The colon’s job is to take the liquid mush coming from the small intestines and extract excess water for use elsewhere in the body.
A level of 75% water content in the stool is perfect, causing stool to be soft, slick, and easily eliminated.
There are numerous things that cause the moisture level to drop below 75%.
When this happens, the stool hardens, becoming compacted and less lubricated, with the result that it can be hard to pass...bad constipation.
Simply ask yourself the following:
1. How firm is my stool. It should be soft
2. How difficult is it to pass. It should be easy to pass
3. Is there a sensation that stool won’t come out
4. Is there straining, cramping or other pain associated with defecation
Unless a person eats very little, he or she should have a bowel movement at least once every 2 or 3 days.
There should be no straining, cramping or pain to pass it. Stool should be somewhat formed, but not larger than your middle finger.
Coloration of stool should also be looked at...here.
Stools with the right moisture level should allow you to get the job done quickly, preferably in less than a minute.
Whether stools are large and hard or small and pellet shaped, lumpy and hard stools are dry stools. These can be hard to pass. Lumpy and hard stool is a sign of constipation.
Here is an informative one minute video that shows how the colon works.
Gender affects constipation in 2 major ways:
If you are a woman, that “time of the month” can definitely be a factor.
Second, during pregnancy, hormonal influences plus the weight of the baby pushing on the colon can slow down stool passage.
Besides these two things, statistics show that neither men or women have a harder time with constipation.
Having said this, the elderly tend to suffer more with constipation than others. It is generally believed that lack of physical activity is a key factor.
Most people have a little constipation now and then. This is generally caused by a temporary shift in diet, or traveling. Once conditions return to normal, so do their bowels.
Also read more about slow transit constipation
This constipation is constant and lasts for 3 or more months. There are numerous factors that may cause it.
Large, hard stools are hard to pass. Because of this, people may try to avoid defecation, which only makes the problem worse. This is especially true for children.
According to “The Rome III” criteria, when you have any 2 of these 6 symptoms for three monts or more you have chronic constipation:
If constipation is just a way of life, you might want to have your doctor evaluate it and help you with a treatment plan.
Six months or more of chronic constipation is sometimes referred to as functional constipation.
It will not have the symptom of abdominal pain such as is found in Crohn’s disease.
They feel like they never really empty out without the use of a laxative. They can routinely take 10 minutes or more of straining in an attempt to make something happen.
This can come suddenly and last for days. It may be caused by a medication, dehydration, a blockage in the colon, or just missing a bowel movement.
Read on more about acute constipation
This is an advanced stage of constipation where fecal material lines the walls of the colon.
In an effort to dislodge it, the body uses copious amounts of water to try and dislodge it.
A person may have a somewhat normal bowel movement, then several episodes of diarrhea (mostly water).
This is a condition caused by a person time and time again suppressing the urge to go.
This is the accumulation of hardened stool in the rectum which a person can’t pass without the aid of an enema or by manually breaking up and removing the hardened feces with the finger.
This form of severe constipation can be life threatening.
It is caused when fecal matter completely blocks a section of the colon, so that not even gas can get through.
Other dangers of constipation.
changes in diet and lifestyle, I have found that magnesium is about the
best way to overcome most of these forms of constipation and to avoid them all together.
Philips Milk of Magnesia and Epson Salt are temporary measures. For long-term relief, I take a mineral supplement that is rich in magnesium.
Since it is designed to be taken daily, it’s magnesium has the ability to put an end to many forms of constipation.
wife and I have taken it since 2006, and now enjoy regular, soft bowel
movements in place of chronic constipation. Magnesium also has numerous other health benefits.