Chronic Constipation means hardening of stools in the intestine. Over time, more and more hardened stools accumulate, causing a blockage in the intestines.

Being unable to pass stools once in a while, is nothing to be worried about. A couple of bananas will do the trick! However, if you keep getting constipated often then it is definitely a cause for concern. It is likely that you have chronic constipation and delay in treatment may lead to complications.


Causes for Constipation:


  • Insufficient amount of fibre in your diet
  • Poor intake of fluids
  • Certain Medication
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Blockage in the colon or rectum
  • Lack of physical exercise

Working on these probable causes and eliminating them, is usually all the action you need to take to get your bowel movement back on schedule. However, in some cases, the cure is not so simple.


Symptoms of Constipation:


There are some telltale signs that can alert you to chronic constipation:


  • Passing lesser than 3 stools in a week
  • Hard, lumpy stools
  • Straining to pass stools
  • Having to press on the abdomen to pass stools
  • Feeling a blockage in the rectum

If these symptoms persist for more than five days and you do not have a satisfactory bowel movement, it is best to check with the doctor. Untreated constipation can lead to complications.


6 Complications of Constipation


  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

    This condition occurs when the good bacteria from the large intestine end up in the small intestine where they do not belong. Constipation is one of the causes of this condition. This overgrowth of small intestinal bacteria in the large intestines leads to irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Haemorrhoids

    When constipated, in order to pass stools, the person needs to strain a lot, which results in the swelling of the veins around the rectum and anus. This is a type of varicose vein around the anus. These swollen veins are called haemorrhoids or piles and are usually found just under the skin around the anus or in the inner lining of the anus or rectum. Haemorrhoids can be quite painful and cause bleeding while passing stools.

  • Anal Fissures

    Passing hard stools can cause small tears in the tissues around the anus. These tears are called Anal Fissure and can make passing stools quite painful. The fissures are generally small and will heal, but in some cases of chronic constipation, these fissures can grow larger and affect the muscles around the anus. Surgery might be the only possibility in such a situation.

  • Impaction

    Chronic Constipation means the hardening of stools in the intestine. Over time, increasingly hardened stools accumulate, causing a blockage in the intestines. This is termed as Impaction and can be quite a painful condition. The inability to pass stools may cause the individual to even vomit. It is one of the more severe complications of constipation and may even require heading to the emergency room for treatment.

  • Rectal Prolapse

    Straining to pass hard stools out of the body weakens the muscles and connective tissues around the anus. If constipation persists it could lead to rectal prolapse in which the large intestines stretch and slip outside the body. It could be just a part of the rectum or the whole of it. While it may appear similar to piles or haemorrhoids, they are both quite different conditions and require different modes of treatment.

  • Hormonal Changes

    Constipation inhibits the elimination of excess estrogen from the body and instead leads to its reabsorption in the colon. Elevated levels of estrogen are associated with allergies, weight gain and fatigue.

  • Prevention is definitely better than cure! Consuming adequate fibre and drinking enough fluids will help support your bowel movements on schedule. When you have a proper schedule, you will definitely notice when you miss a bowel movement. If the situation does not correct itself, and you start experiencing pain and passing of hard stools, it’s best to get a doctor’s opinion.


    CONSULTANT - GASTROENTEROLOGIST at Dr.Kamakshi Memorial Hospitals
    Reviewed By: