Constipation is characterized by infrequent, incomplete evacuation of hard dried stools.
There are three main types of constipation
Atonic 2. Spastic 3. Obstructive
1. Atonic constipation is due to
a) Lack of fluids. When there is excessive perspiration and an adequate amount of fluid is not taken. Water from the colon is completely absorbed and this leaves a small quantity of hard dry faeces which does not produce enough distension to initiate a reflex for its evacuation.
b) Lack of roughage. Faulty food habits which include irregular hours of meals, fasting or avoiding foods leaves little residue for evacuation.
c) Vitamin B Deficiency. Deficient intake of vitamin B produces loss of tone of the bowel wall.
d) Lack of potassium - deficient intake of potassium or excessive loss by use of purgatives may result in loss of bowel tone.
e) Irregular habits. Irregular bowel habits due to getting up late in the morning, or unhygienic condition prevailing may make a visit to the bathroom undesirable.
2.Spastic constipation results from excessive tone of the colonic muscles.
4.Obstructive constipation is due to malignancy of the colon.
Temporary or chronic constipation can be due to
a) Failure to establish regular times for eating, inadequate rest and incomplete elimination.
b) Chronic use of laxatives.
c) Difficult or painful defecation due to hemorrhoids.
d) Poor muscle tone of the intestine due to lack of exercise.
e) Ingestion of drugs, large amounts of sedatives.
Infrequent or insufficient emptying of the bowel may lead to headache, coated tongue, foul breath and lack of appetite. These symptoms usually disappear after evacuation has taken place.