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Constipation Awareness: Learn More
Jan 13, 2023

Constipation Awareness: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Prevention

With many companies allowing work from home, meetings taking place virtually and adjustable working hours, it has been welcome change to this work culture unanimously by working professionals. However, even though this has allowed them to spend more time with their loved ones, it also had a negative impact on their health. Longer working hours, irregular eating habits and lack of movement may have caused an increase in the number of health problems that work-from-home professionals face. Amongst them, you may consider constipation a common problem. Although constipation is not new, it is important to understand more about this condition.

What is Constipation?

Constipation is a chronic condition wherein the person experiences irregular bowel movements or has difficulty in passing stool. Medically, a person is said to be suffering from constipation if they have less than three bowel movements in a week. As per a survey conducted in 2018, 22% Indians suffer from constipation. This number is alarming, as this statistic may be considered as a reflection on the poor dietary or lifestyle habits people tend to have.

What are the causes of Constipation?

The following are the causes of constipation:
  1. Less intake of fluids, mainly water.
  2. Not eating foods high in fibre, such as bananas, green vegetables, and legumes.
  3. Eating at irregular intervals.
  4. Not getting enough sleep.
  5. Sitting at one place for longer periods without any movement whatsoever.
  6. Delaying bowel movements.
  7. Side effects due to medication.
  8. Continuous consumption of laxatives.
Along with the above causes, constipation is also associated with health problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), eating disorders and cancer, specifically colon cancer.

Symptoms of Constipation

Listed below are some of the common symptoms of constipation:
  1. Not having enough bowel movements.
  2. Trouble in emptying the bowels.
  3. Hard stools.
One other symptom that is quite common is the feeling of not having emptied your bowels despite having a bowel movement.

Impact of Constipation

While one might believe that constipation does not cause any complications, it can lead to the following health problems if the condition is not dealt with:
  1. Haemorrhoids, where the veins in the rectum either get swollen or inflamed.
  2. Tears caused in the lining of the anus due to the passage of hard stools, i.e., anal fissures.
  3. Faecal impaction, i.e., a build-up of faecal matter in the rectum.
  4. Damage caused to the pelvic floor muscles (the helping maintaining a control over your bladder).
A condition like haemorrhoids is covered by your health insurance plan , however, it may be better to get the constipation treated before it advances to such a stage*.

Treatment for Constipation

If you are suffering from constipation, some simple remedies can be followed:
  1. Increasing the daily water intake, such as drink up 3-4 litres of water.
  2. Drinking juices without any added sugars.
  3. Cutting down on the consumption of caffeinated or sugary drinks (as well as alcohol).
  4. Including food items with a higher fibre content.
  5. Including yogurt in your diet.
  6. Avoiding regular consumption of meat products, especially red meat.
  7. Exercising or running regularly to maintain physical activity.
  8. Not delaying bowel movements.
Apart from this, you may also visit your doctor who might recommend you medication such as:
  1. Supplements high in fibre.
  2. Milk of magnesia.
  3. Stool softeners for better bowl movement.
  4. Lubiprostone, to increase intestinal fluid levels.
  5. Linaclotide, if you are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
If the situation persists, advanced medical procedures could be recommended, such as:
  1. An enema.
  2. Surgery to remove faecal matter or any intestinal blockages.
In the event of a surgery, for yourself or a family member, health insurance plans for family can cover the cost of the procedure as well as that of hospitalisation*.

Other preventions against Constipation:

Along with the recommendations given above, do go through the following tips to prevent constipation:
  1. Consuming food items like prune, which can help in dealing with constipation.
  2. Changing your breakfast from sugary items to bran, which promotes gut health.
  3. Consuming probiotic drinks, which contain good bacteria that helps the gut and helps in easing bowel movements.

Things to remember about Constipation:

Here some things to keep in mind when it comes to constipation:
  1. It is more commonly found in aged people.
  2. Women who are pregnant or have given birth to a child may also suffer from constipation.
  3. People with neurological conditions may also suffer from constipation.
Tests are conducted to detect constipation, or any conditions related to it. These tests include:
  1. Marker study, where a pill is used to detect its movement through your colon and is checked through X-rays.
  2. Anorectal manometry, where the strength of the anal sphincter muscle is evaluated.
  3. Colonoscopy, where your colon is checked using a microscopic camera.
Check your policy document to see if either of these tests are a part of your health insurance benefits*.


Constipation is a condition that can be overcome with the proper treatment and guidance. It is your responsibility to get the timely treatment if any symptoms or complications related to it arise. To get treated for any complications, you can rely on health insurance plan to cover its cost*.   Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. For more details on benefits, exclusions, limitations, terms, and conditions, please read the sales brochure/policy wording carefully before concluding a sale. *Standard T&C apply

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