Constipation is a gastrointestinal disorder characterised by slow and/or irregular contractions of the large intestines so that the waste is not able to move through the tract and be expelled as it should, one to three times per day; the result of a high fat/low fibre and fluid diet. We can compare this to what happens when the body is experiencing good health. In this case waste travels through the digestive tract in a predictable, regular cycle, about six to twenty-four hours from the time food is eaten to the time waste is excreted.
Stress, inactivity, and certain medications are some other factors that contribute to constipation. Over the counter laxatives can be easily identified as a significant problem because on the one hand they provide relief to patients, but on the other hand they make the bowels too lazy to go off on its own. It can be argued that any relief is better than none given that should the waste remain in the colon bacteria and other harmful matter will be reabsorbed into the bloodstream.
It is important for the patient to drink plenty water and try for a wholesome diet. Such would include excellent sources of fibre like prunes, figs, and grounded flaxseeds; green leafy vegetable that are rich in magnesium; hot cereals or warm liquids at breakfast to stimulate peristalsis; and the use of aromatherapy oil in abdominal self-massages.
At A Glance
Causes: these are poor diet, stress, medications, liver problems, magnesium deficiency, lack of beneficial intestinal flora, inactivity, laxative or enema abuse, colitis, intestinal parasites, and an underactive thyroid.
Treatment: the diet is important here and should be one of high fibre be whole grains like brown rice, green leafy vegetables, prunes, figs, bean, nuts, seeds, and grounded flaxseed. The client may also do self-massage of the abdomen to improve peristalsis.
Prevention: the client should avoid dairy products and food with saturated fat which slow do the transit time for waste matter. Caffeine and alcohol dehydrate the body.