Constipation course & prognosis

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Incontinence and constipation
Incontinence and constipation

For others, it can become a chronic, long-term problem that causes a considerable amount of pain and discomfort, and affects the quality of their life. 

Steps that will help

1. Lifestyle changes can help relieve constipation and should be tried first.

Consider making the following changes:

  • Drink more water
  • Add more fibre to your diet (increase your intake of fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains slowly)
  • Don’t skip meals
  • Eat less refined (white) food and junk food
  • Eat foods that are natural laxatives (e.g. prunes)
  • Increase your activity levels

2. Taking a laxative short-term to relive constipation. These contain chemicals that help increase stool motility, bulk or frequency of stools.

They’re usually recommended only for the short-term, as overuse can cause chronic constipation.  

Prognosis

Most people with constipation have no physical digestive system diseases or conditions associated with the constipation. Most of the time, constipation is related to poor dietary habits, low fluid intake, and lack of exercise. Therefore, most people can expect a full recovery and a return to normal bowel function within a short time. 

For people with constipation that’s caused by a disease, recovery occurs when the primary disease is attended to. 

However, more severe gastrointestinal symptoms may occur if problems with constipation continue long term. These include irreparable anatomical lesions of the intestine, atrophy, peritonitic adhesions, malpositions of the bowel, perforation and inflammation of the thin layer of tissue that covers the inside of the abdomen, and death.  

If surgery is required to remove a cancerous or problematic portion of bowel, the individual may require an artificial opening (stoma) of the colon through the abdominal wall for the purpose of faecal elimination (colostomy). A colostomy may be temporary or permanent depending on the portion of bowel that’s surgically removed. 

Read more:
Diagnosing constipation

Reviewed by Kim Hofmann, registered dietitian, BSc Medical (Honours) Nutrition and Dietetics, BSc (Honours) Psychology. December 2017.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
How do you feel about the impending replacement of the Eskom board?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Finally, time for Eskom's new dawn!
5% - 36 votes
It’ll be new faces, same problems
46% - 316 votes
Great - as long as they keep CEO André de Ruyter
48% - 330 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.85
+1.2%
Rand - Pound
19.27
+0.3%
Rand - Euro
17.23
+0.9%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.60
+0.6%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+1.1%
Gold
1,636.83
+0.9%
Silver
18.68
+1.8%
Palladium
2,067.50
+1.2%
Platinum
864.50
+1.4%
Brent Crude
84.06
-2.5%
Top 40
57,525
+0.4%
All Share
63,909
+0.4%
Resource 10
56,621
+0.7%
Industrial 25
79,481
-0.1%
Financial 15
14,138
+1.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE