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What Constipation Symptoms Should You Worry About?
Constipation is a condition with a wide range of causes ranging from poor diet, inadequate water intake, lack of exercise, use of new medication, fecal impaction, polyps, hormone imbalance, and even traveling. The most commonly accepted definition of constipation relates it to infrequent bowel movements. However, the range of constipation symptoms extends well beyond this definition with some of them being warning signs of much more serious health issues. So, which constipation symptoms should you worry about?
Abdominal Constipation Symptoms
If you have constipation symptoms such as cramps or abdominal pains, then it is possible that you have a blockage or fecal impaction. The impaction generally forms at the bottom of your large intestines and rectum. No new feces can be passed in bowel movements once the impaction hardens and becomes dry. The result is a growing pressure on your abdomen and lower back due to the feces piling up behind the impaction.
Eventually, if left untreated, abdominal pains will not be your only constipation symptoms. Lower back pain may result if enough feces backs up. In time, the abdominal pains will give way to a loss of appetite or even nausea. You may even notice a milky discharge during bowel movements (with little to no solid stool being present). This milky discharge made it through the fecal impaction because it was watery but even it will cease once the blockage worsens.
The longer the fecal impaction remains, the more severe and intense the constipation symptoms will become. The abdominal pains that once only accompanied a bowel movement will start to be noticeable even when not on the toilet. Ultimately, the impaction is either removed or toxins and bacteria will begin to flood back into your body and cause serious infections.
Bloody Constipation Symptoms
Blood in the stool is never a good sign. At best, it is a mild case of hemorrhoids caused by severe straining during bowel movements. If the constipation is mild and short term, the hemorrhoids will disappear soon enough but you still want to consult with you physician for the best treatment options.
Constipation symptoms involving blood in the stool may also be caused by rectal bleeding. Rectal bleeding can be caused by fissures which are the result of dry, hard stool tearing the anus tissue during a bowel movement. Fissures are particularly painful but these constipation symptoms should heal once the strained bowel movements cease.
Finally, blood in the stool is one of those constipation symptoms that really require a physician’s attention because it may be the result of polyps or colon cancer. Polyps are non-cancerous growths on the inside of your colon. In time, polyps may develop into cancer. However, colon cancer can usually be effectively treated if caught early enough which is why you need to see a doctor immediately when blood in the stool is one of your constipation symptoms. It is perfectly natural to hope that the blood will go away but can be quite deadly if it was the result of a polyp or cancer.