation if evacuation occurs less than three times a week.
There are additional symptoms associated with constipation than just infrequent evacuation. These include:
Depending on the course that constipation takes, it can be subdivided into two forms, the acute and the chronic.
Acute constipation tends to be quite sudden and short-lived. The common causes of acute constipation are changes in diet, travel, being bedridden during an illness or after an operation, and hormonal changes during menopause and pregnancy. Even babies can suffer from sudden constipation.
Chronic constipation occurs when the symptoms of constipation appear for longer than three months.
If bowel movements are infrequent or incomplete, the mixture of undigested food and fluid in the intestine becomes denser and denser as water is extracted. The longer this goes on, the more water is extracted and the stool in the rectum hardens and becomes dry. This can lead to feelings of abdominal fullness, flatulence and stomach ache, and evacuation with severe straining can be very painful.
In most cases, constipation is harmless. However, if the symptoms persist for longer than two weeks, you should consult a doctor.
Constipation is usually not dangerous, though it can seriously affect your sense of well-being. Apart from the symptoms described above, the condition can cause psychological problems: feelings of frustration, loss of control and hopelessness.
To find out how you can deal with your constipation quickly and gently just click here.
For information on risks and side effects, read the patient information leaflet and ask your doctor or pharmacist. » Read the Mandatory Product Information here.