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Category: Illnesses and disabilities
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.
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.
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:
foods lacking in fibre and food imbalance, for example, too much protein, too many eggs. It can also be caused by nutritional deprivation
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!
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
in effect the functions controlling defecation have been damaged.
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.
inadequate fluid intake; a form of nutritional deprivation.
Metabolic and other hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism
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);
- opioids (e.g. common pain killers),
- ACE inhibitors and
- Aluminum antacids
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
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 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.
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
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
- A combination of fibre-rich rye bread and yoghurt containing Lactobacillus GG improves bowel function in women with self-reported constipation 021415
- Asafoetida and health 005333
- Atharvaveda - I 3 Charm against constipation and retention of urine 015857
- Avicenna - The Canon of Medicine - The importance of nutrition and effective 'purging' 011863
- Benefits of prunes 006752
- Beverley-Travis natural laxative mixture005745
- Bingen, Hildegard of - Ginger 022694
- Bruno, Giordano – On Magic - The Humours and rhubarb 016073
- Burdock - Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences 017012
- Chilean edible sea macroalgae as sources of dietary fiber 016971
- Coffee as a laxative 005613
- Constipation anise and other plants 006260
- Constipation is relieved more by rye bread than wheat bread or laxatives without increased adverse gastrointestinal effects 021418
- Croll, Oswald - Preface of Signatures – 04 016022
- Dr Duke's list of Chemicals and their Biological Activities in: Prunella vulgaris L. (Lamiaceae) -- Heal-All, Self-Heal 018270
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Aperient activity 018468
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Purgative Activity 018469
- Dr Duke's list of chemicals and activity for the Shallot 017969
- Dr Duke's top 20 plants with laxative properties 017657
- Effects of two natural medicine formulations on irritable bowel syndrome symptoms: a pilot study 017211
- Feverfew - The Healing power of herbs – Ceres Esplan 019998
- Fiber ..... in the therapy of chronic constipation 020862
- Figs and constipation 012382
- Figs, constipation and 'thick blood' 012378
- Flax seeds, prunes and yoghurt for constipation 005516
- IBS and exclusion diets 006245
- Kiwi fruit for constipation 012365
- Lentils, peas, beans and health 005533
- Medicinal jam 006773
- Mrs Grieve on Agar-Agar 020498
- Mrs Grieve on Almonds 020768
- Mrs Grieve on Aloes 020769
- Mrs Grieve on Apples 016642
- Mrs Grieve on Artichokes 006976
- Mrs Grieve on Asafoetida 016644
- Mrs Grieve on Asparagus 016645
- Mrs Grieve on Barberry bark and root exract 008092
- Mrs Grieve on Carrots and Parsnips 005539
- Mrs Grieve on Cloves 005550
- Mrs Grieve on Common bugle 021240
- Mrs Grieve on Dandelions 016646
- Mrs Grieve on Feverfew 020008
- Mrs Grieve on Figs 012385
- Mrs Grieve on Marsh mallow 017239
- Mrs Grieve on Rhubarb 017513
- Mrs Grieve on Strawberries 005544
- Mrs Grieve on liquorice 005547
- Physico-chemical evaluation of bitter and non-bitter Aloe and their raw juice for human consumption 020988
- Probiotics and prebiotics - pros and cons 006251
- Rye bread improves bowel function and decreases the concentrations of some compounds that are putative colon cancer risk markers in middle-aged women and me 021417
- Soustelle - Aztecs and Mexica - Healing with plants 011458
- Wholegrains and constipation 005525
- Wholegrains, sweetcorn and constipation 005526
- Bitter orange, hallucinations and toxic effects 005799
- Body packer's hallucinations 006242
- Diflucan and Fluconazole 006895
- Enulose 018951
- Gluten Sensitivity 023512
- Hallucinations from morning sickness 012996
- Hallucinatios and Lyme disease 006851
- Lamisil 006893
- Mineral imbalance, anorexia and hallucinations 012801
- Potentially modifiable resident characteristics that are associated with physical or verbal aggression among nursing home residents with dementia 019467
- Retained waste as a toxin 006244
- Tegaserod, Zelnorm and Zelmac 017433
- Vincristine hallucinations 006929