By Dr. Vik
Constipated for Two Weeks
When you find yourself constipated for two weeks, not just any remedy will do. You are already experiencing distressing levels of discomfort and are ready for some relief.
At this point, some individuals may decide to seek medical attention, and that certainly is an option.
Since constipation can vary from person to person, it is evident that each individual requires their own unique approach (1).
By the time a person has been constipated for two weeks, they likely may have tried standard methods for constipation relief, like increasing fiber intake and drinking extra water.
Once these methods have failed to produce results, it is time to look to more drastic measures.
In the medical world, here are the treatments that we use to remedy an extreme constipation problem. I will start with the less effective and move to the those that are less comfortable but more sure of getting results.
These are compounds such as Psyllium and methylcellulose that help to bulk up stool by adding water to it. This stretches the bowel loops, which in turn triggers peristalsis, resulting in a bowel movement.
Studies looking at psyllium have shown that it can increase stool frequency and stool consistency (2).
Psyllium laxatives are available in drug stores.
These are compounds that have been shown to improve stool frequency and stool consistency in patients with chronic constipation.
Some common osmotic laxative are:
These are a group of compounds that are inserted into the rectum through the anus.
Enemas can be quite effective at stimulating the bowel to empty completely. The downside is that they can be very uncomfortable for the patient.
This is a procedure that is performed by a doctor or nurse.
Here, the bowels are manually evacuated using a gloved hand. It is quite intrusive, but for the person who is desperate, is a fairly sure way to find relief.
Of course, once the compacted stool has been removed, it is important that the individual address the underlying problem.
Studies that have looked at traditional approaches towards the management of constipation, including increasing fluid and fiber intake, have shown a great deal of disappointment among the subjects (3).
As a result, it is not uncommon for them to seek other treatment options such as natural therapies and possibly even allopathic treatments.
A lack of magnesium in the body may contribute to constipation.
In the same way, a little extra magnesium, as provided by a daily magnesium supplement, may offer a long-term solution for chronic constipation.
Magnesium is a nutrient that most Americans don’t get enough of. Therefore, a magnesium supplement can satisfy a nutritional need, plus help to remedy constipation.
Magnesium is a natural osmotic laxative that draws extra water into the colon. This helps to keep stool moist, soft and slippery. It is non-habit forming, meaning that it may be used as a long-term solution.
Constipation affects millions of individuals across the globe.
Numerous treatment options are available. When other options are exhausted, a more drastic treatment may be needed to break things up.
Once the immediate crisis is dealt with, a longer term solution needs to be sought.
1. Johanson, J. F., and J. Kralstein. "Chronic constipation: a survey of the patient perspective." Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics 25.5 (2007): 599-608.
2. NORTH, EPIDEMIOLOGY OF CHRONIC CONSTIPATION IN. "An evidence-based approach to the management of chronic constipation in North America." American Journal of Gastroenterology 100.S1 (2005).
3. Sonnenberg A, Koch TR. Physician visits in the United States for constipation: 1958 to 1986. Dig Dis Sci 1989; 34: 606–11.
4. Guerrera, Mary P., Stella Lucia Volpe, and Jun James Mao. "Therapeutic uses of magnesium." American family physician 80.2 (2009): 157-62.