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TYPES OF CONSTIPATION

The purpose of this article is to present the types of constipation and related symptoms.


Pathogenesis:

The three types of constipation are:

  • habitual constipation
  • symptomatic constipation
  • episodic constipation

Habitual constipation

Habitual constipation (chronic constipation, primitive constipation, primary constipation) is caused by a functional motor disorder of the colon (ineffective propulsive movements) joined by disorders in the defecation process (conscious inhibition or reflex dejection inhibition), sedentariness, poor food fiber in diet, lack of hygienic conditions.

It`s the most common type of constipation for all ages and it`s much more frequent for women. The weakening of abdomen muscles or the perineum slows down the progression of the colon matter, that leads to having difficult rectal evacuation. Also, because of sedentariness the abdominal tonus and the intestinal tonus are affected.

The decrease of intestinal muscle excitability and the attenuation of the defecation reflex can be present to people who systematically use enemas or purgatives (more powerful laxatives). The intestines of these people are usually empty and it`s natural excitability is absent.

Symptoms:

  • rare evacuation of stool (2-4 days) but can reach more that 5 days.
  • stool is very hard, high consistency, small quantity and dark brown color.
  • rarely patients don`t feel the need to go to the toilet.
  • people suffering from habitual constipation can have headaches, insomnia, fatigue, intestinal gas.
  • the evolution of habitual constipation is for long-term.
  • inflammation of the colon – colitis (small intestine) that leads to enterocolitis.

Symptomatic constipation

Symptomatic constipation installs during many affections from start to finish. This symptom can be the result of congenital intestinal malformations such as: dolichocolon (abnormal long large intestine), megacolon (abnormal dilation of the colon accompanied by a paralysis of the peristaltic movements of the bowel), some inflammatory processes that fix the intestine, inflames it or reduce it`s caliber (intestine turbeculosis, pelvian inflamed infection) or of a malign tumor process.

Symptoms:

  • the most important: it`s strongly related to the disease or affection that is present in the body and started it. (starting point, evolution, stage, severity, treatment)
  • other light affections influence this symptom: cold, fever, anxiety and so on.
  • bloating, gas accumulation
  • pain, rare defecation
  • soft stools (usually hard)

The lack of vegetable fiber in diet is the most frequent cause of symptomatic constipation, joined by foods rich in fat like meat, eggs and cheese. Soluble and insoluble fiber are the indigestible (unpalatable) components of fruits, vegetables and cereals.

Soluble fiber dissolves quickly in water and adds a silky soft texture to the intestinal matter. Insoluble fiber pass through the intestines almost unchanged. It is recommended to have in our diets at least 2 table spoons (20-35 grams) of fiber each day. Children and adults consume much more refined and processed foods out of which all good vegetable fiber was eliminated.

The lack of water hydration is an important symptomatic constipation cause. Liquids help the colonic fluids to grow and as a result, making the intestinal movements easier. People who suffer of constipation should be generous in drinking large quantities of mineral water as possible.

Drinks that contain caffeine and carbonated soda (like coke, sprite, pepsi, and so on) will make even worse the dehydration symptoms. Alcohol, especially when consumed often and in hot weather is another drink that brings dehydration.

The lack of physical activities (sports, hiking, running, jogging) does not improve intestinal muscle movements and it is more likely that elderly people suffer this type of constipation, more than the rest of people.


Episodic constipation

Episodic constipation is a light version of constipation that is likely to happen to every one of us because of minor changes in our lifestyle (working program, travelling, temporary illness), starting a strict diet, reducing the amounts of water or taking medicine that have a big impact over our intestinal transit.

The symptoms of episodic constipation are not many but most important is the evacuation of the stool (within 2-4 days) and the hard dehydrated stools. This symptom usually ends when we come back to our normal lifestyle.

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