Extreme constipation. While growing up, I waged a never-ending war with an inability to, well, poop. I don’t know if perhaps my body just failed in giving me the normal physical signals to go, or what to attribute this problem to.
The results of not going for a week or more
at a time proved to be quite consequential.
I can remember one day in particular when I was about nine years old. I had gone almost two weeks without relieving myself. I was at a friend’s house playing when the effects of this hit me with sudden, mind numbing pain. The pain was so intense I doubled over. I vomited and felt as though I would die.
Unbelievable nausea ensued and my stomach and gut cramped up with horrid levels of agonizing pain. My friend’s mother quickly drove me home, where my mother gave me the faithful water bag enema. It flooded my colon with large amounts of water. This helped to soften and loosen things up.
After an hour of painful effort, I was able to relieve myself. Immediately upon doing so, all of the nausea and painful cramps subsided. What a welcome relief.
What is Extreme Constipation?
A healthy rate for bowel movements is one to three bowel movements per day. Many people struggle to maintain this bowel movement rate mainly due to constipation. Constipation is brought on when stool moves too slowly through the colon.
Though less intense forms of constipation may only be the occasional day or two of delay, extreme constipation occurs when a person has no more than one bowel movement per week. Slow moving stool is caused mainly by medication, poor bowel habits, not going when you get the urge, low fiber diets, abuse of laxatives, hormonal disorders and disease.
Symptoms of Extreme Constipation
The main symptoms triggered by extreme constipation are as follows:
I can speak from personal experience when I say that none of these symptoms are pleasant to endure and are impossible to just ignore.
It is not uncommon for a person to be unable to function, even to the point of being bedridden once they have hit the stage of extreme constipation.
According to WebMD, rectal bleeding occurs upon the passing of abnormally large pieces of stool. Small tears occur as the stool stretches the rectal wall as it stretches past its normal size to accommodate a large piece of stool.
These can be created by the rough, sharp edges of the stool upon defecation. Bleeding then occurs at the point of the tear.
This occurrence can often bring about panic when a person sees blood mixed with their stool. I experienced this type of tearing and bleeding when I was 13 years old.
I can remember the day clearly. The sun was shining beautifully outside, my grandparents were visiting from far away and I, well, I was in the bathroom, fighting a very painful war.
It had been one of the worst moments of extreme constipation I had ever experienced. It had been well over a week since I was able to have a bowel movement and the stool had grown to a hard, black and very dense round boulder of horribleness…about the size of a tennis ball.
Please remember, I had extreme constipation for most of my childhood.
Over time this can result in a condition called “mega colon”.
And yes, the toilet got stopped up all the time from my
bowel movements. Talk about embarrassing.
I can remember the horrid agony of passing this extremely large stool. I felt the terrible impulse to throw up. It slowly began to pass but was so very dry that it took around 20 minutes before I was finally successful.
What a relief. However, the event left its war wounds down below as it tore my rectum to shreds. It bled and was terribly sore for the next few bathroom visits. Thankfully, most anal fissures will heal up after a few days or weeks. Things did eventually heal up.
Abdominal Pain, cramps, nausea and vomiting
When fecal matter accumulates inside the intestine for several days to a week without relief, this causes a distention of the intestines.
This leads to the unpleasant feeling of extreme fullness, bloating, dull cramping, and aching abdominal pain.
Loss of appetite
When constipation has gone untreated, it can cause a loss of appetite. Once again, I can vouch from personal experience.
For me, the symptoms showed up five days to a week after having no bowel movements.
In fact, I would feel just fine until, say, day five. Then out of the blue a feeling of fullness and nausea would come over me.
When I was eight years old I was in at the store with my sister. We were buying some groceries for dinner and I remember suddenly holding my gut in agony. Immediately I lost my appetite.
Even though I was standing in an isle with some of my favorite things, just looking at them gave me the impulse to throw up, as my colon had swollen so full of stool.
When I got home and my mother gave me a water enema, I was able to finally relieve myself and boom, my appetite was back in time for dinner!
Not only did extreme constipation bring me a lot of pain, it also caused me numerous emotional problems.
Finding a Solution
Fortunately, I finally found what I consider to be the perfect solution for constipation. And no, it's not fiber, though that is good, too. The magnesium in the supplement I found may help in other ways as well.
I only wish I had known about this as a child. It could have saved me all that grief. Click here to read my experiences with various approaches to constipation relief.