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When does constipation become dangerous?
From FITBOOK | October 18, 2020, 9:28 a.m.
If you have to but can't, that's uncomfortable. But also dangerous to health at the same time? It is often warned of a potentially fatal intestinal obstruction. FITBOOK explains when you should start worrying, which home remedies can provide relief - and what to do in case of hardship.
Constipation describes difficult bowel movements. Affected people can rarely go to the toilet and if they do, they have pain, as the hardened intestinal contents can only be excreted by pressing (and sometimes not even then).
Defecation less than 3 times a week
Doctors speak of constipation (technical term: constipation) when a patient goes to the toilet less than three times a week. But that would not automatically be a cause for concern: When it comes to bowel movements, every organism has its own rhythm, some can do it three times a day, others hardly every second.
Relocation and other causes of constipation
Women are twice as likely to suffer from constipation as men, and more and more as they get older. One speaks of chronic constipation when the symptoms recur over a longer period of time (at least three months) or repeatedly. Sometimes the causes and the associated constipation are only short-lived - for example due to an unbalanced, low-fiber diet, fluid and / or lack of exercise (e.g. bedridden due to an illness).
Digestive problems are not uncommon, especially when traveling. Possible reasons for this are, in addition to any travel stress, unfamiliar foods, spices or meal times.
Cigarette to dissipate
Proper nutrition for sluggish digestion
Various preventive measures are recommended to prevent constipation in the first place. Those with a tendency to digestive problems should avoid alcohol, sweets, empty carbohydrates and very fatty foods. It is also important to eat slowly and chew well, as this allows the salivary enzymes that break down the food to penetrate better and make it digestible. Please also drink enough and incorporate fiber into your diet. They swell in the intestines and thereby speed up bowel movements. Fiber can be found in whole grain products, fruits and vegetables, for example.
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Stress is poison for the entire mind and body, including the gastrointestinal tract. Experts therefore recommend relaxation measures that may look different for each person. Exercise is also important - if you are sluggish, so is your bowel.
Home remedies for constipation
There are some foods that have mild laxative effects. Including sauerkraut, raw onions and dried fruit. Flea seeds, flax seeds and bran swell by storing water in the intestine and thus enlarge the chyme. This is softer and easier to excrete. It can also help give the digestive tract a little nudge by drinking a large glass of cold water right after getting up.
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When should I take a laxative?
If the constipation persists for more than three days, home remedies do not help and noticeable symptoms exist, it may be useful to take a laxative (technical term: laxative). In the pharmacy you will find herbal and chemical preparations for oral use, which, depending on the composition and dosage, should provoke an emptying of the bowels within 10 to 28 hours. Some of them work similarly to the swelling agents mentioned above, others promote bowel movement. There are also the very fast-acting enemas and suppositories that are inserted rectally. It is advisable to delay the urge, which often occurs after minutes, so that the active ingredients can be better distributed and can take as much stool as possible with you.
Important: Please only use laxatives as instructed by a specialist and in an emergency! Over a longer period of time there is a risk of habituation and constipation, which can make higher doses or stronger preparations necessary. Laxative addiction would make natural digestion permanently more difficult and would have to be treated by a doctor.
In the case of intestinal obstruction (ileus), the intestinal wall would be so damaged that it can no longer transport. In the worst case, this part of the intestine would die and bacteria would break down the intestine. Life-threatening blood poisoning is one of the possible consequences. Serious consequences of this kind are particularly likely in older patients with previously damaged intestines or as a side effect of certain medications. For example, opioids can paralyze the intestines.
Dr. med. Matthias Riedl, internist and nutritionist at Medicum Hamburg, gave FITBOOK technical advice.
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