Constipation occurs when the bowel movements are hard to pass or become infrequent. The stool is often described to be hard and dry. Other possible associated symptoms of constipation include abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, abdominal cramps, and the feeling where one has not completely passed the bowel movement. Constipation can also lead to complications such as anal fissure, hemorrhoids, fecal impaction, and more. In adults, the normal frequency of bowel movements ranges from three a day to three a week.
This is more often in babies and younger children. In babies, the normal amount of bowel movement is approximately three to four a day while in young children, it is usually two to three bowel movements a day. Constipation can be caused by various conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, slow movement of stool in the large intestine, hypothyroidism, pelvic floor disorders, celiac disease, Parkinson’s disease, colon cancer, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, and many more. It can also be due to the side effect of medications such as antacids, opioids, anticholinergics, and calcium channel blockers. As many as 90 percent of patients on opioids experience constipation. If it is associated with blood in the stool, anemia, weight loss, history of colon cancer in the family, or of new onset in an older individual, constipation may be of more concern.
The treatment and management of constipation ultimately depends on the cause and duration of constipation. Laxatives such as osmotic agents, bulk forming agents, stool softener, or lubricant can be beneficial. The rate of constipation is estimated to be 2 to 30 percent among the general population. The prevalence is higher among the elderly especially those in a care home with rates ranging from 50 to 75 percent. In the United States, it is estimated that more than $250 million is spent on medications for constipation annually.
Constipation Home Remedy #1: Plenty of Water
Not drinking enough water can result in dehydration which leads to constipation. This is why it is important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Carbonated water can also be beneficial in helping one rehydrate. This is seen in several studies which found that sparkling water may be more effective compared to normal water when it comes to relieving constipation.
It is also beneficial for those with irritable bowel syndrome or chronic idiopathic constipation. However, it should be noted that carbonated drinks such as soda are a bad choice and can worsen constipation.