Almost everyone will hear about, read about, and even personally experience constipation at some point in their life. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) reports that more than 4 million Americans have frequent constipation, which accounts for over 2.5 million physician visits a year.
Are you suffering from stress, lack of energy, back pains, or feeling bloated? Did you ever consider the possibility that constipation may be the root problem? Let’s explore further.
What Is Constipation?
Constipation is defined as experiencing hard to pass bowel movements and a bowel movement fewer than three times per week. According to NDDIC, constipation is a symptom and not a disease. With constipation stools are usually hard, dry, small in size, and difficult to eliminate . My definition of being constipated means that you have difficulty passing stools and do not have at least one bowel movements every day.
Although a symptom by definition, it is highly critical that you are aware of these alarming constipation facts taken from NDDIC :
- Prevalence: 3.1 million people (1996)
- Mortality: 121 deaths (2002)
- Hospitalizations: 398,000 (2002)
- Ambulatory care visits: 1.4 million (1999–2000)
- Prescriptions: 1 million (1985)
- Disability: 30,000 people (1990–1992)
Common Symptoms of Constipation
Acknowledging the above referenced, eye-opening facts, and knowing how your health is key to living a long and successful life in all areas of your life, let’s look at a couple of sources as references to symptoms of constipation. Mayo Clinic  reports you are likely to have constipation if you experience two of the following signs or symptoms:
- Pass fewer than three stools a week
- Experience hard stools
- Strain excessively during bowel movements
- Experience a sense of rectal blockage
- Have a feeling of incomplete evacuation after having a bowel movement
- Need to use manual maneuvers to have a bowel movement, such as finger evacuation or manipulation of your lower abdomen
WrongDiagnosis.com reports 32 symptoms of constipation, including but not limited to difficult bowel movement, dry bowel movement, painful bowel movement, dry feces, small feces, hard feces, absent bowel movement, infrequent bowel movement, fecal straining, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, feeling uncomfortable, feeling sluggish, diarrhea, abdominal swelling, and abdominal bloating .
Now, if your stools are soft and pass easily and you pass them at least 2 times per day, I would say you’re not constipated.
In order to be diagnosed with constipation, you must have at least two of the following symptoms for at least 12 months:
- Hard or pellet-like stools at least 25% of the time
- Straining with bowel movements at least 25% of the time
- A feeling that you don’t completely empty your bowels at least 25% of the time
- Fewer than 5 bowel movements per week
Although constipation is not a disease, take its symptoms seriously as constipation can be the root problem to stress, lack of energy, and back pain, just to name a few. Once you are able to target the root of the problem, the process of finding answers becomes much easier, and in some cases, life-saving.
For this reason I recommend using an oxygen based colon cleanser to keep your bowel movements regular.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM
- National Institutes of Health. Constipation. NIH Publication No. 07-2754. 2007 July.
- National Institutes of Health. Digestive Diseases Statistics for the United States. NIH Publication No. 10–3873. 2010 June.
- Mayo Clinic. Constipation. 2011 January 14.
- Williams, Robert MD. Constipation: symptoms. Health Grades Inc. 2011 March 16.
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