- Past or present use of medications
- Decreased eating or physical activity as a result of depression or another psychiatric disorder
- Bad habits learned throughout their drinking or drugging career
- Medical conditions gained through their addiction that decrease bowel movement.
- This condition also can make people stop taking medications.
Constipation carries a tremendous cost in terms of resources and quality of life.
People can avoid the discomfort and quality-of-life consequences by promptly dealing with constipation and following a process that has shown value to others.
Symptoms of constipation
- Straining to move bowels
- Lumpy or hard stools
- Sensation of incomplete evacuation
- Sensation of bowel blockage or obstruction
- Manual maneuvers to facilitate defecation
- Fewer than 3 bowel movements per week
- Loose stools are rarely present unless the patient takes a laxative
First one must understand what is meant by “constipation.” Frequency of bowel movements is not the only criterion for diagnosis.
- people who move their bowels daily may meet criteria for chronic constipation if they experience straining, incomplete evacuation, or other symptoms, and,
- many people who complain of constipation have daily, regular bowel movements that produce hard, difficult-to-pass stools or require straining or manual maneuvers.
- In women childbirth and obstetric or gynecologic surgery may also contribute to constipation.
- Also any new prescription or over-the-counter medications or supplements may cause the problem.
- age 50 years or more
- family history of colon cancer or polyps
- family history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
- rectal bleeding, anemia
- weight loss of 10 pounds or more
- new onset of chronic constipation without apparent cause in an elderly patient
- severe, persistent constipation stubborn to normal every day management.
If you have any of the above symptoms you may need to see your doctor and then a specialist for endoscopic or clinical evaluation.
- many mood changing drugs, legal and illicit, may cause constipation.
- one of the most common causes for people in recovery from addiction or alcoholism is the habit of not going to the toilet after the morning meal. Something that may have occurred during drinking and drugging years. Its called the ‘gastrocolic reflex’—the urge to defecate after eating—causes some patients difficulty moving their bowels. Try sitting on the toilet for several minutes after the morning meal to relearn this behavior.
- Older people with constipation may be taking medications for medical conditions—particularly hypertension drugs—that may have interactive effects on slowing bowel movements.
- People with depression may experience decreased stool output because of a lack of food intake or physical activity. These causes may be effectively addressed by treating the depression either through the recovery program or by seeing your doctor.
- Increase activity or daily walking
- Increase fluid intake, but exclude diuretics such as cola drinks or coffee and tea.
- Increase dietary fibre intake
- Use fibre supplements such as bran
- Over-the-counter laxative pills
- Over-the-counter laxative solutions
- Prescription laxatives; see your doctor.
Emerging therapies for constipation include probiotics and prebiotics, which attempt to alter the gut flora and milieu.
People who prefer not to take medication may wish to try probiotics and prebiotics. Because these agents are active cells, purchase a supplement with “live and active” cultures. Supplements that are shipped, stored, or sold at room temperature likely contain very few (if any) live cultures.
If the problem persists or is getting worse – see a doctor.
|The Spirituality of Sobriety: Finding the Spiritual Awakening in Recovery from Alcoholism
by Gregg D.