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Constipation: a common condition

 Constipation is a common gastrointestinal condition, which is usually temporary and not serious. Healthcare professionals define it as having fewer than three bowel movements per week. When an individual is constipated, stools are usually small in volume, dry, hard and difficult or painful to eliminate. Many people also experience bloating and an unpleasant feeling of bowel fullness.

 Constipation is a symptom, not a medical condition, and is caused by any dietary, physiological or pathological condition which causes the colon to contract too slowly or to absorb too much water from the stool. A low-fiber diet is frequently the cause, but aging, lack of physical activity, travel, pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, dehydration, certain medications and specific diseases or intestinal disorders can be factors, too.

 Typically constipation can be relieved, and prevented from recurring, by simply changing dietary and lifestyle habits. Diet should be rich in high-fiber foods, such as whole grains, bran cereals, beans, raw vegetables and fresh fruit. Important lifestyle changes also include drinking enough water or other liquids to prevent dehydration, as well as getting enough physical activity.

Finding a solution to constipation*

 Dietary and lifestyle changes alone are usually effective in treating or preventing mild constipation, but they may not be enough to treat severe and prolonged constipation. In the last case laxatives may be necessary. Several different kinds of laxatives are available, often as over-the-counter products. However it is important to remember that different kinds of laxatives work in different ways and their effectiveness varies from person to person. In addition laxatives are not without contraindications or side effects. Thatís why it is advisable, before taking any of these drugs, to consult with oneís own doctor or, at least, to read labels carefully.

 Some laxatives, called bulk-forming laxatives or fiber-supplements, work by absorbing water in the intestine and making the stool softer. These are considered the safest laxatives available, but have to be taken with water to avoid worsening constipation. Other kinds of laxatives include: 1) stimulants, which trigger rhythmic muscle contractions in the intestine to eliminate stool; 2) stool softeners and lubricants, which moisten and grease the stool respectively; 3) osmotic and saline laxatives, which draw water into the colon. Cramping, nausea and diarrhoea are common side effects caused by excessive or prolonged laxative consumption. Other complications can include nutrient malabsorption, dehydration, saline imbalances, as well as interference with other medications.

 Except for bulk-forming laxatives, which are relatively safe and can be used long term, all the other kinds of laxatives should not be used for prolonged periods, since this may cause the colon to lose its ability to contract and empty normally, thereby worsening constipation.

 As constipation (for example while travelling) is a common condition everyone may be affected by certain diseases leading to constipation. Obtaining an appropriate international health insurance before constipation occurs will make up for any future constipation issue that may arise in the future.

If you would like to protect yourself or your family from unexpected medical conditions that may appear you can ask us for a free quotation; we will help you to choose the most appropriate International Healthcare plan.

 International Health insurance plans is an global Health Insurance broker. We have built excellent relationship with top International Health insurance providers. We offer free advice to choose your personalized Medical insurance over a wide range of International Health Insurance plans. You may also contact us. Our quotation is totally free.

*Always seek professional medical advise from a qualified doctor before undergoing any treatment.

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