Constipation is defined as infrequent passage of hard stools. Individuals may also complain of straining, a sensation of incomplete evacuation of the rectum and abdominal discomfort. One will often feel like going to the toilet but won’t easily be able to pass out any waste on visiting the toilet.

Causes of constipation may either be directly from in within the alimentary canal or indirectly from other systems of the body. They include;

  • The most common cause is poor diet, inform of eating fiber-less solid food without taking enough water
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (spectrum of disorders affecting processing of food in the gut),
  • Pregnancy
  • Cancers along the alimentary canal,
  • Hemorrhoids (swollen blood vessels around the anal canal or rectum),
  • Abnormal structure of the gut due to improper development before birth
  • Drugs like some antidepressants, strong painkillers e.g morphine, cough suppressants e.g codeine, iron supplements and peptic ulcer drugs containing aluminum
  • Nerve problems due to spinal cord injury, stroke or old age
  • Other medical conditions like diabetes mellitus, thyroid disease

Chronic constipation, that is constipation which has taken more than 2 weeks after attempted simple treatment requires immediate medical assessment and hence intervention after identification of the its primary cause

Drugs called laxatives are used to treat constipation conservatively and are commonly found in pharmacies. Its use should be directed by a doctor. Prolonged use can lead to constipation which will not easily be relieved by the same drugs after some time

However, here are some home remedies and lifestyle changes which can relieve constipation

  • Eat foods rich in fibre, e.g. fruits and green vegetables
  • Drink at least 2 glasses of water per every main solid meal
  • In case you feel the urge to defaecate, do so as soon as possible because the more you wait, the harder the faeces will become
  • Avoid stress by simple regular exercise
  • Avoid or cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoke per day