Constipation in Different Age Groups


Constipation is a common health problem therefore people sometimes ignore it and consider that it can be well treated naturally. But there is a need to know about this problem to live healthy life. Constipation is a decrease in the frequency of bowel movements.

People may have difficulty in passing stools in this heath problem. A constipated stool is hard because it contains less water than normal. Constipation is having three or fewer bowel movements in a week. But there are individual differences in their own sense of when they are constipated, whether it is passing hard stools, straining or feeling full and not being able to pass stool completely. Constipation is a symptom, not a disease.

Most of the time, this problem is momentary and just painful. But sometimes, it can lead to complications or be a sign of a more serious problem. When people suffer from this problem, they must contact doctor and talk frankly about any concerns they has about bowel movements. The normal number of bowel movements depends on the food people eat, how much they exercise, and other things.

There is a common fallacy about constipation is that wastes stored in body are absorbed, are hazardous to health and it can lead to early death. Some people fear that if they retain the waste in their bodies for more than a certain length of time, it will harm to intestine. All these thoughts are not true. Experts believe that older people become too concerned with having a daily bowel movement and that constipation in this age group is overrated. Constipation is very common during pregnancy. A preparation of lactulose and glucomannan is effective and well tolerated in pregnant women. Research report indicates that half of all pregnant women will suffer from constipation at some time during their pregnancy.

There are more chances of having constipation to women who take iron supplements. Women who have been treated for constipation in the past had a higher risk of constipation during pregnancy.

Infant constipation is frequently seen in our society. Infants pass a thick, green-black stool (meconium) i the first 24 to 36 hours of life. The stool becomes more yellow-green as feeding becomes regular. Most infants have stools daily, but some have them only every two to three days. If baby is feeding properly, he/she nay not have constipation. It is unusual for newborn, breast-fed babies to be constipated. Formula-fed babies tend to have drier, less frequent stools than breastfed babies.

When babies switch from breast milk to formula, the residue left in the colon will often increase, causing bowel movements to be more difficult. Another reason of infant constipation may be that baby has a tight anus or there is an allegery or sensitivity. Constipation can be a symptom of a more serious illness or an obstruction. If baby is suffering from this problem, mother must get immediate care and she should contact medical doctor. If an infant is feeding poorly or vomiting, there is blood in child's stool, there is abdominal swelling then home remedies will not be supportive. An infant needs doctor's attention to treat constipation.


Constipationst People may suffer from constipation due to a poor diet, poor bowel habits, or problems in elimination of stool, whether physical, functional, or voluntary. Poor diet includes eating foods rich in animal fats (dairy products, meats, and eggs) or refined sugar but low in fiber (whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) which may cause constipation.

Poor bowel habits include ignoring the desire to have bowel movements that may instigate a cycle of constipation. After a period of time, person may stop feeling the desire for opening bowel. This leads to progressive constipation. Some people do not use public toilets or avoid going to the toilet because they are busy. Older adults are more likely to have constipation due to poor diet and inadequate intake of fluids, lack of exercise, side effects of prescription drugs used to treat other conditions, poor bowel habits, prolonged bed rest, for example after an accident or during an illness, habitual use of enemas and laxatives


Patient may show signs of a broad range of symptoms of constipation depending on your normal bowel habits, diet, and age. Patient may exhibit difficulty in starting or completing a bowel movement, infrequent and difficult passage of stool, passing hard stool after prolonged straining in the toilet. If patient has irritable bowel syndrome, he may feel abdominal pain, excessive gas, a sense of bloating, and a change in bowel habits. If he has intestinal obstruction, nausea, vomiting, no defecation, and inability to pass gas, there is distended abdomen, headaches, and loss of appetite. Constipation patients have coated (furred) tongue, offensive breath, and bad taste in mouth.

Patients must call health care provider if they have these concerns: Symptoms are severe and last longer than 3 weeks, Recent and significant change in bowel habits, for instance, constipation alternates with diarrhea, Severe pain in the anus during a bowel movement, Symptoms of other diseases in addition to constipation, constipation for 2 weeks or longer with returning abdominal pain, which might be a sign of lead poisoning.

Although constipation may be extremely painful, it is usually not severe. It may be an indication of a serious underlying disorder such as cancer of the bowel. Because constipation may lead to complications, visit to a hospital's emergency department if some serious complication develop such as rectal bleeding, anal pain and hemorrhoids, anal fissures or cracks in the mucous lining (severe pain during defecation in the anal area), fecal impaction (immovable intestinal contents) in very young children and in older adults, rectal prolapse or sagging (Occasionally, straining causes a small amount of the intestinal lining to push out from the rectal opening. This may lead to secretion of mucus that may stain underpants.), recurrent vomiting with constipation and abdominal pain (This may suggest intestinal obstruction and needs urgent hospital treatment.

Diagnosis and tests:

Doctor may ask patient several questions, conduct a physical exam, and perform certain lab tests to find out possible causes of constipation. Doctor will decide which tests must be done based on symptoms, history, and exam. These tests will help assess the actual cause of the problem. The most commonly used tests may include the following: Lab tests:
Examining a stool sample under a microscope
Full blood count and blood film
Thyroid function tests if hypothyroidism suspected
Upright plain x-ray of your chest and abdomen - May show free air from intestinal perforation or signs of intestinal obstruction
Barium enema - May reveal a normal sized colon

Constipationfood Assessment of food movement - May demonstrate a prolonged and delayed transit time Sigmoidoscopy may help to detect problems in rectum and lower colon. Doctor will insert a flexible lighted instrument through anus to visualize the rectum and the lower intestine. In colonoscopy, doctor can confirm the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome by ruling out more serious disorders. The doctor also may take tissue biopsies for further studies to assess the cause underlying symptoms.


Doctor gives dietary advice to patient of constipation. It is difficult to treat patients who have chronic constipation. Doctor may prescribe bulk-forming agents in addition to dietary changes. Increased activity in the elderly and regular exercise in younger people will help out to resolve the problem of constipation.

Self-Care at Home

People can do many things at their own level. They must take more fiber or bulk in their diet. Regular physical activity is an important component in bowel health. They can try a daily exercise such as the knee-to-chest position. Such positions may activate bowel movements.

Spend about 10-15 minutes in this position. Breathe in and out deeply. They have to drink plenty of fluids, especially water and fruit juices. It is recommended to drink 6-8 glasses of water daily in addition to beverages with meals. They must always go to the toilet at the same time every day, preferably after meals and take enough time. They must use non digestible sugar (lactulose) or specially formulated solutions.


If a person has good habits, he/she can not have constipation symptoms. People must develop regular bowel habits. They can set aside time after breakfast to visit the toilet. They must not ignore the desire to defecate. It is good to eat balanced diet that includes wheat grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Recent evidence suggests that increasing dietary fiber intake may help some people with hard stools but is not necessarily of benefit to every person with constipation. Drinking plenty of water and fruit juice may solve this problem. Walking is a good exercise to get rid of constipation important.

Home remedies for constipation-

People must try some home men in initial stage. Bael fruit is good in treating constipation. People who have constipation must consume the fruit everyday for about 2-3 months. They can eat a medium sized pear either with breakfast or else before dinner. It is the best home remedy for constipation as it aids in clearing the whole faecal matter. Guava with seeds is also good fruit which provides adequate amount of fiber to the diet and aids in normal evacuation of the bowels.

People may consume about one or two guavas on a daily basis. Other useful laxatives are papaya, figs, grapes and orange. Person may consume about four or five dry figs soaked in water overnight. Spinach is a perfect vegetable oriented home remedy for constipation. If it is eaten raw, it can be very useful.

Constipation can be completely treated by improving diet and adopting good food habits but if the problem is chronic, one must seek doctor's advice. Note: This information is just for knowledge of disease. If such type of medical condition develops, consult your doctor.

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