Constipation is a condition in which a person has irregular bowel movements or has difficulty in passing stools.
The food that we eat moves through our digestive system. The nutrients in the food are absorbed by the body and the waste moves from the small intestine to the large intestine (the colon) and is then excreted out of the body through the rectum. The colon absorbs water from the waste thereby creating a solid matter called stool. If the movement of the waste through the colon is too slow or if the defecation is postponed, there is excess water absorption by the colon and the stool becomes hard and dry. This makes it difficult for the person to pass stool, thereby leading to constipation.
Common Symptoms of constipation are:
Painful passage of stools
Hard, dry or lumpy consistency of stools
Less than 3 bowel movements a week
Feeling unable to pass all stool completely
Feeling bloated due to the inability to pass motion comfortably
Common Causes of Constipation are:
Changes in diet or routine,
Inadequate intake of fibre in diet
Low levels of physical activity
Medications that may be interrupting the digestion process
It is common to face constipation occasionally. However, when people experience this frequently it can interfere with their ability to go about their daily tasks and lead to a chronic issue. Straining too hard to have bowel movements can put too much pressure in the veins around the anus causing cracks in the skin of the anus, inflammation, rectal bleeding, piles, etc.
Piles (haemorrhoids) are lumps inside and around the anus caused due to repeated events of constipation. Symptoms will vary depending on whether the haemorrhoids are external haemorrhoids (only under the skin around the anus) or internal haemorrhoids (under the lining of the anus and lower rectum).
External haemorrhoids can cause itching, one or more hard lumps near the anus or even pain especially when sitting.
Internal haemorrhoids can cause bleeding or cause the haemorrhoids to prolapse (fall through the anal opening).
It is important to consult a doctor if you experience constipation for a week, pain in the abdomen during bowel movement, any rectal bleeding, blood in the stools or have frequent constipation issues.
Nutritional Guidelines that may Help Prevent Constipation and thereby Piles:
Increase the intake of fibre gradually by including a variety of vegetables and fruits in your daily meals
Drink sufficient water throughout the day (10 to 12 glasses)
Try to manage stress effectively through yoga or meditation
Avoid delaying or ignoring the body’s urge to pass stool
Talk with your health care professional for a nutrition plan with the right amount of fibre for you.