Tagged with " Gastroenterology"
20 Jan
2017

7 Surprising Causes of Constipation

A few years ago, it would have been considered impolite to discuss subjects like constipation in public. However, as I write this article, playing on the television in the background is a commercial about the laxative Ducalax. While I am surprised to see these commercials, I am as equally surprised to discover some of the lesser known causes of constipation.

Constipation is the condition of bowels where the feces are dry and hardened and bowel evacuation is typically three times or fewer per week and difficult. The most common cause of constipation is not eating enough fiber or drinking enough water. Seven causes of constipation that may not be widely known are:

Side effects of medications

One of the most controversial commercials of Super Bowl 50 was one about a middle-aged man who was constipated. The drug company created the ad to bring awareness to the condition known as opioid-induced constipation. Some people were upset because the ad focused on constipation and not drug addiction. The Super Bowl commercial highlights the problem with certain medications and constipation. Some of the medicines are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), narcotics, antacids containing aluminum and calcium carbonate. Others include antidepressants, sedatives, iron supplements, diuretics, and calcium-channel blockers.

Pregnancy

Today, it appears that no longer is the case as we watch hilarious television commercials about Fiber One where the main character is a pregnant man who is expecting to deliver soon. The commercial seems to make an unspoken comparison between the delivery of a baby and the delivery of food through the digestive system. Of course, male pregnancy as depicted in the Fiber One commercial is not possible, but hormonal changes and the weight of the uterus pushing on the intestine of a pregnant woman can cause constipation. Women should discuss this problem with their doctors if the problem persists.

Using too many laxatives

Laxatives are taken to help relieve the symptoms of constipation, but may cause constipation if taken for long periods of time. Over a period, the body could build of a tolerance for the laxative and it does have the same effect.

Travel or other change in daily routine

When a person travels they don’t normally stick to their regular routines. The changes in diet and that daily routine can contribute to constipation.

Lack of exercise

Exercise affects our ability to maintain good health in many ways. When a person exercises for at least 30 minutes a day, it causes the stimulation of the intestines, which can help with maintaining regular bowel movements.

Psychological

There are many people who are too embarrassed or afraid use a public restroom. Therefore, they ignore or resist the urge to have a bowel movement. Withholding the stool can lead to constipation.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). Irritable bowel syndrome commonly causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation.

The Super Bowl commercial and others highlight some of the surprising lesser known causes of constipation. Constipation is not just caused due to a lack of fiber in a person’s diet. The next time you are feeling bloated, stopped up and unable to get relief from eliminating waste, consider that it may be due to constipation caused by one of these seven lesser known reasons.

6 Oct
2016

Causes of Serious Bloating You Should Know

After eating, sometimes the uncomfortable full or tight feeling is not just the food itself. There are also a lot of digestive gasses involved in this bloating including carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, methane, or sulfur. This does not always occur; it largely depends on how much we eat and what we eat. When it does occur, the only ways to get rid of it is by releasing these digestive gasses via burping or farting. Although these things can be embarrassing in social situations, staying bloated is both uncomfortable, can be embarrassing in itself, and can get unhealthy.

One way to avoid it is knowing your own personal trigger foods that usually result in bloating. But that is not the only precautionary measure to take. There are others. First, eat everything in moderation. Eating too much of anything can give you bloating. Two, eat slowly since eating quickly causes you to swallow more gas-producing air. Three, opt for low-fat, non-greasy foods when it is available. This is also good for just staying healthy and losing extra pounds. Four, avoid too much high fiber food. Although fiber is actually a very good thing for physical health and definitely should remain a part of your diet, too much often triggers bloating.

This is largely because the small intestine is unable to digest fiber and creates extra gasses in the effort. So if you are eating something with fiber-which is a very good thing-just make sure not to overdo it Five, avoid sugary deserts, drinks, and snacks. Like fiber, sugar foods have difficulty being digested and the intense effort results in lots of gas. However, unlike fiber, sugary foods aren’t necessary and can be very unhealthy anyway. Six, it might be a good idea to partake of some of the available over-the-counter bloating-reducing medications like Beano, Gas-X, or Mylanta Gas.

However, sometimes none of this stuff will not work one bit if the bloating problem has nothing to do with food. Sometimes it can take place due to menstrual changes or a medical problem such as colon cancer, bowel obstruction, irritable bowel syndrome, or any number of any other physical maladies. That is why if you are experiencing bloating suddenly nearly all of the time, you should get a doctor involved ASAP. If the bloating is accompanied by abdominal pain, blood in your stools, diarrhea, or vomiting, don’t wait to see if the bloating lingers. Contact your doctor immediately. Bloating can also be induced by smoking. If you are seeking to reduce bloating episodes and are a smoker, do what you can by stopping this bad habit.

18 Aug
2016
Posted in: Tips
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Constipation and Antidepressants

Individuals using antidepressants may become constipated. When constipation is present it means that bowel movements are difficult or are less frequent than normal. Though what is considered to be normal could vary, many individuals may have a bowel movement as many as three times per day. However, if the length of time stretches between bowel movements, it can be very uncomfortable. In intense cases, individuals might experience fecal impaction, which means a hard mass of bowel remains and can’t be passed.

Constipation can be a regular reaction of tricyclic antidepressants that blocks the process of the neurotransmitter. When the neurotransmitters are blocked, muscular contractions that push waste through our digestive system are lessened and intestinal secretions that lubricates the passage of bowel becomes drier, resulting in constipation. Though constipation is a little less likely with some of the most recent medications like SSRIs (which stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) there’s still a possibility that you might experience constipation with these also.

When constipation is present, you may experience symptoms like:
– Hard or small stools
– A feeling of not completely emptying your bowels
– Straining during bowel movements
– Vomiting
– Painful or swollen abdomen

If experiencing faecal impaction subsequent to long term constipation, you might start to have additional symptoms like:
– Rectal bleeding
– Cramping or bloating
– Leakage or watery diarrhea
– Loss of bladder control
– Dizziness when straining
– Pain in lower back

Here are a few tips to help relieve constipation due to taking antidepressants:
– Drink lots of water
– Exercise regularly
– Consume foods high in fibre, like vegetables, whole grains and fruit
– Take a fibre supplement
– Give some thought into take a stool softener or laxative

If you’re experiencing chronic constipation that’s not relieved with self help remedies, it’s important to talk with your doctor for a medical opinion. It is possible for faecal impaction to occur with long term constipation and it could potentially pose serious complications, including tissue death or tearing in the rectum.

If you’ve already become impacted, your physician will perform the necessary steps to relieve you of the impacted stool. It can be accomplished with use of warm enemas which can soften the stool. Surgery is rarely needed to remove impaction.

Individuals who have experienced faecal impaction may also need to go through a bowel re-training program, which will probably include fibre supplements, stool softeners, change in diet, special exercises and other methods.

16 Jun
2016

Chocolate and Constipation: What’s The Link?

Chocolate! One of the world’s most beloved treats. We turn to chocolate when we are happy, when we’re sad, to celebrate different holidays, or even to give to a beloved as a sign of our affection. There’s dark chocolate, white chocolate, chocolate with almonds, and choices galore! Let’s face it, we love chocolate.

However, after indulging in this scrumptious and delicious treat, you may find adverse consequences to pay for your enjoyment, such as constipation. There has been much suspicion and controversy as to whether or not chocolate does indeed cause constipation. There have been studies after studies conducted, without any clear verdict or answer to the question of whether it does or not.

It has been determined that chocolate does not in itself cause constipation, unless you have some other type of underlying problem. These problems could be something such as irritable bowel syndrome. Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, is a problem that affects your lower intestines. It causes cramping, bloating, pain, discomfort, irregular bowel movements, diarrhea and constipation. With this condition, coupled with certain kinds of foods, triggers may occur causing constipation. Within this trigger typed foods, chocolate is one of the culprits. Everyone responds to food differently, but the possible link here may be clear.

Chocolate is a powerful antioxidant and may have other benefits for the human body such as lowering blood pressure, improving circulation, helping clean out your system, and more. However, with people that suffer from underlying problems that they may not even be aware of, the antioxidant full chocolates can trigger an onset of symptoms in IBS, including constipation. This includes also using chocolate in flavorings, such as hot cocoa and chocolate milk.

Today, one in five of all Americans suffer from signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Most do not realize their discomfort is anything unusual and thus do not seek medical help or advice for their symptoms. Among all the studies, the results have actually even revealed that in some people, chocolate helped ease their constipation. So I believe it’s safe to say that it really is a person by person case, as to whether or not chocolate will cause constipation. The only connective dot that seems to rear its head time and again is the link between chocolate consumption and irritable bowel syndrome. It’s also worth noting that the benefits of chocolate come from the dark chocolate, which contains far more antioxidants than it’s semi-sweet or milk counterparts.

12 Apr
2016

Diarrhea Caused By Eating Hot Foods

Most spicy hot foods such as chili peppers, habaneros and cayenne peppers contain capsaicin, which is not broken down and digested, especially in the seeds, and that is what burns your entire digestive tract from when it first enters your mouth until it leaves.

Capsaicin stimulates the lining of the stomach to produce more of its natural juices to protect itself against the capsaicin. This is actually good, because this process kills the bacteria in the stomach would could cause disorders of your bowels. However, it is painful for people who already have ulcers. (Contrary to the prevailing myths, spicy foods do not cause ulcers. That culprit is a bacteria named Helicobacter pylori. However, spicy foods do make ulcers hurt worse.)

Capsaicin does irritate the linings of the small and large intestines where food goes after leaving the stomach. For many people, especially those who often eat hot spicy foods and who therefore have forced their alimentary canals to adapt to the stress, the irritation is minor and they don’t even notice. But other people, especially those who don’t often eat spicy hot foods, are sensitive to it. The body reacts to the irritation by sending extra water to the intestine to prevent damage to the lining. Also, the irritated intestinal lining moves the food along faster than usual, resulting in diarrhea. There is no medical evidence that eating capsaicin does permanent injury to intestinal linings. The capsaicin continues to irritate sensitive inner tissue all the way through the end, so it continues to burn even as someone is eliminating it.

People who continue to have the problem may be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. They suffer from loose stool, bloating and abdominal pain when they eat hot foods, plus dairy, caffeine, and fatty and oily foods.

There are many ways to reduce the gastrointestinal discomfort of eating spicy foods. If people drink a glass of water before eating, that will help dilute the juices in the stomach.

Dairy foods help to neutralize the capsaicin. Therefore, drinking milk or eating yogurt, curd, ghee, buttermilk, sour cream or ice cream after eating the hot foods can help prevent diarrhea. However, people who are lactose intolerant should not consume any product containing milk. Consuming coconut milk, which is common in Thai food, can also help neutralize capsaicin. Eating rice gruel or bread along with the hot spice should also alleviate its impact on the digestive system.

24 Jan
2016

6 Home Remedies For Constipation

Everyone is going to experience constipation at some point. The first time you experience the malady, you may not know what it is a first. You’ll feel generally uncomfortable and you’ll feel full before you even eat. Sooner or later, your feeling downright awful. But it can be an embarrassing experience which may prevent you from seeking outside help. Fortunately for you, there are natural home remedies that you can try.

Exercise

Get the juices flowing with daily exercise. Exercise stimulates the body and leaves it to crave nutrients. Your body might fix the blockage itself with just a little bit of exercise. Try going for a walk for at least 20 minutes around the neighborhood to see if you shake anything loose. If you are feeling comfortable, you can try harder workout routine depending on your physical ability.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a natural lubricant. The healthy fat actually acts to stimulate the digestive system and its consistency lubes up the tracks. Try swallowing a tablespoon of all of oil with the spritz of lemon juice on an empty stomach.

Hydrate

Many blockages arise because of dehydration. The stool becomes too hard to move through the bowels, so soften it up by drinking enough water. It is recommended to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water per day. Tea, soda, coffee or even sugary sports drinks will actually dehydrate you. Drink plain water.

Eat Fruits and Veggies

It is well-known that fiber helps to eliminate waste from the digestive system. Fibrous cells move through your digestive track, grabbing waste and taking it out of your system. Natural fibers found in fruits and vegetables, so eat plenty of them. You can also eat bran cereals and fibrous snack bars.

Schedule Time

Your body knows what time he wants to go to sleep. This is called the circadian cycle. But you can actually put your body on a bowel movement schedule. Pencil in a time to sit on the toilet. Make it the same time every day in order to develop a rhythm that your body will naturally follow.

Assume The Position

The human body was actually designed to go while in a crouch. This is problematic because the toilet forces us to sit rather than crouch. Putting your feet up onto a small stool while sitting on the toilet will mimic a crouch and put your bowels into a better position to eliminate waste.

12 Dec
2015

Treating Constipation With Medication

When constipation strikes many people turn to medications for relief. There are a variety of options available and knowing a bit about each can help determine which to use.

Fiber Supplements

These medications work by bulking up your stool. They do this by absorbing fluid from your intestines, creating a bulkier stool. This in turn causes the bowel to contract in order to push out the stool. It is imperative to take this medication with water otherwise it can lead to a blockage. Some side effects of this medication include bloating and abdominal pain.

Osmotic Agents

These medications cause the stool to retain more water, which in turn makes the stool softer and easier to pass. These can take a few days to work so will not offer immediate relief. They can cause dehydration and mineral imbalance so certain people should not take them. These may also lead to gas and bloating.

Stool Softeners

These medications help mix more water from the intestines into the stools, making them easier to pass. These are often used for people who should not strain during bowel movements. Side effects can include stomach cramping and diarrhea.

Lubricants

These help the stool move more easily through the intestines by lubricating the surface of the stool. This also makes the stool easier to pass. The most common form is mineral oil, which is gentler than alternatives, although it should not be used for an extended period of time.

Stimulants

These are generally reserved for those with severe constipation and work by causing the intestine to contract, thus pushing the stool out. Side effects can include irritation, cramping and upset of the stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Prescriptions

There are two common prescription medications that both help to draw water into your intestines, making stools softer and easier to pass. They also increase the frequency of stools and can decrease abdominal pain. See your doctor for further information.