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Constipation

Category: Illnesses and disabilities

Type

Involuntary

Introduction and description

Constipation refers to bowel movements that are infrequent or hard to pass. It is a common cause of 'painful defecation'.

Constipation is common; in the general population incidence of constipation varies from 2 to 30% at any one time and 12% of the population worldwide reports having had constipation.

Symptoms


The symptoms of constipation include the following:

  • infrequent bowel movements (typically three times or fewer per week)

  • difficulty during defecation (straining during more than 25% of bowel movements or a subjective sensation of hard stools), or

  • the sensation of incomplete bowel evacuation

  • bloating, distension, abdominal pain, headaches, a feeling of fatigue and nervous exhaustion

 

Severe constipation includes obstipation - failure to pass stools or gas - and fecal impaction, which can progress to bowel obstruction and become life-threatening.

Causes

 

Constipation can be classified as a Gastrointestinal illness, as such the section on Intestine disease should be read to get a full description of the causes.  Briefly, however, some of the main causes are:

Diet

foods lacking in fibre and food imbalance, for example, too much protein, too many eggs. It can also be caused by nutritional deprivation

Food allergies

 coeliacs ie those unable to process gluten and wheat can suffer from constipation, other food allergies can also cause constipation

Lack of exercise

Exercise helps the circulation which in turn takes oxygen to the digestive organs so that they can work better.  A sluggish person often has a sluggish digestive system.  A simple brief walk round the block helps, there is no need to become a long distance runner!

Structural problems

 for example skeletal and muscle dysfunction, as well as tumours, polyps, cysts or other obstructions benign or otherwise causing blockages.  Note that some of these can in turn be caused by Parasites

Brain damage

 in effect the functions controlling defecation have been damaged.

Emotional traumas

such as forced potty training, fear of public toilets, inadequate access to toilets leading to 'involuntary withholding'.  In general, stress and the invocation of the sympathetic nervous system slows down the whole process of digestion. 

In effect, during 'flight and fight' mode, the gastrointestinal system is shut down, as when chased by a metaphorical dinosaur, the last thing you need is to have to stop to have a wee or a poo.  Thus relaxing helps a great deal in solving many problems of constipation.

Dehydration

 inadequate fluid intake;  a form of nutritional deprivation.

Thyroid problems

Metabolic and other hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism

Pharmaceuticals

The eHealthme site collects the Adverse Drug reports submitted by doctors to the FDA and SEDA in the USA.  It then summarises them for ease of use.  We originally provided a direct link to the Constipation entry listed on this site and the pharmaceuticals that can cause it, but the eHealthme website developers frequently reorganise the site and thus break the links.  Thus in order to find out which pharmaceuticals are implicated in Constipation

  • Follow the LINK to the eHealthme website
  • Using the ‘All conditions’ index find the appropriate entry
  • Now scroll down until you get to the section marked ‘Drugs that could cause

The list shows you all the drugs implicated in CAUSING Constipation as well as the number of people who have made a complaint to their doctor and had their case reported by him.  Note that it is up to the doctor whether he reports or not.

As of October 2016, about 2,700 pharmaceuticals were in this list.  The chart below shows cases of constipation caused by pharmaceuticals and the trend over time.  It is from eHealthme.

The types of pharmaceutical implicated include (but are not limited to);

Heavy metal poisoning

 All the heavy metals produce disruption, often causing brain damage; lead, cadmium and aluminium for example, are much the same in disrupting functions as mercury.  Here we have an example of mercury poisoning.  Ah those dental amalgam fillings again! 

Motor neuron hyperexcitability (MNH) indicates a disorder characterized by an ectopic motor nerve discharge on electromyogram (EMG). Here, we present a series of three cases of subacute MNH with mercury poisoning.

  • The first case showed hyperhidrosis, insomnia, generalied myokymia, cramps, tremor, weight loss, and myokymic and neuromyotonic discharges, followed by encephalopathy with confusion, hallucinations, and memory decrease.
  • The second case was similar to the former but without encephalopathic features.
  • The third case showed widespread fasciculation, fatigue, insomnia, weight loss, and autonomic dysfunction, including constipation, micturition difficulty, and impotence, with multiple fibrillation, unstable fasciculation, widened motor neuron potential, and an incremental response at high-rate stimulation in repetitive nerve stimulation.

All cases recovered several months after chelation therapy and were in good condition at follow-up. PMID:  25227723

Mineral deficiencies and imbalances, including Mineral supplements 

get your mineral intake from food, not supplements

Iron has a strange effect on the body; overdosing on iron via supplements can cause constipation or diarrhoea, depending on the level of poisoning. 

There is the generally held belief that anaemia needs to be treated by iron.  But anaemia is a sign of pathogen attack.  The body increases the white blood cells in order to mount the attack, and reduces the red cells.  This has the effect of reducing oxygen supply, making the person tired, and they sleep - the best remedy whilst the immune system goes to work. 

As a consequence of this erroneous belief that you give an anaemic patient iron supplements, we not only overdose them on iron giving them constipation,  but also completely disrupt the immune response.

Toxins

 Toxins such as pesticides or insecticides are poisonous to the system, as are a whole range of other man-made substance, including many artificial colours and food additives.  The body responds to poisoning normally by giving us diarhoea, but there is also the possibility that the presence of poisons in the atmosphere - for example via pollution, or on the skin as nanoparticle containing lotions or sunblocks, is viewed by the body as a threat, but one which cannot be solved by the flushing action of diarhoea.  In this case, we are in 'flight or fight mode' because we are under attack, and in this mode constipation results.

Treatments

There are two classes of treatment

  • Symptom based treatments – are Laxatives
  • Cause based treatments – try to treat the cause for example foods, exercise, more fluids and water, cessation of damaging pharmaceuticals, help with psychological problems, help with structural dysfunction, chelation therapy for toxins, heavy metals etc. More public toilets and in schools and workplaces regular scheduled toilet breaks, at least once early in the morning and 30 minutes after each meal

The section on Healing yourself provides more help on cause based approaches.  I have provided a number of observations from Pubmed on foods available which have known 'laxative' effects

How it works

The majority of the observations for this activity - if they are not for healing - were caused by the laxatives used to 'treat' the constipation and not constipation itself.

In the other very small number of cases they were caused by the dehydration, for example, or the Extreme pain resulting from the blockage

Related observations