When Can Constipation Kill You? Find out!.
(photo credit: SHUTTERSTOCK)
If you have symptoms of constipation, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We don’t like to talk about it much, but the fact is, as many as 30% of Americans are constipated right now! And some of those people struggle with constipation for months, years, even a lifetime. But you don’t have to suffer from constipation symptoms.
Functional vs Organic Constipation: Which do you have?
Most constipation symptoms are caused by “Chronic Idiopathic Constipation”, or CIC, which is a fancy way of saying Functional Constipation. This is constipation that has no physical cause - or at least no cause the doctors have found, yet. Doctors diagnose CIC simply by ruling out the physical causes, until by process of elimination they still have no idea what’s causing it.
Usually Functional Constipation isn’t very painful, and is often chronic. Besides bad diet, leading causes of constipation symptoms vary. This is the #1 cause of constipation symptoms!
The other cause of constipation symptoms is Organic Constipation. This is the one that can kill, in extreme cases. Organic constipation is caused either by a blockage of some type (mechanical/physical causes) or “slow colonic transit” (hormonal imbalance, medication side effects).
Functional Constipation Causes
The #1 type of constipation, it isn’t life-threatening but may be chronic, uncomfortable, and can impact your daily living activities if it gets bad enough.
- Bad diet - not enough fiber, for one, or drinking too little water (dehydration).
- Psychosomatic - A deep, possibly subconscious wish to avoid defecation. Sometimes due to childhood painful bowel movements
- Stress - if you are tightly wound or anxious, it can affect the involuntary muscles of the internal anal sphincter (the one you don’t have conscious control of!)
Organic Constipation Causes
Organic constipation is the rarer type, but also the more dangerous. In fact, it’s responsible for almost all constipation-related deaths, and virtually all hospitalizations for constipation symptoms.
- Medication Side Effects - Narcotics are especially notorious for causing constipation, but diuretics, antidepressants, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, OTC antacids, and certain Calcium Channel Blockers all play a role in causing painful constipation symptoms
- Metabolic and Muscular - Celiac disease is gaining awareness as a cause of organic constipation. Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes and Hypothyroidism can also be underlying causes!
- Structural Abnormalities - A wide range of abnormalities can cause organic constipation, including anal fissures, colon cancer, Parkinson's, “Pelvic Floor Dysfunction”, and proctitis
Usual Treatments for Constipation Relief
These are the methods doctors usually prescribe. The single most common treatment for chronic constipation is changing lifestyle - more water, more fiber, more exercise. These things are always good ideas, of course, but they don’t provide immediate relief of constipation symptoms.
Physical intervention is sometimes prescribed as well - using your hands (fingers) to physically remove fecal matter that is stuck in the lower bowel.
More often, laxatives are prescribed. These use harsh chemicals to force muscle contractions that provide immediate relief. Unfortunately - as any doctor will tell you - regular use of laxatives can cause chronic constipation as the body comes to rely on the chemicals to have a bowel movement. They often have other side effects as well; just read any laxative warning label!
Amazing New Alternative Constipation Treatments
So what does the research say?
Basically, it says this: when Mother Nature meets Modern Science, you can get immediate relief from constipation symptoms. Relief that is long term, 100% safe, and 100% non-addictive. Science is becoming aware that specific herbal remedies assist the body with supportive tools to rejuvenate itself - without chemicals, and regardless of what’s causing symptoms!
So, it is vitally important that you get a diagnosis from a doctor about the cause of your constipation - some of the underlying causes of constipation symptoms can be life-threatening. And, follow their directions!