Gastrointestinal Diseases

Constipation in adults

It is a common condition and is not considered a disease but it may be a symptom of another medical problem, constipation may last for a short or longtime, it affects people of all ages, the severity of constipation varies from person to another, many people suffers from constipation only for a short time, but for others, constipation can be a long-term (chronic) condition that causes severe pain, discomfort and affects the quality of life.

Sometimes there is no clear reason, but it may be more than one at a time, as it includes:

  • Not moving and spending long periods sitting or lying on the bed
  • Ignore the urge to go to the toilet.
  • Not eating enough fiber (e.g. fruit, vegetables, cereals).
  • Functional gastrointestinal disorders (e.g. irritable bowel syndrome).
  • Certain medications and supplements (e.g. diuretics, iron supplements).
  • Life changes or daily routine changes.
  • When changing the amount and quantity of food.
  • Certain health and nutritional problems.
  • Not drinking enough fluids or dehydration.
  • Not doing enough physical activity.
  • Disorders affecting the brain and spine (e.g. Parkinson's disease).
  • Spinal Cord or Brain Injuries
  • Conditions that affect metabolism (ex: diabetes).
  • Conditions that affect hormones (e.g., hypothyroidism).
  • Intestinal obstruction including anal, rectal obstruction and tumors.

Those most vulnerable to:

  • Pregnant or woman in post-partum period.
  • Elderly people.
  • People who don't eat or eat little fiber.
  • People who take certain medications or supplements.
  • People with certain health problems (e.g. functional gastrointestinal disorders).


  • Defecation less than three times a week
  • Hard, dry, or lumpy stools
  • Stool that is hard to pass or painful.
  • Stomach pains and Convulsions
  • feeling bloated (Gaseous Distention)
  • Fatigue
  • Anorexia

When to see a doctor:

  • Bleeding from your rectum
  • Blood in stool
  • Persistent abdominal pain
  • Inability to pass gas.
  • Vomiting
  • High fever.
  • Lower back pain.
  • Weight loss.

It is done by medical and family history in addition to medical examinations and tests (such as: CBC, urine and stool analysis, endoscopy) to find out the cause of constipation.

Constipation can often be treated at home by doing the following:

  • Change the quality of eating and drinking, as it may make the stool softer.
  • Eat more fiber-rich foods.
  • Drink lots of water and other fluids.
  • Regular physical activity may help relieve symptoms.
  • Intestine training by trying to defecate 15 to 45 minutes after eating.
  • Make sure you take time to defecate and use the bathroom as soon as you feel the need to go.
  • Stop taking certain medications or supplements after consulting a doctor.

If self-care treatments don't work, your doctor may prescribe medication to treat constipation:

  • Medications that make intestine movements regular especially if a person has irritable bowel syndrome with constipation or long-term constipation for no known reason.
  • A medicine that helps the colon to move stool when there is prolonged constipation for no known reason.
  • A medication prescribed to increase gastrointestinal fluids that can help to reduce abdominal pain, make stools softer, and increase the number of defecations.
  • Surgery where the doctor may recommend surgery to treat anal obstruction caused by rectal prolapse if other treatments have not worked.

You can help prevent constipation by doing some of the same things that treat constipation:

  • Getting enough fiber in the diet for example:
  1. Whole grains (e.g. whole wheat bread, pasta, oatmeal, bran flakes cereal).
  2. Legumes (e.g., lentils, black beans, soybeans, chickpeas).
  3. Fruits (ex: berries, apples with rind, oranges, pears).
  4. Vegetables (ex: carrots, broccoli, peas).
  5. Nuts (ex: almonds, peanuts, walnuts).
  • Drinking plenty of water and other fluids (such as fruit and vegetable juices naturally and soups) to help fiber work better. Drinking enough water and other fluids is a good way to avoid dehydration. Staying hydrated is good for overall health and it can help you avoid constipation. You should also consult your doctor about the amount of fluids you should drink daily based on health conditions.
  • Practice regular physical activity

Last Update : 23 August 2023 01:38 PM
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