What is constipation?
From a feeling of bloating to difficulty passing a stool, the effects of constipation can cause a range of issues. But despite differing symptoms, it’s a common problem shared by many, and one that can be treated.
Could you have constipation?
When it comes to bowel movements, everyone has their own unique rhythm. Some people might pass a stool every morning, others might do so every other day. Doctors speak of constipation if evacuation occurs less than three times a week.
In addition to that feeling of heaviness and irregularity, common symptoms can include:
- Only passing pellet-like stools
- Hard or painful stools
- Difficulty going to the toilet
- Not completely emptying your bowels
- Excess wind and flatulence
- Stomach ache and loss of appetite
Constipation symptoms can also go beyond the physical. It can make you feel frustrated, not in control of your body and uncomfortable leaving the house. And you’re not alone. One in four Canadians suffers from symptoms of constipation.*
While women and the elderly are more prone to constipation, if you’re dehydrated or lacking fibre in your diet, you might be making it harder for your bowels to find their regular rhythm.
*Reported by the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation, “Understanding the Prevalence and Impact of Constipation in Canada”, Feb 2014
What happens during constipation?
Your digestive system is a complex group of organs working together to convert food into energy and nutrients. We’ve broken it down for you in the graphics below to show why it can take a while to process your meals and create waste.
Your digestive system at work
- Digestion starts in the mouth. Once food is chewed and mixed with saliva, it passes down the esophagus into the stomach, where gastric acid and special enzymes start digesting proteins and other nutrients.
- Liquid food then moves through the small intestine, where it is further divided into single molecules and nutrients absorbed into the bloodstream.
- The last bit of digestion takes place in the large intestine and colon. Electrolytes and water are absorbed, the residue is compacted and moves to the rectum.
- The stool is then stored in the rectum until a sufficient volume triggers the wall receptors into evacuation. Constipation can occur when the waste contained in the rectum is too dry to trigger the emptying reflex. In turn this can cause stools to harden further as it stays in the rectum, causing pain, flatulence and bloating.
Different types of constipation
In most cases, constipation is harmless. Anyone can experience a bout of it, and it can last anywhere from a few days to reappearing every few weeks. Typically, it occurs because of changes to your diet, travel, stress, lack of exercise, medications, illness and hormonal imbalances (such as periods, pregnancy and menopause). The good news is that constipation can be easily relieved, however if symptoms persist check with your doctor and avoid prolonged use of laxatives greater than one week, unless your doctor has ordered a special schedule for you.
If you regularly suffer from difficulty passing stools for longer than three months, you could have chronic constipation. MICROLAX® is not intended for chronic constipation. Please always consult a doctor if constipation persists.
Keep an eye out for blood in your stools, excessive cramps in the abdomen, nausea, fever, vomiting, constipation alternating with diarrhea, and unplanned weight loss. If at any time you notice one of the symptoms above, visit your doctor as soon as possible to rule out more serious illnesses. Laxatives should not be used in the presence of abdominal pain, nausea, fever or vomiting.
Relieve constipation and get moving again
You don’t have to suffer. MICROLAX® is a fast-acting and gentle micro-enema that can start to work in 5 minutes, to relieve your constipation so that you can get back to feeling light, happy and relaxed.