Constipation is a common problem among people. Everyone experiences this every now and then, and it usually should not be a cause for alarm. However, if a person experiences constipation all the time, then there is cause to investigate further.
The body has normal bowel movements as a way to get rid of the waste in the body. After the body digests food and has absorbed the nutrients required, what is left is waste.
The body is intuitive, and it will get rid of materials that the body does not need. When the body is unable to do so, it will lead to constipation. If it becomes chronic, it should not be taken lightly, and medical advice should be sought.
If constipation is left uncontrolled, there are serious long-term health consequences that can happen. What can happen if chronic constipation is ignored?
1. Hemorrhoids Can Develop
The anus and rectum have blood vessels that circulate blood, just like in other parts of the body. These blood vessels must be left unimpeded for good blood flow. Hemorrhoids can happen when the stool that is impacting the large colon blocks the flow of blood from the veins in these areas.
As a result, the there is distention of the veins. When a person strains to try to get the stool moving out, he is applying a lot of pressure onto his abdomen. This results in more distention of the veins. These veins are pushed away from their normal location within the tissues. So, hemorrhoids can result inside the rectal area, outside, or both.
Hemorrhoids that occur inside can cause pain, but worse of all, it can result in internal bleeding. Hemorrhoids that occur outside are painful, itchy, and makes the rectal area very sensitive. This results in extreme discomfort for the individual.
2. Less Chance Of Survival In Colorectal Cancer
When a person ignores his constipation problem, he may be ignoring a symptom of colorectal cancer. When the stool travels through the colon, it starts as a thick liquid.
During its course in the colon, the colon absorbs water from the material. So, the waste material becomes thicker. The thicker the waste material becomes, the harder it is to get around the narrow areas of the colon.
Sometimes the colon is narrowed by tissue causing blockages. If there is a tumor in the colon or rectum, that can stop the thickened stool from passing through. So, the person feels constipated all the time but not knowing that it is caused by a tumor in the colon.
If he continues to leaves it untreated, and if the tumor is malignant, the cancer can get grow to a stage when it becomes untreatable. That is why when a person suffers from chronic constipation, he should waste no time in getting an examination. If the cancer is diagnosed early, there is a 90 percent chance that the individual will make a full recovery.
However, if the cancer is more advanced and has spread to other areas, the survival rate will not be as positive.
3. A Prolapse of the Rectum Can Result
When an excessive amount of stool is accumulated in the rectum for a long period of time, the rectum can stretch to a point where it can longer contract back to its original size after the individual passes the stool. The rectal tissue is loose, and it can fall through the anus out of the body. It will look like a little mass of pink tissue that is protruding from the bottom.
This causes serious problems to the individual because the rectum can no longer hold in the stool. He will suffer from mucus and stool leaking out of this body uncontrollably.
He will always have the feeling when he defecates that he cannot get everything out. The pain and bleeding problem will undoubtedly get worse over time. The only remedy to this problem is getting the rectum repaired through surgery.
4. Anal Fissures Can Develop
Anal fissures are cracks in the skin around the anal area. These fissures happen when the stool becomes so hard that when a person tries to push them out during a bowel movement, the hard stool stretches the anal sphincter, rubs against the sides harshly, and cause it to crack and tear.
These fissures are painful. They cause the person itchiness. They result in blood in the stools and on their undergarments. The person will suffer from constant discomfort that can be debilitating.
5. An Increase In Infections
In addition to the pain and discomfort, the anal fissures are at high risk of becoming infected because of the constant presence of bacteria passed from the stool. If the fissures are left untreated, chronic infection will result. When the fissure becomes infected, abscesses can form that are full of pus.
This will lead to a need for the doctor to drain it using surgical methods. If the constipation is not resolved, these fissures will never get a chance to heal because the constant abrasion and stretching will keep the wounds open. The fissures will only heal if the constipation is getting treated.
6. It Robs You From Proper Nutrients
Constipation may be a a symptom of a condition called disbacteriosis. In a healthy body, the digestive system has good bacterial flora living in the intestines.
This flora helps in fending off pathogens and protects the system from bad bacteria. This bacteria breaks down the stool and keeps it soft. When this good bacteria is dead, the stool is not broken down and it can harden.
The good bacteria also produces nutrients in its process of breaking down materials for digestion. When the food material is not broken down, nutrients are not available to the body. Over a long period of time, this will result in malnutrition.
Therefore, seeing a doctor early about chronic constipation can detect possible disbacteriosis and get that treated early so that the body will not suffer from malnutrition.
7. Long-term Negative Effects On The Reproductive System In Women
In the way a woman’s body is structured, the large intestine, colon, and rectum are close to the reproductive organs such as the uterus and vagina. If the woman has a large amount of stool accumulated in her colon all the time, this can put pressure on her uterus. It can cause the rectum to prolapse inside the vagina.
A prolapsed rectum leads to fecal incontinence. Fecal material leaking into the vagina can cause a lot of complications. It can cause problems that make conception difficult. If the woman does conceive, it can increase risks of miscarriage because she has to strain all the time to bring about a bowel movement. This will have long-term effects on the woman’s reproductive health.
8. It Can Result In Chronic Back Pain
The excessive amount of fecal material in the body can lead to problems in the lower back. Constipation causes a person to sit uncomfortably.
In order to compensate, sometime a person may try to sit on one side or lean a certain way to ease the pressure in his rectal area.
However, that can result in his not sitting upright in a properly aligned position. The spine has to compensate and support this awkward sitting position. Over time, this poor posture will lead to chronic back pain, which is not easy to fix if it has gone on for a while.
9. Overall Reduction In The Quality Of Life
Let’s face it. Constipation causes a lot of discomfort whether the individual is sitting or standing. This discomfort will rob him from enjoying many physical activities. He would not be able to sit through a movie without squirming around as he tries to adjust his body to a more comfortable position.
The pain and discomfort is ever-present and on his mind. He will not be able to get a comfortable night’s sleep. He will not even be able to enjoy physical intimacy with his spouse or partner because he is physically uncomfortable all the time. He will become more irritable to the people around him. He will feel miserable everyday.
10. Appetite Will Be Negatively Affected
When a person does not feel well because he is constipated, he will not feel like eating. His body still requires a minimum amount of nutrients in order to stay healthy.
However, when the person is not eating properly, he will not get the nutrients that his body needs. His energy level will go down.
He will feel tired all the time. Eventually, that will have a negative effect on all other areas of his physical well-being.
11. Increase in Stress
When a person is uncomfortable all the time, he is facing stress all the time. Chronic stress opens up another set of problems that affects mental health and physical health. Depression can set in. The immune system can be suppressed due to stress, which makes the body more vulnerable to being attacked by pathogens.
The Proper Course Of Action
As you can see, chronic constipation is a serious problem that can lead to many complications. When a person suffers from chronic constipation, the first thing he should do is to see his doctor to get a thorough examination. The doctor can determine if the constipation is a symptom of a bigger problem. The key is to get to root of the problem and get that treated, not just by treating the symptoms.
If the constipation is not symptomatic of anything more serious, the immediate problem may be resolved by taking a laxative prescribed by the doctor. Then, a look at the diet and eating habits should ensue. A diet that is deficient in fiber is often the cause of constipation.
Therefore, the person should look for ways to increase his consumption of fibers. Foods high in fiber include berries, whole grains, split peas lentils, and beans, artichokes, and leafy green vegetables.
A bit of psyllium, such as Metamucil, added to foods and drinks may also help keep the bowel movements more regular.
Lots of exercise can help keep the body regular as well. The physical movement of the body improves circulation, which in turn improves the movement inside the intestines. Regular physical activity is healthy for the body in a number of ways, so one should not overlook its multiple benefits.
The body will need to stay hydrated. The water keeps the stool soft and easier to pass through the system.
Chronic constipation should not go untreated. Early treatment can prevent major problems and lead to a better quality of life.