There are numerous myths surrounding defecation, or the removal of feces from the digestive tract. It is possible that we have a defecation problem or that we consciously hold the stool for an extended period of time. What are the possible consequences of this behavior?
The removal of feces from the body is known as defecation. This is a physiological process that differs greatly between infants and the elderly. The stool must travel a long distance in order to exit. It gathers in the rectal ampulla, which then expands, creating a sense of urgency.
What is constipation?
Constipation is simply an issue with bowel movements. There are many potential causes of constipation, but the most prevalent ones are a poor diet, a lack of water, a lack of exercise, or the long-term use of specific medications.
Irritable bowel syndrome patients may experience constipation. They are more likely to affect the elderly. Constipation symptoms include a feeling that the bowel is not emptying, hard stool, or not having a bowel movement for at least three days.
How to deal with constipation?
Constipation can be treated on occasion. Fiber-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, pumpkin seeds, and whole grains, should be included in the diet. It is advised to eat small meals 4-5 times per day and to drink plenty of fluids. Physical activity can also help because movement encourages bowel movements. Consult your doctor if natural methods do not work.
While constipation occurs regardless of our will, we have an impact on stopping the bowel movement. It happens that we refrain from visiting the toilet when circumstances are unfavorable—we are at work, shopping, or simply lack time. A temporary delay in defecation is nothing dangerous, it does not affect our body. However, if we hold the stool for too long, we can have unpleasant consequences, e.g., discomfort, pain during subsequent emptying, or a hard stool.
Serious consequences of stool retention
Occasional stool withholding has no serious consequences, but frequent and prolonged stool withholding is harmful to our health. The intestine absorbs more water from the fecal mass the longer we hold the feces in the rectum, making it harder to excrete the stool. Constant holding of a bowel movement can result in anal canal injuries. Furthermore, the rectum muscles may become stretched, causing the urge to defecate and visit the toilet to become less frequent. As a result, we begin to do even less. This situation necessitates medical attention.
Habitual constipation in adults
Adult constipation is most commonly caused by dietary mistakes. A low-residue diet contains little fiber, which weakens the large intestine’s peristaltic movements and contributes to stool retention. A dry, compact stool with a small volume is a common symptom of adult habitual constipation. It can be either black or dark brown. There may also be a feeling of pressure and fullness in the abdomen, as well as drowsiness and headache.