Understanding constipation and how to manage in routine life.

Understanding constipation and how to manage in routine life.

Generally, the term constipation refers to bowel movement which may be infrequent and hard to pass the feces.

By Mahmood Hussain, Saturday 09th December 2017, write articles and blogs to be published in www.babyfirst.com.pk BABY FIRST PAKISTAN and also on Facebook/babyfirstPakistan and other social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter and so on. The writer is from Karachi, Pakistan Currently he is in Philadelphia, USA. Today Saturday 09th  December 2017 since morning it is snowing and will last until midnight.  It’s for the first time snowing during this winter season in Philadelphia and its vicinity.

Constipation may occur due to the condition of the digestive system.

In constipation, the main feature observe is feces become hard and dry. Which make it difficult to excrete out the waste material present in the colon. This is must and need to be expelled out by anal route. The condition mainly and most of the time is due to more absorption of water from the colon, from the food which has been ingested.

Other common symptoms of constipation which may be:

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort especially after meals.
  • Bloating and distending of the stomach.
  • Most likely such feeling as the stool has not been passed properly.
  • Less appetite.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Malaise, a general feeling of sickness


If the problem of constipation is not properly taken care, which may lead to dehydration in severe condition, rapid breathing, fever, increase in pulse rate, agitation, urinary incontinence and psychological disorder such as confusion and delirium.

What is a normal frequency of bowel movement?

In adult normal frequency of bowel movement is in between three per day to three per week.

Babies do have three to four stools per day,

Among young children, this may be two to three times in a day.

Constipation in adults is a very common gastrointestinal disorder.

  • Constipation occur in 2% to 20% of population.
  • Its incidence is more among the women, elderly people, and children.
  • So far, no reason has been found why it is more in women than male.
  • It is also more frequent among elderly people because of the various problem associated with them, side effects of the medicine and with the age physical activity are also reduced.

It has been reported 12% of world population is having constipation.

Constipation in children.

It affects 3% of the children and it affects equally in both babies and boys. It is difficult also to state which age group of children is mostly affected. This may be during potty training, changes in the habit and maybe admitting him/her in school or changing school. In infants, it may be due to transitory phase moving from mother milk to formula milk. This may be managed by simply relieving the symptom.

The food entering the body from the mouth towards the stomach. After processing to a certain extent and churning within the stomach, this later passes further down for the digestion processes in both small and large intestine, the nutrients are absorbed and it enters into the bloodstream. Finally, remaining process food reaches to the colon. If the food passes at a slower pace within digestive tract, which may lead towards more absorption of water from the colon.  This condition will lead to the hardening of the feces and make it difficult to excrete through the anus. Due to this condition, excretion or emptying of bowel can be very painful.

The further complication can arise due to constipation are hemorrhoids, the fissure in anal route or fecal impaction. The Fecal impaction of the colon is condition refer when the stool becomes stuck in the colon and unable to pass out from the body.      `

Few key facts on constipation are listed below:

Constipation is mostly due to excessive absorption of water from the colon from processed food.

Others reason may be due to the inactive lifestyle which means less physical activity.

Maybe due to certain medicine.

In the old age and in the aging process.

The healthy lifestyle to avoid or get relieved from constipation. This can be achieved by working on the following:

  • Positive changes in lifestyle and need to work on Quality Of Life (QOL).
  • Eat healthy and nutritional food. Do eat more fruits, green leafy vegetables and yogurt (which is referred as probiotic) beside consuming high fiber diet.
  • Drink regular water means 6-8 glass of water per day, avoid colas and packed juices
  • No to junk foods, get away from rich and oily foods.
  • The regular physical activity that is for 40-45 minutes per day for five times a week.

A laxative remedy to be used as the last remedy to manage severe constipation. 

What is referred as the normal passing of stool?

Having normal bowel movement at regular intervals, which aid in passing out the stool from the body. This is achieved without any discomfort, pain and hurting. The frequency of bowel movement varies from person to person. More than 90% healthy adults have pattern range to have stool excretion from three times a day to three times per week.

As mentioned above constipation condition is referred to the bowel movement. which is less than normal or sluggish, so the stool becomes hard and dry, which makes it difficult to pass.

The constipation condition is most of the time not refer to illness or problem of the digestive disorder. This condition may be due to the diet we are taking, the lifestyle we are following or may be due to medication or some other factors, which resulted in hardness of stool. This result in passing the feces with difficulty.

Below mentioning few factors which may be the cause of constipation among adults.

Eating low fiber diet. Per day requirement is 25 to 30 gm which aid in softening of the stool

Poor or less intake of water and fluid. It is necessary to have proper intake of water or fluid per day.  To prevent hardening and drying of feces we all need to drink 1.5 liters to 2.0 liter mainly water besides drinking milk, fresh juice, tea, soup or beverages.  If you are consuming fruit and fruit lover this also provides water.

Inactive and sedentary lifestyle may lead to constipation. To avoid such condition regular work out and exercise is essential. This helps (40 – 45 minutes per day and five times a week) in promoting normal muscle tone and bowel.

Side effects of medication, use of medicines to manage disease condition either hypertension, arthritis, seizure, neurological and psychiatric disorder and the list goes on. These prescribe medicine may have side effects which lead to constipation.

Delay the feeling and urge of excretion of stool passing. It is necessary for people to have the regular bowel movement and this gives the feeling to defecate, This force to pass out the stool. It has been observed because of busy schedules or few restroom available and this result in postponing or ignoring the urge to defecate. If this is followed in routine and observe of postponing as a regular habit, will lead towards constipation problem.

This has been observed if the individual is a regular traveler and working on tight timelines, they mostly and normally postponed the urge to defecate, as well as changes in their diet and schedule.

Use of Laxative, using regularly laxative, will lead to increase in the constipation frequency.

Treatment of Constipation:

In chronic constipation of unknown cause, the main treatment involves such as

  • Increase intake of water, fiber either in form of dietary or supplement such Ispaghula husk and to use natural probiotic the yogurt.
  • Regular use of the laxative is discouraged, but if compel or condition is very severe then use it.
  • The enema can be used by the doctor or in his / her supervision which provides mechanical stimulation in the rectum, this can be used to clear the rectum passage and not to clear the intestinal passage..

Finally, here I mention and reiterate:

Constipation is the routine problem which affects nearly 80% of the population worldwide at some point and time during their life. Constipation can occur in all age group, but the risk increases in the people of both sex who are above 65 years of age.

Article is written by Mahmood Hussain for Baby First Pakistan website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other popular social media


About Mahmood Hussain

Professional Experience More than 36 years work experience in Healthcare & Pharmaceutical sectorDirector & General Manager Baby First (Pvt.) Ltd Pakistan March 2011 – till to date I have been associated with Baby First (Pvt) Ltd for more than 5 years. It is advisory, community and social interaction medium for parents 16-38 years and babies 0-6 years.General Manager Aga Khan Health Service Pakistasn December 2005 – December 2007 (2 years 1 month)Based at Karachi Pakistan Worked as General Manager managing Karachi & Baluchistan Health care services of AKHSP which includes primary and secondary health care centers and diagnostic centers on all areas nearly 102 centers which include three leading hospitals in Karachi.General Manager Janssen Cilag (Johnson & Johnson) February 1998 – January 2005 (7 years)Education MBA, Marketing 1995 – 1996, Preston University MSc, Biochemistry 1970 – 1974, Karachi University

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