Constipation

external image constipation.jpg

What is constipation?
Basically...
constipation is when your poo comes out hard and dry or can't come out at all. Some people can feel less energised or bloated when constipated.
Technically...
constipation is the result of food travelling too slowly in the large intestine. The large intestine is the second-last part of the digestion process. It absorbs water and certain vitamins and processes unprocessed fibre. Once the food has passed through the large intestine it is stored in the rectum as waste. Food that travels too slowly, resulting in constipation, has too much water removed making the faeces dry and essentially hard to come out.





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Above: what a normal large intestine looks like (right) and what a constipated large intestine looks like.
Why is my poo so dry?
There are a number of reasons why you have constipation.
-Diet. A diet with a lack of fibre and water can cause constipation. Fibre helps your bowels (large intestine) to work properly and water helps to keep your poop soft while travelling through the large intestine so that it doesn't come out hard and dry.
-Excercise. Not enough exercise can cause constipation though doctors don't know why. It is probably because movement helps our body to digest food.
-Stress. Research has shown that anxiety and stress can affect how the digestive system works causing constipation.
-Changes in life or of routine. During routine changes like pregnancy, hormones change and organs may expand and disturb functions of the body. Life changes like aging can cause constipation as parts of the body slows down resulting in less activity of the large intestine.
-Medicine. Some laxatives (pills) especially those that help iron-defficient people have constipation as a side-effect.
-Not going when you need to. Not going to the toilet when you feel you have to may over time make it harder for you to go and do your business.


(above) a lack of excercise can cause constipation
(above) a lack of excercise can cause constipation


(above) antidepressants like these can also cause constipation
(above) antidepressants like these can also cause constipation




Symptons of Constipation
The most obvious symptons of constipation includes not being able to plop as easily as you previously could and if your poo comes out hard and dry. Another big sympton is if you're not pooping as much as you used to. The amount of times we excrete varies from person to person but generally if we don't clear our butts more than three times a week it is catergorized as constipation. There are other symptons of constipation including:
-feeling bloated or full quite often
-finding it painful while going through a bowel movement (pooping).
-finding blood on the toilet paper that was used to wipe your butt.


(above) constipation can make you feel bloated
(above) constipation can make you feel bloated




(above) if you find blood on the toilet paper used to wipe your butt it may be a sign of  constipation
(above) if you find blood on the toilet paper used to wipe your butt it may be a sign of constipation

How to treat constipation
There are many ways of treating constipation including eating lots of fibrous foods like vegetables and cereal bran and drinking lots of fluids. Fibre will help food to pass through the large instestine quicker and fluids will help the food stay moist resulting in generally healthier poop. Getting some physical excercise and going to plop when you need to will also help. If constipation gets too serious medication and even surgery can be taken.

(above) vegetables can help treat constipation
(above) vegetables can help treat constipation



Bibliography

Constipation
http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/constipation/#treatment
Last visited on 29/6/2011

Constipation
http://kidshealth.org/teen/diseases_conditions/digestive/constipation.html#
Last visited on 29/6/2011
Large Intestine
http://www.gesa.org.au/digestive-system/large_intestine.cfm
Last visited on 24/6/2011





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Sarah Fung