Top 10 Side Effects of constipation that you need to know
Welcome back to another episode of poop talk at Mrmed blog show! It will definitely not be the dinner conversation because today, we will talk about the side effects of holding your stools for a longer time.
The frequency of bowel movements is personally unique to each of us. None of them like to disclose it casually. “Normal” bowel frequency ranges from one bowel movement a day to three per week. If pooping thrice a week is normal for you, then no intervention is needed. But what if your bowel movements are only once per week? It means that you are constipated. It is one of the most common and usual gastrointestinal problems affecting all age groups. It can be treated easily by incorporating a few changes in your diet and lifestyle. But when left untreated, it worsens and causes unwanted side effects on your body and mind. Here, Let’s learn about the top 10 side effects of constipation that people see almost every single day. But before we ignite the flame, let’s understand that this blog is specially done for those suffering from constipation for more than three weeks.
Hey, hold on! Before getting to know about the side effects, it is significant to gain insights about constipation, its causes, symptoms, and, specifically, the remedies. Now, let's dive in!
What do I mean by chronic constipation, exactly?
Here we will talk only about chronic constipation, the serious, long-term type. There are two different ways to describe chronic constipation. The first is according to the Rome III diagnostic criteria; you are chronically constipated if you have at least any two of the following symptoms: hard and lumpy stools, fewer than three bowel movements per week in the previous three months, sense of incomplete evacuation, and sense of anorectal obstruction.
One more way to tell whether you are constipated chronically is with the help of the Bristol Stool Form Scale - a visual explanation to classify poop into one of seven categories. Frequent passing of Type 1 and Type 2 from the assessment scale indicates that you are constipated.
Top 10 side effects of constipation on the body and the mind
1. Adding the pounds
Weight gain and constipation go hand-in-hand. The first and foremost reason for adding weight is water retention. Perhaps it may be your body’s tactics to hold up water to ease constipation or it may be due to the little bacteria in your gut. Scientifically, the reasons have not been predicted, but either way, it can surge your weight gain.
2. Skin Breakouts
Poor gut health can lead to poor skin health. It may be beyond belief, but the truth is there is a strong relationship between acne, skin breakouts, and constipation. Primarily the toxins are eliminated from our body via the digestive system, but it is jeopardized during constipation. So these toxins get reabsorbed into the bloodstream from the colon and exit through the major detoxification organ - skin. On top of the toxin regulation, another reason for skin breakouts is the lack of a beneficial gut microbiome. Dietary changes may help you to relieve the issues.
3. Sudden structural conditions
Gone are the days of visiting the loo with magazines or books for entertainment. Sitting for longer on the toilet and struggling to poop causes extra pressure on your veins around the rectum and anus, causing them to be swollen and inflamed. Difficulty in passing hard stools may also cause rectal prolapse and anal tears. Some of the conditions may require surgical intervention if not treated earlier.
4. Estrogen dominance
To understand the effects of constipation on estrogen dominance, it is important to know about the two important female hormones - estrogen and progesterone. They both are like a seesaw swing, shifting up and down during women's monthly cycle. When estrogen goes up, progesterone comes down, and this effect causes negative symptoms to arise: poor sleep, tiredness, anxiety, heavy periods, weight gain, and irritability. Constipation can inhibit the excretion of unwanted estrogen from the body and stimulate its reabsorption, making the estrogen remain high and the progesterone stays low.
Man-made environmental estrogen that is present in hormone-injected meats and poultry, as well as some pesticides, petrochemicals, herbicides, plastics, fuels, car exhausts, and plastic-softening compounds are unwanted estrogen which enter the body and contribute to the estrogen load. An improper diet, lack of exercise, insufficient sleep, and too much stress can all increase and accelerate the estrogen burden. Constipation worsens estrogen dominance because the body’s natural detoxification process prevents the reabsorption of estrogen-like toxins into the bloodstream. When this process of elimination is delayed, excess estrogen is not allowed to leave the body by being excreted in the feces, resulting in hormonal imbalance.
5. Poor defense system
Did you know the fact that 70% of your immune system is in your gut? So, to fight back the viruses and bacteria all over the year, your digestive tract should be in tip-top condition. First of all, constipation reduces peristaltic activity, a wave-like movement in your stomach that makes the food pass through the gastrointestinal tract. This reduces the absorption of key nutrients from the intestines, which support the immune system's actions. Secondly, constipation interrupts the growth of intestinal flora (gut bacteria), which is crucial for the body’s immune response. A lack of good bacteria in your stomach increases your chances of getting a cold and falling sick.
6. Fecal impaction
Fecal impaction results from severe or chronic constipation. It happens due to the solid blockage of stools that get stuck so badly in your colon or rectum that you feel hard to push it out. This condition is more common in older adults who already have bowel problems. This requires immediate medical attention. In severe cases, if left untreated, this can cause ulcers or bowel perforation, leading to grave illness or even death. You can do certain things, like eating high-fiber foods, drinking plenty of water, staying active, and taking stool softeners that your doctor prescribes to reduce your chances of getting fecal impaction.
7. Thinning Of Hair And Brittle Nails
As we know, constipation can decrease the absorption of nutrients, which are vital for growth and development. Nutritional deficiencies certainly affect your hair's growth by making it thin and causing brittle nails. This might not be as serious as others, but it will definitely affect your overall beauty and well-being. Few home remedies may help you to resolve this condition quicker.
8. Unhealthy Gut! Unhappy Mind!
Let me tell you a secret, believe it or not, mood and anxiety disorders are the scientific best friend of constipation, sheesh! Even constipation is a symptom, recent researchers have shown intestinal flora has been linked with the happy hormone - most of the serotonin is produced in the gut. When there is a decrease in gut microbiota, you are likely to be affected by anxiety and depression. On a happier note, many people reported feeling happier and high after pooping. This is because the vagus nerve creates a two-way street between our brain and gut.
9. SIBO - Stay In, Don’t Bounce Out!
Everyone carries the little bacteria in their gut, which helps digestion. But if things get out of their place, then problems arise. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is caused when bacteria that are normally present in the large intestine start to grow in the small intestine, where they usually don't belong. Constipation is one of the risk factors for causing SIBO. The most common symptoms of SIBO are tummy pain, indigestion, and bloating. It can be treated easily with certain medications and lifestyle changes.
10. To Be Dead Tired
Constipation and tiredness go arm in arm. Both may not be the causes of each other, but they may be due to other conditions. Since constipation causes impaired detoxification, the toxic levels circulating in your bloodstream can impact your energy levels and make you feel sluggish and tired.
The End Note
“No Action Is Without Its Side Effects”
So, we are at the end of our show - the side effects of constipation on the body and the mind are Bad news! If you have any of these signs and symptoms, it is advisable to consult a doctor. It is necessary to find the root cause of constipation and eliminate it. But, in the meantime, you can fire a few strategies to get rid of these nasty side effects to enjoy good health and perfect poops in the future.