Constipation part 2
Diseases associated with and treatment of constipation
Constipation or a symptom of it or a side effect of constipation either causes diseases that are related to it. These could also be diseases that increase the risk factor of constipation.
Here are some examples of such diseases:
Cancer of the colon
By far the most important of the diseases that are related to the colon is cancer of the colon. In the last week edition of the Guardian Newspaper, I wrote about the colon as the site where the greatest amounts of acid wastes were generated. Furthermore, in the mist of the constipation that has slowed down the movement of faecal matter in the colon, more and more acids and toxins are generated. With the accumulation of these wastes colon, the colon becomes anaerobic, acidic and a conducive site for the growth and development of cancer cells. As cancer grows in the colon, it constricts and obliterates the lumen of the colon worsening the constipation. The acid wastes generated in the colon are known to have caused cancer in organs and sites far removed from the colon.
This is a chronic disease that is characterized by abnormally high blood levels of glucose. Insulin, which should drive glucose into the cells, has failed and the cells have become less and less responsive to it. Frequent urination and urgency are common symptoms, which will eventually lead to dehydration and then constipation.
Tears or cuts in the anus or the wall of the anal canal are known as anal fissures. More often than not, anal fissure is caused by trauma – forced passage of hard, sticky and bulky faecal mass, as seen in a case of constipation. Pain is the most common symptom and the fear of experiencing such pain will lead to constipation the next time the bowel is to be open.
Intestinal gas (belching, bloating and flatulence)
Belching is the passage of gas through the mouth. Commonly, this gas comes from air that has been swallowed. Belching may also come from an abdominal discomfort as a result of bacterial action.
Bloating is a feeling of fullness in the abdomen. This is subjective and may not really be found to be so.
Flatulence is the passing out of gas from the body through the anus. It is usual for the human being to fart. However, when it becomes excessive, it is said to be as a result of bacterial activity in the intestines. When certain types of food such as sugar are being digested, flatulence may become more frequent.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a disease of the intestines, which is characterized by abdominal pain, cramping, flatulence, bloating, altered bowel habits and food intolerance.
Anorexia nervosa (anorexia)
Anorexia is an eating disorder where the individual deliberately starve herself in order that she may lose weight. It is characterized by abnormally low body weight, infertility, amenorrhoea (no menstruation) and constipation. The loss of weight in some cases may be so severe as to be life-threatening. Women are a lot more affected than men; the ratio is in the neighbourhood of 1:9 (men: women).
Chronic idiopathic constipation
The cause of this type of constipation is unknown. It is commonly seen among women, the elderly and patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Unfortunately, this type of constipation cannot be managed at home with diet and water.
Haemorrhoidal veins are usually located in the rectum and anal regions of the gastrointestinal tract. Under normal circumstances, these blood vessels remain intact and painless. However, due to increased pressure while bearing down, the vessels may become swollen and begin to protrude out through the anus. This is usually accompanied by pain. Causes of haemorrhoids include diarrhoea, pregnancy, obesity, chronic cough such as tuberculosis and BPH.
A diverticulum is a pouch or an outward bulge on the wall of an organ or a tubular structure like the colon. The diverticulum protruding into the lumen of the colon can cause a reduction in the transit time of the stools causing constipation. Diverticulitis occurs when the diverticulosis becomes inflamed and infected. This frequently takes place when the diverticulum ruptures leading to a more severe constipation.
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