Can Constipation Be Dangerous?

Constipation is a problem we have all faced at some point in our lives. Whether it is caused because of traveling to a new place or difficulty in adjusting to new food or having a new lifestyle. But can constipation be dangerous? What causes it in the first place? On the occasion of Constipation Awareness Month, a global healthcare event observed in the month of December, let us learn more about this condition.

What is Constipation?

Constipation is a common condition that affects people of all ages. It is a condition where you have difficulty passing stools regularly or the inability to empty your bowel completely. It often occurs when stools remain in the large intestine for an extended period of time, the colon absorbs water from the stool excessively causing them to become hard and dry.

Having fewer than three bowel movements a week is generally described as constipation. You feel or have the impression that you did not completely empty your bowels.

Constipation intensity varies from person to person . Many people only have constipation for a brief period of time, but for others, it can be long-term or chronic illness that causes substantial pain in abdomen, gut and lower back. Chronic constipation can also cause people to put a lot of strain on bowel movements.

What are the causes of constipation?

Constipation results from the colon absorbing too much water from waste (stool/poop), which dries out the stool and makes it hard and challenging to push out of the body.

Normally, nutrients are absorbed as food passes through the digestive tract. Moving from the small to the large intestine, commonly known as the colon, is the partially digested food (waste). This waste contains water, which the colon absorbs to produce stool, a solid substance. Constipation can cause food to pass through the digestive system too slowly. As a result, the colon has an extended period of time too much time to absorb water from the waste. The stool becomes stiff, dry, and challenging to push out.

There are common lifestyle ways that cause constipation which include

  1. Eating low-fiber meals.
  2. Not getting enough fluids (dehydration).
  3. Not working out enough.
  4. Alterations to your daily schedule, such as traveling, eating, or sleeping at various times.
  5. Consuming a lot of milk or cheese.
  6. Stress.

There are certain medications that can cause constipation sometimes like:

  1. Strong pain medicines. Like narcotics containing codeine, oxycodone (Oxycontin) and hydromorphone (Dilaudid).
  2. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen.
  3. Antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
  4. Antacids containing calcium or aluminum.
  5. Iron pills.
  6. Allergy medications, such as antihistamines (like diphenhydramine [Benadryl]).
  7. Certain blood pressure medicines, including calcium channel blockers (like verapamil, diltiazem [Cardizem] and nifedipine) and beta-blockers (like atenolol).
  8. Psychiatric medications, like clozapine and olanzapine.
  9. Anticonvulsant/seizure medications, such as phenytoin and gabapentin.
  10. Antinausea medications, like ondansetron.

There are certain health conditions that also cause constipation such as:

  1. Diabetes
  2. Hypothyroidism
  3. Colorectal Cancer
  4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  5. Neurological disorders
  6. Multiple organ diseases and so on

How is constipation Treated?

The cause, duration of time you've been suffering from constipation, and severity of your symptoms all influence how you should be treated for constipation.

By altering one's food and way of living, the symptoms can frequently be relieved.

The following is a list of ways you can deal with constipation

  1. Dietary and lifestyle modifications are frequently advised. This will frequently make the situation better without the need for medicines.
  2. Increase your daily fiber intake. You ought to consume 18 to 30 grams of fiber per day. Numerous fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains are high in fibre.
  3. Increase the bulking agents in your diet, such as wheat bran. Your stools will become softer and simpler to pass as a result of this.
  4. Drink a lot of water to ward off dehydration.
  5. Increase your exercise frequency, for instance, by going for a daily run or walk.
  6. Maintain a schedule for when and where you can go to the bathroom, including the time of day. Follow the normal cycle of your bowels and act immediately when the desire arises.
  7. When using the restroom, try placing your feet on a low stool so that your knees are higher than your hips; this may help you pass stools more easily.
  8. Your doctor might be able to recommend a different medicine if the one you're taking could be making you constipated.

If food and lifestyle modifications are unsuccessful, your doctor may suggest an oral laxative.

Laxatives are a kind of medication that aids with stool passage. There are numerous varieties of laxatives, and each one affects your digestive system differently.

Typically, your doctor will start you on a laxative that forms bulk. These function by promoting fluid retention in your stools. Since they won't likely dry up, fecal impaction won't likely result. Bulk-forming laxatives also soften your feces, making it easier for you to pass them.

Among the frequently prescribed bulk-forming laxatives are methylcellulose, sterculia, and ispaghula husk. Drink a lot of water while using this kind of laxative, and avoid taking it right before night. Usually, it takes 2 to 3 days before a bulk-forming laxative starts to work.

When do you have to see a Doctor for Constipation?

Although constipation is a common condition and nothing to worry about, there are times when you need to visit the doctor. If there is blood in your stool or you are experiencing abdominal pain, vomiting, or a family history of colon cancer.

You must visit your doctor if you have the following symptoms:

  1. Rectal bleeding
  2. Unexplained weight loss
  3. Persistent tiredness
  4. Constipation that lasts longer than 14 days without improvement

Can Constipation Become Dangerous?

Constipation can get serious if it is left untreated. Additionally, having a bowel movement may be painful and require undue effort if you have chronic constipation. More significantly, it might eventually result in major issues including hemorrhoids and anal fissures if it is disregarded and not treated (torn skin in the anus). Knowing the warning signs of constipation helps with suitable and prompt therapies because relevant symptoms and complications significantly reduce a patient's quality of life.

Introducing Zoi

If you are facing a persistent problem with bowel movement, it is important to seek the necessary treatment to avoid complications. If the pain hasn’t been relieved even after a few visits to the doctor and regular checkups, you should look up to any gastroenterologist, who specializes in digestive system problems.

Zoi hospital’s gastroenterologists will thoroughly diagnose your cause of constipation performing blood, urine, and stool tests to make sure about the type of constipation and treat you with the best care possible. With expert doctors and advanced technology, we are here to treat you with care and empathy. Located in Attapur, Ameerpet and Somajiguda, Zoi Hospitals provide you with precise and efficient treatment that keeps you in good health all time.


We offer comprehensive health check-up packages to check the overall functioning of different body systems. Below are more than 15 of the packages that we offer.

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