The Aword

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Complications of Long Term Constipation

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  • Atonic (non-functioning) colon which may also result from long-term
    use of stimulant laxatives
  • Diverticular disease (chronic); diverticulitis (acute attacks)
  • Faecal impaction
  • Intestinal obstruction (or even perforation)
  • Faecal incontinence : may have overflow diarrhoea
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Urinary tract infection especially with E. Coli, a normal gut bacterium
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Cramping lower abdominal and back pain
  • Generalised weakness

Straining to defaecate causes

  • An increase in intrathoracic (chest cavity) pressure which can lead to a
    reduction in coronary (heart), cerebral (brain) and peripheral circulation.
  • development of hernias,
  • worsening of symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux (GORD),
  • transient ischaemic attacks (mini-strokes) and syncope (fainting) in 
    patients  with neurological disease
  • Haemorrhoids may develop due to straining.




There has been an association between chronic constipation and
cancer of the colon suggested in the literature; however, the evidence for
this is not conclusive.

Recommending a high fibre, low-red meat diet and regular exercise in
itself has been recognised in helping to reduce the risk of colon cancer as
well as being beneficial in combating constipation.