We all treat constipation as something you’re more likely to experience as you age, like grey hair or wrinkles. Although occasional constipation is a common condition that usually goes away on its own, a fraction of people may experience chronic constipation. It’s more severe than common constipation and mostly interferes with their daily tasks. It may also lead to excessive straining and pain during bowel movements that worsen over time. More importantly, it can also lead to severe complications such as haemorrhoids and anal fissure and skin damage in the anus when left untreated for a long time. According to the best general surgeon in Jaipur, having these symptoms and complications for a long time can considerably damage a patient’s quality of life. Hence, being aware of warning signs of constipation and possible complications can significantly contribute to ensuring appropriate and timely treatments.
What is constipation?
In general understanding, constipation is an acute or chronic digestive problem that refers to abnormal bowel movements, such as the loss of stool, reduced frequency in defecation, and hard stools that are hard to pass. So when bowel movements become less frequent or experience difficulty while passing stool, it’s because you’re suffering from constipation. If you are passing stool less than three times a week, then you have constipation. It’s usually a benign condition but causes chronic complications when leaving unattended for a long time. It can even lead to life-threatening diseases, including cardiovascular problems. The best heart hospital in Jaipur has stated that patients with constipation had a 12% higher risk of mortality, and 19% higher risk of developing CHD and ischemic stroke. While constipation is three times more common in men than women, the risks of developing severe complications are much higher in older women.
What are the causes of constipation?
Constipation can often become painful, uncomfortable and often lead you to embarrassing situations. Plus, it also hampers your daily activities and contributes to significant productivity loss. It’s one of the common symptoms in clinical practice caused by lifestyle changes and diet. The most common reasons behind constipation may include:
- Lack of physical activity
- Low fibre diet
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Laxative use
- Colon and rectum disorders
- Ignoring the urge to pass a stool
It’s a common gastrointestinal disease that accounts for at least 2.5 million consultations with physicians every year in the US. And with an increased risk of heart diseases, especially in women, you must also visit your doctor if you have persistent symptoms of constipation.
How can constipation affect your heart’s health?
Patients with digestive problems and chronic constipation have to take several medicines continuously to manage their symptoms. But these medicines used to manage gastroenterological issues have been associated with adverse heart diseases. Various studies have also suggested that straining during hard stools can cause electrical abnormalities or abnormal heart rhythm problems. It’s because medical professionals have witnessed that chronic straining may cause the coronary artery to narrow down in some patients, leading to ischemic heart disease.
The risk of constipation leading to cardiovascular problems increases with age and involves a change in intestinal microbiota. It’s because oxidative stress in old age is directly linked with constipation and the onset of cardiovascular disease. In some patients, they also found that faecal impaction can also be the trigger for cardiovascular complications. While a definite correlation is yet to be established, many doctors believe that drugs taken during old age to smooth down bowels can significantly contribute to the potential complications.
How can heart patients manage constipation?
Constipation is a critical condition that should not be taken lightly. So if you suspect constipation, you have to seek medical attention as soon as possible. However, along with treatment, changing your lifestyle and food habits is the first step towards the successful management of constipation. Here are some steps that everyone should follow to keep constipation a bay:
- You should consume 20‐35 g/d of dietary fibre and 1.5‐2.0 L/d of water.
- You must ensure effective treatment for chronic constipation irrespective of any other underlying condition.
- You should take stool softeners and stimulant laxatives with expert guidance.
- You should have regular oral administration and check-ups to check the renal functions of electrolytes if you have high-grade bradycardia and atrioventricular blockage.
- You can also take herbal medication containing rhubarb with your physician’s guidance.