Lack Of Physical Activity
A sedentary lifestyle may lead to abdominal pain and constipation. Regular physical activity reduces the amount of time it takes food to move through the gut.
Exercise also increases heart rate and the contraction of muscles throughout the body, including those in the intestines. When intestinal muscles contract, they help push stool along.
A on adolescents from Hong Kong suggests that there is a dose-response relationship between physical activity and constipation, with symptoms improving as a person does more exercise.
Q: What Causes Constipation
A: Constipation happens when your bowel movements occur less often or cause more strain than usual. Dr. Zutshi says there are three kinds of constipation:
- Normal transit constipation.
- Slow transit constipation.
- Outlet defecation syndrome or ODS, a type of chronic constipation involving hard stool and an inability to pass stool that occurs at least once a week for six months.
Normal transit and slow transit constipation are both considered motility disturbances. And to understand motility, look no further than the morning commute.
Motility is how well the roads or in this case, the muscles in your gastrointestinal tract are moving.
- Normal transit is like driving the speed limit until some roadwork at your exit derails your expected arrival time. Stool moves through your GI system normally, but a problem such as hard stool makes it difficult to pass.
- Slow transit is bumper-to-bumper traffic the whole way through. The muscles in your GI system contract slowly, causing the stool to take a long time to get to its final destination. You go less often, with more straining and harder stool.
And just like there are many causes for snarled roadways, there are different reasons your inner streets are backing up, such as a lack of:
You have less control over these other constipation causes:
- Medical conditions, including diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome or even a spinal cord injury.
- Medications such as antidepressants or herbal supplements.
- Being pregnant.
What Treatment Is Available For Constipation
Most treatment is self-managed and based around dietary and lifestyle changes:
- Dietary changes: Regular meals and an adequate fluid intake are the mainstays of treating and preventing constipation. Although drinking more than this is unlikely to make a difference.
- A high fibre diet: this may help some patients with constipation. This should include a mixture of high fibre foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, wholemeal bread and pasta, wholegrain cereals and brown rice. The aim should be to include a high fibre food at each meal along with five portions of fruit or vegetables each day. Some people may find that it helps to eat more fruit and vegetables while others might prefer cereals and grains. Eating more fibre may lead to bloating and can worsen discomfort, so it is important to increase levels slowly. Fibre is most helpful for people with mild symptoms of constipation, however if the condition is severe then continuing to increase fibre may make symptoms worse.
See our information here on fibre:
If you are struggling with your diet, ask your GP for a referral to a dietitian.
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Can Constipation Cause Leg Pain
Does constipation typically cause leg pain? Although leg pain is not normally associated with constipation, constipation can cause back pain, which can lead to pain or discomfort in other areas of the body.
Treating constipation normally involves changes in diet and exercise, but sometimes prescription medication is needed to keep the fecal matter from becoming impacted.
What Is Causing My Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain is pain that you feel anywhere between your chest and pelvic region and can range from a minor problem to one needing urgent attention. Dr. Indran Indrakrishnan at Gwinnett Digestive Clinic in Lawrenceville, GA, offers the latest treatments for gastrointestinal conditions.
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How Is Constipation Treated
Most cases of mild to moderate constipation can be managed by you at home. Self-care starts by taking an inventory of what you eat and drink and then making changes.
Some recommendations to help relieve your constipation include:
- Drink two to four extra glasses of water a day. Avoid caffeine-containing drinks and alcohol, which can cause dehydration.
- Add fruits, vegetables whole grains and other high-fiber foods to your diet. Eat fewer high-fat foods, like meat, eggs and cheese.
- Eat prunes and/or bran cereal.
- Keep a food diary and single out foods that constipate you.
- Get moving, exercise.
- Check how you sit on the toilet. Raising your feet, leaning back or squatting may make having a bowel movement easier.
- Add an over-the-counter supplemental fiber to your diet .
- If needed, take a very mild over-the-counter stool softener or laxative . Mineral oil enemas, like Fleet®, and stimulant laxatives, like bisacodyl or senna , are other options. There are many laxative choices. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for help in making a choice. Do not use laxatives for more than two weeks without calling your doctor. Overuse of laxatives can worsen your symptoms.
- Do not read, use your phone or other devices while trying to move your bowels.
How You Can Treat Constipation At Home
If constipation is a pretty new thing for you , you should try to remedy things at home.
It may sound obvious, but really, the best ways to help your digestion are to eat a diet high in fiber , stay hydrated, and exercise, says Latorre.
If you’re not moving, neither are your bowels,” says Chutkan. Increase your unprocessed fiber intake from natural sources, like fruits, vegetables, and legumes, and make sure you’re upping your H20 intake to move everything smoothly through your system.
If that doesnt work, try a fiber supplement or one to two tablespoons of pure psyllium husk with plenty of water, says Chutkan.
Beyond lifestyle updates, you could also try laxativesand there are two main types: osmotic and stimulant. Osmotic laxatives help pull water into your colon to hydrate stool,” while stimulant laxatives actually contract your bowels, says Latorre. But, keep in mind, if youre using laxatives regularly, that’s a sign you need to visit a gastroenterologist, she adds.
But yeah, don’t ignore it if you haven’t pooped in awhile: “Stool is waste matter,” says Chutkan. “It’s toxic, and it’s not supposed to be hanging around in your colon for several days at a time.”
So even if your symptoms arent bad enough for you to head to the hospital, you should still try to get your pipes movingASAP.
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Using Hot Water Bottles To Relieve Stomachache
Hot compresses can help soothe stomach pain. The word hot is used loosely here, since the desired level of heat will depend on both the level of pain and personal preference.
Fill the bottle or similar object with warm or hot water, place a cloth between it and your skin, and find a comfortable place to lie down.
- Place the hot water bottle, or a cloth soaked in hot water, on stomach for a five- to 10-minute treatment throughout the day.
- Take a warm shower or bath twice a day for 15- to 20-minute intervals.
Treatment Options For Constipation And Back Pain
The first line of treatment for constipation is changing what you eat. Try adding more fiber and water to your diet to help soften your stool and make it easier to pass.
If constipation occurs after starting a new diet or taking a new medication, call your doctor. They can help you adjust the diet or medication or give the OK to stop it altogether.
Some common treatments for constipation include the following:
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity promotes proper circulation and keeps your bowels healthy.
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While you might need an early-morning coffee fix or a nightly wine-and-dine for your sanity, swigging excess caffeine and alcohol could rob your body of the hydration it needs to have a proper bowel movement. “Drinking alcohol inhibits anti-diuretic hormone , and in doing this it causes diuresis, or urination,” says Bhavesh Shah, M.D., medical director of interventional gastroenterology at Memorial Medical Center in Long Beach. “More diuresis can lead to dehydration, which can make the symptoms of constipation worse. Likewise, caffeine is a stimulant that can cause the opposite effect of diarrhea in some individuals.”
Water might not exactly be a beverage that’ll turn your mood around on a dime, but it’s the best thing to pour in your glass when you’re feeling stopped up. “Adequate daily fluid intake is essential, and the average healthy woman should try to consume at least 91 ounces of water daily,” says James-Stevenson. If you like to have options in terms of flavor, prune juice is the go-to alternative to the clear stuff for constipation relief.
This easy water bottle hack will help you stay properly hydrated every single day:
For those of us who can’t get by without our Greek yogurt, the good news is that not all dairy has to be off-limits: “Good alternatives with lower amounts of lactose include lactose-free milk sherbets ‘hard’ cheeses, like Swiss, parmesan and blue and yogurt,” says James-Stevenson.
Stomach Pain When Standing Up
Stomach pain is quite a common phenomenon. However, it can vary from person to person. The pain can be similar to cramps that radiate from one single point. Cramps can be pretty hard to deal with. They may end up hampering your day-to-day activities.
The pain can also be dull and blunt. Such pain isnt usually consistent. They come and go from time to time. Even though stomach pain can happen at any time of the day, it is observed that the pain is usually most noticeable during the morning.
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It can be due to acid reflux or intestines preparing for bowel movement. You can experience stomach pain when standing up as it changes your posture and orientation. It can contribute to the incidence of pain. However, there can be an underlying cause for the pain.
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Does Not Having Regular Bowel Movements Cause Toxins To Build Up In My Body And Make Me Sick
Dont worry, this usually isnt the case. Although your colon holds on to stool longer when you are constipated and you may feel uncomfortable, the colon is an expandable container for your waste. There is possibly a slight risk of a bacterial infection if waste gets into an existing wound in the colon or rectum.
Constipation Symptoms And Signs
You are likely be constipated if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Fewer bowel movements than normal
- Pain and straining when passing stools
- Stomach pain
- Lack of exercise
- Some medicines, especially pain killers
- Some people with neurological problems such as Parkinsons disease or Multiple Sclerosis are prone to constipation
- Surgery around the anus can sometimes be a cause of constipation mainly due to pain when emptying the bowel afterwards
- Conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome , Colitis and Crohns Disease
- Ignoring the urge to open the bowels
- There is a strong connection between emotional feelings and how the gut works. Feeling upset can make your bowel slow down or speed up.
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Either Way Get Thee To A Doc
You likely wont know the true culprit of your stomach pain until you consult a medical professional. If you have an infection, a gyno should be able to prescribe antibiotics to clear it up. If its something else that theyre not able to directly address, theyll likely refer you out to someone who can.
If the issue is due to pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, a pelvic floor specialist would be able to address the muscles in and around the pelvis, which can provide relief, Dr. Gelman says.
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Counseling And Stress Relief
Many people who seek care for IBS also have anxiety, panic, or depression. Stress is also an issue for people with IBS because it can make the symptoms worse. Research shows that psychological therapy can help ease IBS symptoms. Therapies that can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy , a short-term treatment that mixes different types of therapies and behavioral strategies. The type of CBT used to treat IBS may focus on managing life stress. Or, it may focus on changing how a person responds to anxiety about IBS symptoms.
- Dynamic psychotherapy, an intensive, short-term form of talk therapy. It may focus on in-depth discussions about the link between symptoms and emotions. The therapy may also help people identify and resolve interpersonal conflicts.
- Hypnotherapy, where people enter an altered state of consciousness. Visual suggestions are made to imagine pain going away, for example.
General stress relief is also important. Exercising regularly is a good way to relieve stress. It also helps the bowel function better and improves overall health. Meditation, yoga, and massage may also help.
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What Causes Sudden And Severe Abdominal Pain
Sudden and severe abdominal pain should never be ignored. Steadily worsening abdominal pain may also be a sign of a serious condition.
If you have these symptoms, go immediately to your nearest hospital emergency department or call triple zero and ask for an ambulance.
Some of the causes of serious abdominal pain include:
What Causes Abdominal Pain
There are many underlying causes of abdominal pain. Some of these are short-term causes that arent serious the symptoms may last only hours or days, and may clear up by themselves. Others are longer lasting and may be more serious.
There are also causes of abdominal pain that require urgent medical attention and may be life-threatening.
Some causes of abdominal pain are more common or less likely in certain age groups or genders.
Children often get stomach or abdominal pain. Some of the most common causes are gastroenteritis, wind or indigestion. Some causes of abdominal pain apply mainly to children, such as colic, intussusception, and testicular torsion. For more information on these, see abdominal pain in children.
Women may experience abdominal pain associated with their periods, pregnancy or problems with their urinary or reproductive system.
Older people are more likely than younger people to have abdominal pain due to heart or lung problems, bowel obstruction, or conditions such as diverticulitis or gallstones.
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Bloody Bowel Movements Or Blood On Toilet Paper
There is nothing scarier than going to the bathroom and seeing blood in the toilet or on the toilet paper. Bloody bowel movements or blood on toilet paper can be caused by several things, including anal fissures , hemorrhoids , and other GI conditions, including IBD. If you are experiencing blood with bowel movements, you should schedule a visit to a gastroenterologist.
Why Does Belly Pain Happen
Pain is the bodys way of telling us that somethings going on. Belly pain alerts us to something thats happening inside us that we might not know about otherwise.
Some reasons for belly pain are easy to spot, like when someone gets hit in the gut or eats spoiled macaroni salad. Oher times, it might be hard to figure out.
When you get a pain in your stomach, it might be an actual problem right in your stomach, but not necessarily. Your abdomen is more than your stomach. Its more than your intestines. Its the whole area between your chest and your pelvic bones. With so many organs in the abdomen, different problems can have similar symptoms.
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What Is The Treatment For Ibs
There is no cure for IBS, but there are things you can do to feel better. Treatment may include:
- Changing your diet
Your doctor may give you medicine to help with symptoms:
- Fiber supplements such as psyllium to help control constipation.
- Anti-diarrheal medications, such as loperamide , to help control diarrhea.
- Antispasmodic agents such as peppermint oil or dicyclomine to slow contractions in the bowel, which may help with diarrhea and pain.
- Antidepressant medications such as a tricylcic antidepressant or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor if symptoms include pain or depression.
- IBS medication. A medication known as Lubiprostone is approved by the FDA for women with severe IBS-C .
Take your medicine exactly as your doctor tells you to. All drugs have side effects and may affect people differently. Tell your doctor about any over-the-counter medicines you take.
How Do Doctors Find The Cause Of A Bellyache
Your doctor will first ask you some questions, examine you, and maybe do some tests. Your doctor may suggest you take some medicine or might give you special instructions for eating to help your body heal the bellyache.
If it turns out that you have appendicitis, you will need an operation called an appendectomy .
If stress is behind your stomach problems, your doctor may recommend a specialist, such as a psychologist. These experts can help kids figure out the source of the stress and help them come up with some ideas for how to fix the problems or handle them better.
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Q: How Long Is Too Long To Be Constipated
A: Dr. Zutshi explains: It depends if youre regularly regular or not.
People who have constipation frequently know what to do when it strikes. Theyll try home remedies during the two or three weeks they dont have a bowel movement. And then if nothing works, they see a doctor, says Dr. Zutshi.
But if youresomeone who doesnt usually experience constipation, see a doctor sooner. Dr.Zutshi recommends making an appointment if constipation lasts longer than aweek.