Webster’s Dictionary defines Constipation as irregular and infrequent or difficult evacuation of the bowels; constipation can be a symptom of intestinal obstruction or diverticulitis. A state of the bowels in which the evacuations are infrequent and difficult, or the intestines become filled with hardened feces. Thankfully there are a number of treatments for it; however we have to be careful when choosing one since the treatment has to be specific to the cause of Constipation. Once the cause is determined you along with your doctor will be able to determine which of the following treatments will be better suited for your problem.
Probably the most known treatment to get relief for constipation is laxatives. Laxatives are taken orally and help stimulate the evacuation of feces. There are many types of laxatives bulk-producing agents, stool softeners, lubricants, hydrating agents and serotonin agonist. However there is a drawback to them. The constant use can lead to dependency and the inability to have bowel movements without a laxative, and if it abused it can result in intestinal paralysis, irritable bowel syndrome, pancreatitis, renal failure among many other things.
Another way to go would be an enema, which is an injection of a liquid through the anus to stimulate evacuation. The liquid or “medicine” as it is sometimes called can range from just water to sodium phosphate solution. Once the injection is made a holding period is required, after which the evacuation is ready to take place. Although enemas are extremely effective they only treat waste that is in the rectum, no in the intestinal tract.
Biofeedback is also an option when dealing with need of relief for constipation. Biofeedback training is where patients are taught how to make their muscles work better and improve their ability to have bowel movements, since most of the pelvic muscles that surround the anus and rectum are voluntarily controlled. To achieve that a pressure sensing catheter is inserted through the anus and into the rectum. Every time the patient contracts the muscles they generate a pressure that is detected by the catheter and then recorded. By keeping track of the pressures, patients learn to relax and contract the muscles better; therefore making bowel movements easier.
In worst case scenarios of Constipation where all other treatments will not work, some patients must refer to surgery. Usually these cases are because of diseases of the colon or laxative abuse. In this surgery, most of the colon minus the rectum is removed, and then reattached to the remaining rectum. Because of the severity of this surgery it is used as a last resort, when all else fails.
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