Constipation is defined as infrequent and difficult bowel motions.
The stool is often hard and dry
It is a symptom, not a disease. Most commonly, constipation is thought of as infrequent bowel movements, usually less than 3 stools per week.
Symptoms of Constipation
- Straining with bowel movements
- Excessive time needed to pass a bowel movement
- Hard stools
- Pain with bowel movements secondary to straining
- Abdominal pain
- Reduced appetite
- Abdominal bloating.
- The sensation of incomplete bowel evacuation.
Cause of constipation
The causes can be divided into
A number of diseases present at birth can result in constipation in children. Hirschsprung’s disease (HD) being the most common cause of congenital constipation. There are also congenital structural anomalies that can lead to constipation, including
- Anterior displacement of the anus,
- Imperforate anus
- Small left colon syndrome
These are the functional causes without any underlying pathology.
- To insufficient dietary fiber intake,
- Inadequate fluid intake
- Decreased physical activity.
- In children: typically occurs during weaning, the toilet training phase, or once attending school (because of avoidance of school toilets)
Constipation due to a medical disorder or medication
- Obstruction caused by colorectal carcinoma,
- Narrowing of intestinal tract.
Metabolic and endocrine disorders which may lead to constipation include:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Cystic fibrosis
- Constipation is also common in individuals with muscular and myotonic dystrophy.
- Multiple sclerosis
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Cerebrovascular accident (cva),
- Hirschsprung’s disease
Many medications have constipation as a side effect. Some include
- Supplements such as calcium and iron supplements can also have constipation as a notable side effect.
Diagnosis of Constipation
Functional constipation is common and does not need diagnostic testing. Imaging and laboratory tests are typically recommended if there are any alarm signs or symptoms present.
The laboratory tests performed depends on the suspected underlying cause.
For diagnosis least two of the following symptoms must have occurred in the past 6 months over at least a 12 week period:
- Passage of stool frequency < 3 times/week
- Passage of hard or lumpy stool
- Sensation of incomplete defecation
- Manual maneuvering to empty the bowel
- Straining during attempts to defecate
- Sensation of anorectal obstruction
Conventional Treatment for Constipation
- The treatment should focus on the underlying cause if known.
- In chronic constipation of unknown cause, the main treatment involves the increased intake of water and fiber (either dietary or as supplements).
- The routine use of laxatives is discouraged, as having bowel movements may come to be dependent upon their use.
- Enemas can be used to provide a form of mechanical stimulation.
Homeopathy Treatment for Constipation
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution etc. A miasmatic tendency (predisposition/susceptibility) is also often taken into account for the treatment of chronic conditions. The homeopathic remedies for constipation given below indicate the therapeutic affinity but this is not a complete and definite guide to the treatment of this condition. The symptoms listed against each medicine may not be directly related to this disease because in homeopathy general symptoms and constitutional indications are also taken into account for selecting a homeopathic remedy for constipation. To study any of the following remedies in more detail, please visit our Materia Medica section. None of these homeopathic medicine for constipation should be taken without professional advice.
- Nux vomica
- Plumbum met
- Calcarea carb
- Obstinate constipation; no desire to go to stool.
- Round, hard, black balls.
- Feces protrude and recede.
- Spasmodic retention of feces in small intestines.
- Stools involuntary, black, offensive, frothy.
- Violent pain in rectum, as if pressed asunder.
- Patient wants nothing. Complete loss of consciousness; apoplectic state. Frightful fancies, daring, gay, bright.
- Unable to understand or appreciate his sufferings.
- Constipation; stools hard, lumpy, black with urging and spasm of anus. Obstructed evacuation from impaction of feces.
- Neuralgia of rectum.
- Anus drawn up with constriction.
- Excessive colic, radiating to all parts of body.
- Abdominal wall feels drawn by a string to spine.
- Pain causes desire to stretch.
- Intussusception; strangulated hernia.
- Abdomen retracted.
- Obstructed flatus, with intense colic.
- Colic alternates with delirium and pain in atrophied limbs.
- Rectum feels paralyzed.
- Fissures and hemorrhoids, painful, with spasm of sphincter.
- Stool comes down with difficulty; when partly expelled, recedes again.
- Great straining; rectum stings; closes upon stool.
- Feces remain a long time in rectum.
- Constipation always before and during menses; with irritable sphincter ani. Pain or painful cold feeling in abdomen, better external heat.
- Hard, bloated. Colic; cutting pain, with constipation; yellow hands and blue nails.
- Much rumbling in bowels.
- Inguinal glands swollen and painful.
- Constipation, with frequent ineffectual urging, incomplete and unsatisfactory; feeling as if part remained unexpelled.
- Constriction of rectum.
- Irregular, peristaltic action; hence frequent ineffectual desire, or passing but small quantities at each attempt.
- Absence of all desire for defecation is a contra-indication.
- Alternate constipation and diarrhoea-after abuse of purgatives.
- Urging to stool felt throughout abdomen.
- Itching, blind haemorrhoids, with ineffectual urging to stool; very painful; after drastic drugs.
- Diarrhoea after a debauch; worse, morning.
- Frequent small evacuations.
- Scanty stool, with much urging.
- Dysentery; stools relieve pains for a time.
- Constant uneasiness in rectum.
- Stool hard dry, knotty; no desire.
- Rectum sore, dry, inflamed, bleeding.
- Itching and burning at anus.
- Even a soft stool is passed with difficulty. Great straining.
- Constipation of infants and old people from inactive rectum, and in women of very sedentary habit.
- Evacuation preceded by painful urging long before stool, and then straining at stool.
- Constipation; large, difficult, knotty stools united by mucus threads.
- Burning haemorrhoids.
- stools of brown fluid, mixed with undigested substance, very fetid, sour odor.
- Smarting, sore anus, itching.
- Lump stool, conjoined with threads of mucus.
- Aversion to meat. Sweets nauseate. Hot drinks disagree.
- Nausea and vomiting after each meal.
- Morning sickness during menstruation.
- Pressure in stomach.
- Stomach pain is temporarily relieved by eating, hot drinks especially milk and lying down.
- Fullness and hardness in abdomen, as from incarcerated flatulence; must loosen clothing; presses painfully at abdominal ring.
- Inguinal region sensitive, swollen. Pain of gas opposite the side on which he lies.
- Crawling and constriction of stool in rectum.
- Stool large and hard (Bry); whitish, watery, sour.
- Prolapse ani, and burning, stinging haemorrhoids.
- Diarrhoea of undigested, food, fetid, with ravenous appetite.
- Constipation; stool at first hard, then pasty, then liquid.