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If the bowel movement happens less than four times a week it would be dubbed constipation. This is such a common problem that it accounts for the most number of over-the-counter drugs after headache. Constipation is a symptom and not a disease which is temporary and should be resolved over a period of time.

As food moves through the colon or the large intestine, water is absorbed to form waste products in the form of stool. There are a few common causes of constipation.

i) Fibre in the foods like fruits, vegetables, grains in the body are not broken down by food but mix up in water making it as a soft-gel like structure in the intestines mixing with the wastes that body produces and are helped to be cleared easily by the rectum. But in individuals who do not eat the required amount of fibre, constipation is very likely to arise.

ii) Liquids add to the fluid level in the colon and make it easy for the stool to pass through.

People who ingest lesser amount of liquids are more likely to suffer from the condition. But coffee, tea and alcohol do not come under the category of liquids in this context because these tend to cause only dehydration as they draw away from the large intestine.

iii) Lack of physical activity triggers off an acute episode of constipation as individuals who have been involved in accidents are temporarily bed ridden are more likely to suffer from constipation.

iv) Certain medicines like iron supplements, antacids, anti depressants and anti convulsants are likely to cause this condition.

v) Certain conditions wherein metabolism slows down like ageing, pregnancy and travel when the routine is disrupted is likely to lead to this condition.

vi) People who pop in laxatives at the slightest pretext are likely to suffer with this problem.

vii) Certain diseases like diabetes, hypothyroidism, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease etc. are likely to cause such a condition.

viii) More often than not constipation occurs due to poor lifestyle and eating habits. But it could occur due to slowness of the colon, pelvic floor dysfunction etc. Attention towards getting rid of constipation would primarily be through improvement in the intake of fibre in the regular diets and other lifestyle change like exercise etc. The urge for a bowel movement at the appropriate time should not be ignored.

Homoeopathic medicine has remedies like Nux vomica, Plumbum met, Opiumwhich help in stimulating the muscles of the large intestines to have better contractions and expel stool. There are some remedies like Mag carb, Mag mur, Aluminawhich help in softening the stool and making the passage that much less difficult. Of course on a case to case basis the proper cause is identified and then appropriately treated.


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