Posted by Joe Downer | | Posted in Acupuncture, Chronic Pain, Colitis, Fatigue, Hypertension, Kidney Stones, Spastic Colon, Stomach Issues.
Constipation is a symptom indicating some kind of digestive problem. It typically is defined as lack of bowel movements for 3 to 5 days, generally occurring because of muscle contractions being too slow and/or water absorption from the stool being too great so that the stool is hard and dry. Causes include:
- Pregnancy resulting in frequent urination, causing large fluid loses
- Frequent suppression of a bowel movement
- Inadequate fiber in the diet
- Overuse of laxatives
- Hormonal disorders
- Diabetes and other diseases affecting the muscles and nerves of the colon
- Central nervous system diseases (e.g. Parknson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis)
- Colonic inertia (the muscles and nerves of the colon do not work normally)
- Pelvic floor dysfunction
- Certain medications (pain relievers, antacids and blood pressure medications)
Home Remedies, OTC Medications and Drugs for Constipation
Constipation typically is treated after a day or two by drinking more water or juices, and with over-the-counter remedies: laxatives and fiber supplements.
Adding more high fiber foods to the diet, reducing the amount of processed foods, meats and milk-based foods (which contain no fiber), and avoiding caffeine drinks and alcohol (which are dehydrating) aid in moving digested matter and excreta. Increasing fluids helps to soften the stool and aids in excretion. These can be helpful in early stages of constipation before the condition becomes unbearable and/or serious.
Fiber comes in different forms depending on the food source. Their action and effectiveness can vary. Flatulence often is an embarrassing side effect of increased fiber intake. Increasing fluid intake helps to prevent “hardening” of the fiber and obstruction of the intestine.
Laxatives and enemas can be helpful but excessive use can lead to damage of the colon’s nerve cells, reducing the colon’s ability to contract and complete natural evacuation. Laxatives tend to interfere with normal digestion and absorption of nutrients as well as with the action of some drugs.
Several drugs are available for possible relief of constipation. Efficacy varies and is not predictable. Certain drugs are not recommended for diabetics. Young children should not be prescribed drugs which have diarrhea as a side effect. No drugs are recommended when there are repeated episodes of constipation.
Acupuncture Treatment for Constipation
Acupuncture helps to restore balance to the body’s systems. This has both short-term and long-term positive effects:
Acupuncture treatments can relax the colon, spleen and stomach, resulting in stimulated bowel movement. Acupuncture also enhances the effectiveness of laxatives.
Constipation during pregnancy is common. Acupuncture is safe both for the mother and the fetus.
Constipation Should be Considered a Real Medical Condition
Constipation which does not respond to home treatment, or which recurs, should be referred to a medical professional to determine the cause and to receive treatment before serious complications occur.
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By Logan McKnight | Submitted On September 26, 2007
Chen, Chien-Yue, Ming-Da Ke, Cheng-Deng Kuo, Chien-Hsun Huang, Ya-Hsin Hsueh, and Jing-Rhong Chen.
“The Influence of Electro-Acupuncture Stimulation to Female Constipation Patients.”
The American journal of Chinese medicine 41, no. 02 (2013): 301-313.