Side Effects of Constipation: Top 12 Side Effects To Be Aware Of
- Constipation can cause significant abdominal pain and discomfort due to the accumulation of hardened stool in the intestines (1).
- Chronic constipation can lead to a decreased appetite (5).
- Constipation has been linked to an increased risk of mood disorders, including depression and anxiety (12).
Constipation is a widespread issue that millions of people experience worldwide. Constipation may appear to be a minor inconvenience, but if left untreated, it can result in a variety of health problems. Constipation actually has a number of side effects that you should be aware of. Constipation can have serious side effects, including hemorrhoids, rectal prolapse, and severe bloating and abdominal pain. But don't worry, there are things you can do to avoid and treat constipation, and in this article, we'll look at the top 12 side effects of constipation you should be aware of. Continue reading to find out more about the potential risks associated with this widespread condition, whether you're looking for ways to assist a loved one or you just occasionally experience constipation.
What is constipation?
A person who experiences constipation finds it difficult to pass stools. Having fewer than three bowel movements each week qualifies as it. Constipation can also manifest as straining during bowel movements, passing hard, lumpy stools, feeling bloated, and having abdominal discomfort.
Constipation comes in two flavors: acute and chronic. Acute constipation is a temporary issue that can be quickly fixed with dietary adjustments and lifestyle changes. Contrarily, chronic constipation is a persistent problem that can persist for months or even years. If left untreated, chronic constipation necessitates medical attention and may have detrimental side effects.
Top 12 side effects of constipation
1. Abdominal Discomfort
Due to the buildup of hardened stool in the intestines, constipation can result in significant abdominal pain and discomfort. This accumulation puts pressure on the intestinal walls, causing distension and discomfort. The discomfort can range in intensity from mild cramping to excruciating, incapacitating pain, and it usually goes away after a bowel movement (1).
Hemorrhoids, which are enlarged blood vessels in the rectal area, can result from persistent constipation. Constipation makes people strain during bowel movements, which puts pressure on the veins near the anus. Hemorrhoids can develop as a result of these veins swelling and expanding as a result of the increased pressure over time (2).
3. Anal Fissures
The delicate lining of the anus can develop tiny tears or fissures as a result of constipation that is characterized by hard, dry stools. These uncomfortable anal fissures are brought on by the stretching and straining that occur during bowel movements as well as the dryness of the stool. The fissures could result in pain, bleeding, or even itching, which would make bowel movements particularly uncomfortable. (3)
4. Bloating and Distension
Bloating and distension result from the buildup of stool in the intestines. The abdomen enlarges as a result of the retained fecal matter, giving the person a feeling of being full and uncomfortable. Increased gas production that occurs along with bloating can exacerbate abdominal discomfort and distension.
5. Reduced Appetite
A decreased appetite can result from persistent constipation. People may be less likely to eat because of the discomfort and sense of fullness brought on by the buildup of stool in their intestines. Weight loss and possible nutritional deficiencies can develop over time as a result of insufficient nutrient intake brought on by decreased appetite (4).
6. Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Halitosis, or bad breath, can be exacerbated by constipation. Toxins and gases can build up in the digestive system due to the prolonged retention of waste products. These substances have the potential to release through the breath, giving off an unpleasant breath odor. While good oral hygiene may temporarily mask the odor, treating the underlying constipation is essential for a lasting cure. (5)
7. Fatigue and Malaise
Constipation can cause fatigue, drowsiness, and general malaise due to its physical and psychological side effects. Constipation can be extremely uncomfortable and interfere with bowel movements, which can have a negative effect on someone's energy levels and general wellbeing. They may be less able to carry out daily tasks and experience a lower quality of life as a result. (6)
Lower back pain can occasionally be caused by constipation. The strain and pressure put on the body during bowel movements, especially when people push hard to pass stool, can cause lower back pain and tightness in the muscles. Constipation already causes discomfort, but the repeated straining and resulting muscle contraction can cause backaches. (7)
9. Urinary Problems
The urinary system and bladder can be impacted by constipation. Because the colon and bladder are so close together, pressure from constipation that builds up in the abdominal region may also affect the bladder. This may cause urinary issues like increased urgency, frequent urination, or difficult urination. Constipation can be effectively managed to help relieve these urinary symptoms. (8)
10. Skin Problems
Chronic constipation can have an impact on skin health because it causes waste and toxins to build up in the body. Toxins can accumulate and affect the state of the skin when the digestive system is not effectively removing waste. Skin conditions like acne breakouts, a dull complexion, or other dermatological problems can affect some people. Constipation can be treated, and encouraging proper elimination can support clearer skin.
It has been found that having chronic constipation increases your chance of getting headaches or migraines. Although the precise mechanisms underlying this association are not yet fully understood, it is thought that certain substances released during stoma transit through the intestines may have the potential to cause headaches in susceptible individuals. Constipation-related headaches can range from minor aches to incapacitating migraines, making it difficult to carry out daily tasks and enjoy life. (9)
12. Mood Disorders
An increased risk of mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, has been associated with constipation. An important part of controlling mood is played by the gut-brain axis, which is the term for the bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain. Constipation causes disruptions in gut motility, which can affect the gut microbiota and the production of neurotransmitters, which may be a factor in mood disorders. The general state of one's mental health may be improved by treating constipation and encouraging healthy gut function. (10)
The causes of constipation
Constipation can be brought on by a number of factors, as was previously mentioned. The absence of fiber in the diet is one of the most frequent causes. Fiber is a crucial nutrient that facilitates regular bowel movements by softening stools. Lack of fiber can cause your stools to become hard and challenging to pass.
Constipation can also result from dehydration. Your body can't produce enough fluid to soften the stool if you don't drink enough water. Dry, hard stools that are challenging to pass can result from this.
Constipation may also be caused by specific medications. These consist of antacids, antidepressants, and painkillers. Ask your doctor about possible alternatives if you're taking any of these medications and are experiencing constipation.
What are the common symptoms of constipation?
In addition to having a constipated face, constipation symptoms can differ from person to person. While some people may have irregular bowel movements, others might have trouble passing stools. In addition to these, constipation can also cause:
- Abdominal pain
- Straining during bowel movements
- A feeling of incomplete evacuation
- Hard, dry stools
Natural remedies for constipation relief
There are several organic treatments that can ease constipation. Increasing your intake of fiber is among the most successful strategies. The addition of bulk from fiber makes stools easier to pass. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are good sources of fiber.
Increasing your water consumption is another natural method for treating constipation. Constipation is frequently brought on by dehydration, so increasing your water intake can keep your stools soft and simple to pass. At least eight glasses of water should be consumed each day.
Exercise is crucial for both treating and preventing constipation. Regular exercise can help to maintain a healthy digestive system and encourage bowel movements. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, such as jogging or brisk walking.
Medical treatment for constipation
Your doctor might suggest one of several medical treatments if natural cures for constipation are ineffective. Utilizing laxatives is one common treatment. Laxatives either make your stool more bulky or they cause your bowel muscles to contract.
Additionally, there are prescription options for constipation, including lubiprostone and linaclotide. These drugs function by raising the amount of fluid in your intestines, which facilitates stool passage.
Your doctor may advise treating the underlying condition first in order to treat your constipation if it is being brought on by an underlying condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome or hypothyroidism.
How to prevent constipation
It is frequently simpler to prevent constipation than to treat it. Eating a healthy, high-fiber diet is one of the best ways to prevent constipation. Eat as many fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes as you can. Additionally, you ought to make an effort to consume eight glasses of water each day.
Exercise is crucial for avoiding constipation as well. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, such as jogging or brisk walking. Try to take breaks throughout the day to stretch and move around if your job is sedentary.
Last but not least, pay attention to your body. Don't ignore the urge to urinate if you feel one coming on. Stool-holding can result in constipation and other health problems.
1. Does gas cause constipation?
Gas can be a symptom of constipation, but it doesn't cause constipation.
2. Can constipation cause rashes?
Constipation itself doesn't cause rashes, but if you're constipated, you may be more likely to develop skin irritations or rashes due to poor hygiene.
3. What are some women's constipation symptoms?
Women may experience the same symptoms of constipation as men, but they may also experience pain during sex or menstrual cramps.
4. Does constipation make you tired?
Yes, constipation can make you tired. One of the side effects of constipation is in fact, fatigue and low energy levels.
5. Does constipation cause weight gain?
Constipation itself doesn't cause weight gain, but if you're constipated, you may feel bloated and uncomfortable, which can make it difficult to exercise or eat healthy foods.
6. Can constipation cause depression?
While there's no direct link between constipation and depression, the discomfort and pain associated with constipation can contribute to feelings of depression or anxiety.
Conclusion and final thoughts
Although it may seem like a minor inconvenience, if left untreated, constipation can cause serious health problems. You can help prevent constipation from starting by eating a balanced, high-fiber diet, staying hydrated, and engaging in regular exercise. If you do experience constipation, there are a variety of home cures and prescription medications that can help. However, paying attention to your body may be the most crucial thing you can do. Don't ignore the urge to urinate if you feel one coming on. You can prevent the potential risks associated with this widespread condition by listening to your body's signals and taking steps to prevent and treat constipation.
- Mayo Clinic. (2018). Constipation - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/constipation/symptoms-causes/syc-20354253
- Kivi, R. (2018, August 29). Anal Fissure. Healthline; Healthline Media. https://www.healthline.com/health/anal-fissure
- Loss Of Appetite: Causes & Treatment. (n.d.). Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/24228-loss-of-appetite
- Can Constipation Cause Bad Breath - HealthyGutClub.com. (2022, January 14). https://www.healthygutclub.net/can-constipation-cause-bad-breath/
- Constipation and Fatigue: Causes, Risks, and Prevention. (2016, April 11). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/digestive-health/constipation-and-fatigue
- Sawyers, T. (2018, August 23). Constipation and Back Pain. Healthline; Healthline Media. https://www.healthline.com/health/constipation-back-pain
- Constipation and Overactive Bladder: Is There a Connection? (2022, April 20). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/constipation-and-overactive-bladder
- Can Constipation Cause Headaches? (n.d.). Verywell Health. Retrieved May 12, 2023, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/migraine-and-constipation-5205201
- Depression and constipation: What’s the link? (2019, May 10). Www.medicalnewstoday.com. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325129
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