Constipation is a pathological condition, the main symptom of which is a delayed stool or problems with stool discharge. Normally, defecation in adults should occur daily, 1-2 times per day, in rare cases - 1 time in 2 days (which is also the norm, but only under the condition of a painless and soft stool).
Possible causes of constipation
The main causes of constipation can be divided into 2 large groups: organic and functional.
Organic constipation develops due to the presence of a physical obstacle to the discharge of fecal masses. It can be:
- tumors of the colon and rectum;
- diverticula (blind bowel protrusion);
- adhesions after abdominal surgeries;
- the presence of areas of pathological expansion of the intestine (for example, Hirschsprung's disease);
- other anomalies of the structure of the intestine.
Functional constipation occurs with various dysfunctions of the large intestine, which can lead to:
- insufficient fluid intake, as a result of which the fecal masses become excessively dense (see “The significance of water for men's health” );
- improper nutrition - lack of food with a high content of dietary fiber and vegetable fat, an excess of carbohydrates and refractory fats;
- low motor activity, accompanied by inhibition of intestinal motility;
- various diseases of the digestive system (chronic pancreatitis , gastritis, cholecystitis with secretory insufficiency, colitis, etc.);
- injuries and tumors of the head and spinal cord with impaired innervation of the large intestine;
- diseases of other organs (endocrine pathology, severe infections);
- taking certain medications;
- hemorrhoids and anal fissures, in the presence of which a “vicious circle” is formed - defecation is painful, because of which the patient spontaneously and consciously retains it, and during delay the stool becomes dense, injures the mucous and defecation becomes even more painful (see “The first signs hemorrhoids " );
- nervous and psychological problems.
In cases when stool retention occurs for more than 48 hours against the background of a relatively stable bowel, they are talking about acute constipation. Chronic constipation, in addition to regular delays, includes a number of other disorders: painful bowel movements, the need for straining for stool discharge, increased hardness of the feces, leading to rectal microcracks, a feeling of incomplete bowel movement.
Consequences of constipation in men
The most common complication of chronic constipation is the occurrence of rectal fissures, the formation of hemorrhoids or the worsening of hemorrhoids. Straining during bowel movements and tight, hard stools cause damage to the mucosa, thrombosis and inflammation of the hemorrhoidal veins. In turn, hemorrhoids and fissures make it harder to defecate.
Against the background of chronic constipation, other problems arise:
- inflammatory processes in the intestines - colitis and enterocolitis;
- megacolon is an expansion of the intestinal area by accumulating stool masses, which aggravates the course of constipation;
- acute inflammation of the tissue surrounding the rectum (paraproctitis);
- metabolic disorders, manifestations of which are dryness and peeling of the skin, unhealthy complexion, weight loss;
- dysbacteriosis is an imbalance of the normal intestinal microflora.
In addition, chronic constipation is considered to be a factor of an increased risk of developing malignant neoplasms (cancer) of the rectum and colon.
A visit to a specialist or self-treatment?
Self-treatment of constipation is permissible only in the initial stages - with beginning, short-lived chronic constipation. In these cases, a positive effect is possible from the use of short courses of laxative drugs and the correction of nutrition and lifestyle. In acute constipation, when there is no result from the use of laxatives (cleansing enemas) and / or severe abdominal pain, weakness, nausea and vomiting, it is necessary to seek emergency medical care, since this condition may be due to surgical pathology (intestinal obstruction and etc.).
Long-standing chronic constipation also require treatment to specialists - primarily to determine the causes of problems with defecation. You can refer to a gastroenterologist or therapist who will prescribe the required amount of examination and select the optimal treatment.