Constipation can occur in adults as well as amongst kids. An idea about the symptoms of constipation helps in a timely treatment.
When the bowels are regular the stools are generally passed once daily and their consistency is soft. However, when a person is suffering from constipation then the stools become hard and dry. Such stools are difficult to be excreted. The hardness of the stools is due to excessive water absorption by the intestines.
The intestine absorbs the water from the food as it passes through it. The food gets pushed downwards towards the rectum by peristalsis. This is a wave-like contraction in the intestinal walls that propels the food forward. If the peristalsis is not regular due to some reasons then the food tends to pass through very slowly. This leads to excessive absorption of moisture from it and results in dry stools. Hard and dry stools are one of the symptoms of constipation.
If the peristalsis is irregular then the transit time taken by the food in reaching the rectum from our mouth increases. Hence we may have infrequent bowel movement as the intestines get choked up with waste. Passing bowels just once in three days is one of the symptoms of constipation.
Straining is one of the symptoms too. When the stools are quite hard they produce straining.
Some of the other symptoms include:
- Coated tongue
- Foul breathe
- Loss of appetite
- Involuntary loss of weight
- An offensive taste in the mouth
- Abdominal cramps
- A feeling of incomplete evacuation after passing stools
- Nausea and vomiting may occur in severe cases
- Rabbit-like small stools even if they are passed daily
- Pain in the anus while passing stools
- Continual constipation till two weeks with abdominal cramps is a symptom of lead poisoning.
If constipation occurs as a symptom of an underlying disorder then a medical examination is imperative to help the doctor in identifying the root cause.
The following symptoms appear in such cases:
- Recurrent vomiting and abdominal cramps along with constipation.
- Rectal bleeding.
- Fecal impaction
- Anal fissures.
- In case constipation occurs in infants the following symptoms are found:
The stool is pellet-like.
The infant has bouts of crying that finally stop after he passes stools.
- The abdomen becomes stiff
The pain caused while passing hard stools frightens the kids. Hence they may try to suppress their urge to pass stools. They do so usually by crossing their legs, rocking to and fro and by tightening their buttocks in a bid to avoid the painful experience.