At some point in our lives, many of us will suffer from constipation symptoms occasionally. Diet, a disruption to your normal lifestyle, medications - all these factors can be causes of constipation and can often be easily explained and treated.
However, you should never ignore severe constipation because it indicates that there may be something wrong with your digestive system and it will cause serious medical complications if left untreated for too long.
A major problem with severe constipation simply comes down to the amount of faeces being held in your system. If stools become impacted and heavy they stretch the colon, causing damage to the colon and the anal canal and cause haemorrhoids as you strain to open your bowels. More seriously, constipation can lead to infection and potentially life threatening illness.
Constipation symptoms can be extremely painful and frightening and the problem with taking over the counter constipation remedies, such as laxatives is that they do not address the reason of why you are suffering from this problem.
It is true that as we age we tend to suffer from constipation more frequently. In addition, lack of exercise, insufficient fibre in the diet and simply not drinking enough water will make it worse.
Severe constipation can be extremely dangerous so if you have gone more than a few days without opening your bowels naturally you should consider seeking medical advice. If you are caring for someone, it is crucial that you monitor their bowel movements to ensure they are not suffering from severe constipation without your knowledge.
Talking about this most private function can be embarrassing but ensuring that constipation symptoms do not go untreated is essential for health. If it is a reoccurring problem, it is important to see a specialist because in many cases a GP will just prescribe laxatives in order “to move things along” and this does not always work.
At the very extreme end of the spectrum, we recently heard of an elderly lady who ran into appalling problems because her constipation symptoms were left to go on unnoticed for too long. After suffering from severe abdominal pain and unable go to the toilet, despite taking constipation remedies, she began vomiting faeces.
She was rushed straight into hospital and into intensive care where she was found to be suffering from sepsis – a life threatening infection caused by faecal bacteria. She had to have large part of her colon removed and a colostomy bag fitted.
The frustrating part about this extremely horrible true life story is that had this elderly lady’s constipation symptoms been noticed earlier and she had received the correct treatment for constipation, this distressing experience could have been entirely prevented.