There is a great deal of variability in bowel habits from person to person; a normal stool frequency may vary from three stools per week up to three stools per day. Constipation is defined as the infrequent passage of stool. It may be secondary to sluggish colonic motility, in which soft stool is seen throughout the colon, or to difficulties with evacuation in which firm stool is seen primarily in the sigmoid and rectum.
The dangers of excessive purging are salt and fluid loss and gradually increasing desensitization of the bowel to normal stimuli; the latter effect forces the cathartic user to employ larger and larger doses.
Laxatives are used to increase stool frequency and reduce stool viscosity. Even with long-term use, bulk laxatives and pure osmolar laxatives do not predispose patients to formation of a cathartic-type colon and should be the initial agents used for chronic constipation after a structural obstructing lesion has been excluded. Laxatives are also used before radiological, en-doscopic, and abdominal surgical procedures; such preparations quickly empty the colon of fecal material. Nonabsorbable hyperosmolar solutions or saline laxatives are used for this purpose. Classification and comparison of representative laxatives are provided in Table 40.1.
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Did you ever think feeling angry and irritable could be a symptom of constipation? A horrible fullness and pressing sharp pains against the bladders can’t help but affect your mood. Sometimes you just want everyone to leave you alone and sleep to escape the pain. It is virtually impossible to be constipated and keep a sunny disposition. Follow the steps in this guide to alleviate constipation and lead a happier healthy life.