1. What are the symptoms of constipation?
Sometimes, an underlying disease may have a symptom of constipation in which you may pass stool for less than thrice in a week, along with other symptoms such as:
- Hard, dry or lumpy stools
- Pain with the passage of stools
- A feeling of lack of passage of stools
2. What are the causes of constipation?
Some of the most frequent causes of constipation are:
- Physical inactivity
- Controlling bowel movements
- Use of laxatives for extended periods
- Medications such as antidepressants or iron supplements
- Diet lacking fibre and liquids
- Daily routine variations
- Conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, stroke, spinal cord injury
and Parkinson's disease
3. Who are at a higher risk of getting constipation?
The chances of some individuals experiencing constipation can be more than others, and is common in the following cases:
- Women who are pregnant or delivered
- Individuals on a low-fibre diet or certain medicines or with medical conditions such as functional gastrointestinal disorders
4. How is the underlying cause of constipation diagnosed?
The underlying cause of constipation can be diagnosed through:
- Medical and family history
- Physical examination of the rectum by the physician to check for pain or swelling and blood pressure and hydration status examinations
- Lab tests
- Imaging tests such as an x-ray, ultrasound or colonoscopy
5. What are the complications of long-term constipation?
Only long-standing cases of constipation may lead to complications, such as
- Anal fissures (pain, bleeding or itching caused due to minor anal tear) or piles (anus or the lower part of rectum is swollen)
- Rectal prolapse (rectum dropping from its normal position)
- Faecal impaction (dry, hard stool constricting the intestine)