Constipation and Homeopathy
Constipation is a symptom, not a disease. Nearly everyone becomes constipated at one time or another. Usually, this condition is not serious. Older people are five times more likely to complain about the symptom than younger people, possibly because of an undue concern about their bowel movement. To avoid most of the problems related to constipation, it helps to know what causes it, how to prevent it, and how to treat it. Experts agree that older people often worry too much about having a bowel movement every day. Normal frequency of bowel movement or volume of stool varies widely from person to person. A decrease in the frequency of bowel movements, accompanied by prolonged or difficult passage of stools, or a sense of incomplete evacuation are all expressed constipation. Constipation is a common symptom among older people.
Causes of Constipation in Older Adults
Older adults are more likely to have constipation for the following reasons:
Poor diet: Eating foods rich in animal fats (dairy products, meats, and eggs) or refined sugar but low in fibre (whole grains, fruits, and vegetables).
Inadequate fluid intake: Not drinking enough water can lead to hard dry stools. Fluid is absorbed in the intestine, and people who don’t drink enough water may not pass enough water into the colon to keep their stools soft.
Caffeine and alcohol: These induce increased urination of water. This leads to (relative) dehydration that increases water absorption from the intestine. This can in turn lead to constipation when not enough fluid is retained in the stool.
Poor bowel habits: Ignoring the desire to have bowel movements may initiate a cycle of constipation. After a period of time, the person may stop feeling the desire to move the bowels. This leads to progressive constipation. For example, some people may avoid using public toilets or ignore going to the toilet because they are busy.
Medications: Many medications can cause constipation like Antacids, Antispasmodic drugs, Antidepressants, Iron tablets, Anticonvulsant drugs, Diuretics (because they can work like caffeine and alcohol as mentioned previously), Painkillers, narcotic-containing drugs, for example, may suppress bowel function.
Lack of exercise. Prolonged bed rest, for example after an accident or during an illness.
Habitual use of enemas and laxatives - The person may eventually require increasing amounts of laxatives to move the bowels. In some instances, the bowel will become insensitive to laxatives and the person will not be able to move the bowels even with laxatives.
Travel: Changes in lifestyle, low fluid intake, and eating fast food may cause constipation.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Because of changes in bowel function, if a person has this disorder, he or she may have crampy abdominal pain, excessive gas, bloating, and constipation, sometimes alternating with diarrhoea.
Connective tissue diseases: Conditions such as scleroderma and lupus.
Symptoms of Constipation
Symptoms of constipation depending on his or her normal bowel habits, diet, and age.
- Difficulty in starting or completing bowel movement
- Infrequent and difficult passage of stool, Passing hard stool after prolonged straining
- If the person has irritable bowel syndrome(IBS) then crampy abdominal pain, excessive gas, a sense of bloating, and a change in bowel habits
- If the person has an intestinal obstruction, nausea, vomiting, no defecation, and inability to pass gas, Distended abdomen, headaches, and loss of appetite
- Coated (furred) tongue, bad breath(halitosis), and bad taste in the mouth
Homoeopathic Management for Constipation*
Homoeopathic remedies indicated for constipation often work at a deeper level than nutritional supplements and most herbs because they target the mind and the emotions in addition to the physical body. Essentially homeopathic remedies assist in unlocking the stress that may be underlying the constipation symptoms, ideally leading to a permanent resolution of the problem, since constipation symptoms are often difficult to differentiate on a physical level.
Homoeopathic Remedies for Constipation
Aesculus, Aletris, Aloes, Alumina, Antimonium crudum, Baryta carb, Baptisia, Bryonia, Calc carb, Carbo veg, Chelidonium, Collinsonia, Dioscorea, Graphites, Hydrastis, Iris vers, Lachesis, Lycopodium, Natrum mur, Plumbum, Podophyllum , Pulsatilla, Phosphorous, Phytolacca, Rhus tox, Ruta. Sepia, Silicea, Sulphur, Veratrum album etc.
These remedies should be taken under qualified homeopath’s advice. Avoid Self-medication.
Tips for Preventing and Managing Constipation
Many factors can lead to constipation, including a poor diet, lack of exercise, and overuse of laxatives. We can help prevent or relieve constipation by:
Eating healthy food. Getting plenty of high-fibre food in our diet, including whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, can help stave off constipation. It’s a good idea to avoid high fat meals, excessive dairy products and eggs, and rich, sugary foods, since these can lead to constipation. The foods that all good sources of dietary fibre are Beans, lentils and peas, Fresh and dried fruits – particularly if the skins are eaten, Vegetables - particularly if the skins are eaten, Nuts and seeds, Wholemeal and granary breads, Jacket potatoes, Wholegrain breakfast cereals, Wholemeal pasta and brown rice.
Drinking plenty of fluids. Not drinking enough fluids can lead to constipation, so upping our intake of water and other liquids can help keep your bowels moving.
Being careful when using laxatives. If use laxatives or enemas too often, our body can begin to rely on them and stop working the way it should. So talk with doctor about laxative use.
Exercise regularly. Keeping active on a regular basis can help stay regular.
Going when feel the urge. Waiting too long to have a bowel movement can lead to constipation, so go as soon as sense the need.
Treating medical conditions. Certain medical conditions, including stroke, diabetes, or intestinal blockage, can lead to constipation. Working with our doctor to manage these conditions is important.
Talking with doctor about western medications. Some drugs, including certain antidepressants, antacids, supplements, antihistamines, pain relievers, high blood pressure medications, and Parkinson’s disease medications, are known to lead to constipation, so talk with doctor to see if adjusting medications would help.