Chronic Constipation: Diagnosis and Treatment

Constipation commonly refers to infrequent or difficult bowel movements. Learn how to resolve or prevent chronic constipation through lifestyle changes and know when to seek medical help for the condition.

What is Chronic Constipation?

Constipation means different things to different people. Most commonly, it refers to infrequent bowel movements, but some interpret it as a decrease in the amount of stool. Others describe constipation as difficulty in passing motion, a sense of incomplete evacuation, or the need for medication to help pass motion.

Chronic Constipation Causes

Our bowel habits are affected by our diet. The average Singaporean adult’s diet includes 12 to 20 grams of fibre per day, which is below the recommended 25 to 30 grams of fibre. Inadequate fibre and water intake may cause constipation. A sedentary lifestyle or environmental changes may contribute as well.

More serious causes of chronic constipation include growths or narrowing of the colon. The condition may also be a symptom of thyroid disorders or other illnesses, so it is best to seek medical advice should chronic constipation persist.

How to Prevent Chronic Constipation

Eating foods high in fibre, including bran, shredded wheat, wholegrain breads and certain fruits and vegetables will help provide the 25 to 30 grams of fibre per day recommended for proper bowel function. Exercise is also beneficial to proper function of the colon.

Chronic Constipation Treatment

Following a chronic constipation diagnosis, successful treatment can occur by promoting proper bowel function with balanced meals and plenty of fluids. Fibre supplements may help, along with changes in certain lifestyle factors.

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