Like dysmenorrhea in girls, constipation is one annoying condition but often brush off because it’s common. It doesn’t greatly bother one’s day-to-day routine and can work it out during breaks. Though some may neglect or make jokes out of it, there are serious underlying illnesses that are connected to constipation. After all what involves in constipation is body waste that need to dispose ASAP.
According to US’ National Institute on Aging, there’s no specific count for normal bowel movement because it depends on one’s body system. Some can do it twice a day, while others only poop weekly. However they suggest the normal is three times in a week.
“You may become constipated if you don’t eat enough high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Also, eating a lot of high-fat meats, dairy products and eggs, or rich desserts and sugary sweets may cause constipation. People who live alone may lose interest in cooking and eating. As a result, they start using prepared foods. These foods tend to be low in fiber and may lead to constipation. Also, people who have problems with their teeth tend to choose soft, processed foods that contain little fiber,” NIA shared. “Water and other liquids may help people stay regular.
The agency also informed that lack of exercise; medical conditions such as stroke and diabetes, medications like antacids with aluminum or calcium, iron supplements, few allergy medicines; and intake of too many laxatives and enemas can cause constipation.
There are Filipinos who are holding back their bowel movement because they can’t find decent public toilet or they prefer to unload at their homes. But NIA warned holding it too long can lead to constipation as well.
Refusing to defecate was also the problem of 16-year old Emily Titterington, which dramatically led to her death. According to Independent’s report, the mildly autistic Titterington feared to go in the toilet because of her constipation and it went on for eight weeks before she suffered from cardiac arrest. The report also indicated that the teenager didn’t participate in her medications like taking laxatives during her suffering.
“I could see that her abdomen was grossly extended. Her lower ribs had been pushed out further than her pubic bone – I was shocked,” paramedic Lee Taylor shared when he saw Titterington’s body on the night she succumbed from cardiac arrest.
Taylor testimony was also similar to Dr. Amanda Jeffery, a home pathologist, who did the autopsy on Emily’s body. Jeffrey said what she saw was “like nothing I have ever seen before – it was dramatic”.
In an interview with Women’s Health Magazine, Robynne Chutkan, M.D., a gastroenterologist in Chevy Chase, Maryland pointed out that treating constipation is pretty simple like taking lots of fiber, regular exercise, and water. If regular intake of fiber doesn’t work that’s the time to drink more water and eat fruits, legumes, and vegetables.
“The important thing is that stool is waste matter,” the author of ‘Gutbliss: A 10-Day Plan to Ban Bloat, Flush Toxins, and Dump Your Digestive Baggage’ shared. “It’s toxic, and it’s not supposed to be hanging around in your colon for several days at a time.”