In this article, we cared to answer the most common questions about constipation. It starts with an introduction about constipation with a definition. Then, it starts giving clues about the usual questions that pop up in your head. It discussed the relationship between yeast infection and constipation. Next, it talks about the link between cancer and constipation. After that, it showed a correlation between dehydration and constipation.
Additionally, it revealed the great connection between constipation and heartburn. Afterward, it discusses the relationship between constipation and back pain. Finally, it revealed numerous connections between headache and constipation. We cared to supply you with studies for every question, leaving you with a conclusion and advice on how to avoid constipation.
Constipation is a condition of the digestive tract known as difficulty in bowel movements or difficulty in passing stools that can be persistent for many weeks or even longer.
Generally, constipation defined as having bowel movements less than three times a week.
It can be seen mostly among the affected cases, that the colon absorbs a lot of water from the food present in the colon; turning them into hard feces that are difficult to expel from the body. The hard fecal matter causes its slow movement through the digestive tract resulting in more water absorption along the way in the colon. As a result, the feces turn hard and dry resulting in pain while emptying the bowels.
Constipation affects a large number of people with its symptoms occurring occasionally. However, some people experience chronic constipation, which can have significant effects on their potential to perform their routine chores. By chronic, we mean anything that persists for a more prolonged period. It causes the affected people to strain excessively to get the bowel movement to do away with the fecal matter.
Chances of getting chronic constipation increase with age, for example, the geriatric population, especially is prone to this problem. According to a recent study published in 2019 by researchers in Turkey, the constipation prevalence among adults is 12 percent to 19 percent, while in old people, it goes over 30 percent. The treatment of chronic constipation, to a certain extent, depends on treating the underlying cause. Nonetheless, constipation causes never found in some cases.
Are Constipation and Yeast Infections Related?
Candida is a type of fungus, which is commonly present on your skin and on the mucous membranes, which are a moist lining covering the cavities in the body.
Familial candidiasis is a disease in which the person has an inherited tendency to grow infections in the body by the fungus, Candida. The individuals affected by it experience infections in the skin, nails, and mucous membranes. The pattern of these infections is recurrent and nonstop, which means, they can repeat again and again and stay for a long time. This pattern is sometimes referred to as chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis.
In most of the population, it is not hazardous to health. Certain medications like antibiotics, corticosteroids, and other factors can result in overgrowth of candida resulting in Candidiasis. When Candidiasis occurs in the mouth, it called thrush. All these episodes commonly referred to as yeast infections. They last only for a short duration till the time they got cleared by the body’s healthy immune system.
The majority of the population suffering from familial candidiasis have a chronic or recurrent yeast infection that starts in their early childhood. A study performed in Tehran in 2017, where the researchers reviewed the published literature on a four-year-old girl, who presented with familial candidiasis for chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis. She had a history of this disease with thrush and otomycosis since the age of 1. When it affects the skin, it produces symptoms of rash on the body. Also, when this rash affects the dermis, it can cause hair loss. Candidiasis affecting the nails can result in discolored, thick and cracked nails with redness and swelling of the skin that surrounds it. Candidiasis can also lead to gastrointestinal symptoms that include constipation, bloating, and diarrhea. Hence, yeast infections can result in digestive tract problems, including constipation.
Is Constipation a Sign of Cancer?
Cancer is the leading cause of death among many people these days. Some cancers types are affecting the alimentary region that shows constipation symptoms; however, we cannot generalize this symptom as the definite preliminary for the respective cancers.
To explain this, take an example of colon cancer that affects the final part of the digestive tract (large intestine), which is called the colon. It affects older age people but can occur at any age. It commonly starts as a small, benign (noncancerous) cluster of cells called polyps inside the colon. They develop with time into colon cancers. Polyps are quite small and initially produce few symptoms.
That is why it is recommended to go for regular screening tests; to prevent polyps from turning into colon cancer. Treatment is available, if colon cancer develops, which includes surgery, radiation therapy and, chemotherapy, etc. Its symptoms include a change in bowel movements, including constipation or diarrhea, rectal bleeding, persistent abdominal discomfort like cramps, pain, feeling that bowel doesn’t empty, weakness, fatigue, and weight loss.
A study performed:
in Milan, Italy in 2018, the study revealed that colorectal cancer’s overall incidence is decreasing in the last decade. Although, there is evidence of the growing frequency of early onset of colorectal cancer among young individuals in various countries.
Anal cancer is another type of cancer, which affects the end part of the gastrointestinal tract called the anus. This cancer caused by various risk factors but infection with human papillomavirus contributes to 79% of cases. This type of cancer is rare below the age of 35 years. The diagnosis is more common among the people with an average age of 60 years with women, at a little more risk than men. The most common signs and symptoms include rectal bleeding, changes in bowel movements including constipation, pain, and itching at the anus, fecal incontinence or problems in the bowel movements, and bloating. Usually, women experience lower back pain or vaginal dryness.
Are Constipation and Dehydration Related?
The human body comprises of 75% water. Its significance cannot be deniable because it is a critical requirement for the survival of human beings. Water is present inside the cells, in blood vessels, and in between the cells. A well-balanced water management system is vital for the body. Also, our thirst mechanism guides us when our body is not getting enough water, and we should increase our fluid intake.
Dehydration is a common cause of constipation. By dehydration, we mean more water and fluids are leaving the body than entering it. Even much low levels of dehydration cause constipation, headaches, and lethargy. When an individual becomes dehydrated, the intestines cannot add on adequate water to stools resulting in dry, hard, and lumpy feces which are difficult to expel from the body.
The causes of dehydration include vomiting, diarrhea, and sweating. Individuals more prone to it are athletes, people living at high altitudes, and older people. Its symptoms include dry mouth, dizziness, and lethargy.
Even though water continuously lost from our body while breathing, sweating, urinating, and defecating. We can refill it by drinking enough fluids. Dehydration can be easily reversible by drinking plenty of water; however, severe cases need immediate medical concentration.
Are Constipation and Heartburn Related?
Heartburn is also known as acid reflux is a painful, burning sensation in the chest, right behind your chest bone. It is caused by reflux or the backward flow of stomach contents into the esophagus, which is the organ connecting the mouth to the stomach in the body.
The pain is mostly worse after eating your meal when you lay down or bend over, or in the evening. When it occurs more frequently or hinders with your everyday routine, it is considered gastroesophageal reflux syndrome (GERD).
There are various reasons for the overlap of acid reflux and constipation. The medications like proton pump inhibitors and antacids, which contain aluminum, required for the treatment of acid reflux cause constipation. In some people, specific food allergies like cow milk allergy cause 40% of GERD and 70% of chronic constipation.
A study was performed in 2017 to investigate the frequency and improvement in reflux symptoms among children suffering from GERD along with functional constipation. A significant improvement showed after the constipation treatment on the acid reflux index and other symptoms of GERD, along with the increase in weekly defecation frequency. Hence treating constipation can improve acid reflux (heartburn) among people.
Can Constipation Cause Back Pain?
Constipation might be an underlying cause when speaking about back pain among people. Several studies suggest this possibility.
According to a study published in 2016, a 21-year-old basketball athlete referred to physical therapy for back and hip pain. The athlete reported no specific incident of injury to his lower back or hips but included episodic constipation on his medical history. Hence, patients with low back pain and hip pain without a specific history of injury need to undergo evaluation carefully to rule out any gastrointestinal dysfunction, including constipation.
A randomized controlled trial was performed to learn the effect of a 6-week osteopathic visceral manipulation on flexion- relaxation phenomenon in patients with chronic low back pain and functional constipation in 2018. The results are still to be revealed but are promising.
Will Constipation Cause a Headache?
Headache is pain anywhere in your head. It might occur on one side or all over your head, which may last for a few minutes or even days sometimes.
If you experience a headache when you have constipation, there are chances that you may blame your sluggish bowel for this. There may be a connection between headaches and gut. We know that migraine attacks result in nausea and vomiting. Research indicates that people who suffer frequent headaches are more likely to develop digestive system disorders.
Research results have shown that people who experience symptoms arising from gastrointestinal tract like constipation, reflux, diarrhea and, nausea, possess a higher prevalence of headaches than those without gastrointestinal symptoms.
In 2014, a study performed in Iran to understand the relationship between lower gastrointestinal complaints like constipation and headache among children aged 4-12 years old. The results revealed the prevalence of headache was significantly higher among constipated children. Hence, there is a strong correlation between chronic functional constipation and headache, which can be a result of emotional stress, anxiety, and depression.
These studies suggest a possible link between headache and constipation. If you treat constipation, there are possibilities that the severity and frequency of the headaches will also reduce. If you are experiencing constipation, nausea, or vomiting along with headaches about the treatment options, you should talk to your doctor. Sometimes by treating the headache, gastrointestinal symptoms can also be revealed.
Now, we can conclude that constipation is not untreatable. Sometimes a simple lifestyle and diet change can help one from getting rid of this problem efficiently. If these don’t help, your doctor might suggest some medications or surgery. These include:
- Increase in fiber intake. The weight of your stool and its passage through the intestines speed up; when you add fiber in your diet. You can start this by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Try whole-grain bread and cereal as they contain more fiber. You might get a recommendation to consume a specific number of grams of fiber every day. Generally, it is preferable to aim for 14 grams of fiber per 1000 calories in a diet. Start slowly and increase your amount of fiber intake gradually over a few weeks to avoid gas and bloating, which might result in a sudden increase in fiber intake.
- Exercise. Exercise increases muscle activity in the intestines as well. Try to practice daily or most days of the week. It will speed up the passage of stool through your bowels, and you can get rid of constipation. However, if you are not exercising already, you should check with your doctor as long as you are healthy enough to initiate an exercise program.
- Don’t ignore the urge for a bowel movement. You should take your time in the bathroom by allowing enough time to get the bowel movement without rushing and any distractions.
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