Constipation is a medical condition that almost every individual experiences at one point in their life. Given that this is a common condition that can be protracted easily - with certain sources stating that one in five people over the age of 30 experiences constipation at some point or the other - it’s usually just as easy to treat and prevent.


This post examines the best ways to treat and prevent constipation. 


Treatments for constipation


Laxatives
​Laxatives are substances and solutions that loosen stools and increase bowel movements. Used primarily as a treatment for constipation, patients need to seek medical expertise on which laxative to purchase.


Laxatives primarily used for this purpose include fibre supplements, stimulants, which cause the intestine to contract, osmotics, like milk of magnesia that helps fluid move through the colon, lubricants, stool softeners that moisten the stool by drawing water from the intestines, and enemas and suppositories.


Prescription medication

Another way to treat constipation is with a standard prescription. In this event, it’s important that patients share all their previous diagnoses with their doctor, especially if they’ve been previously treated for any gastroenterological condition.


Here, medication may be prescribed that draws water into the intestines, which speeds up stool movement in the digestive system. Medication may also differ based on whether an individual is suffering from chronic constipation or a more temporary bout of this condition.


Training pelvic muscles and surgery

Depending on an individual’s specific symptoms, pelvic muscle training may also be recommended, where certain devices are used to help patients relax and tighten these muscles. Sometimes, a catheter may be inserted into the rectum, while the therapist guides a patient through certain exercises.


Relaxing the pelvic floor muscles during defecation, in particular, allows stools to pass more easily.


If constipation is too severe and other methods don’t work, surgery may be the final treatment option. For those who suffer from the slow movement of stool through the colon, surgically removing a part of the colon may be recommended. In severe cases, removing the entire colon might be necessary, although this is rare.


How to prevent constipation


Dietary changes

One of the best ways to prevent constipation is to make dietary changes, provided your diet isn’t healthy, to begin with.

Relaxing the pelvic floor muscles during defecation, in particular, allows stools to pass more easily.


With constipation, increasing fibre intake is an effective course of action. Fibre increases the weight of stool and speeds its passage through the intestines. A sudden increase of fibre can, however, cause bloating and gas, so it’s important to increase fibre gradually.


It’s also important to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into daily meals, opt for whole-grain bread and cereals, chew food properly, and eat slowly.


Exercise

Another way to keep constipation at bay is to exercise several times during the week. 


Exercise and physical activity increase muscle activity in the digestive system, preventing constipation from taking effect. It’s important that patients consult a doctor before they embark on any strenuous exercise regimen, especially if they’re suffering from any preexisting conditions.


Practice frequent bowel movements
Another way this condition can be avoided is by practising frequent bowel movements. It’s important to give in to the urge whenever it’s present and to ensure that enough time is taken to get the job done.


Key takeaways

While occasional constipation isn’t necessarily a serious condition, leaving it untreated and not making the right lifestyle and dietary choices can lead to more serious consequences.


By consulting an experienced gastroenterology specialist, receiving treatment and avoiding this condition altogether is not just effective - it’s easier too. 

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