Constipation could lead to serious health problems
A teenager with a fear of toilets recently suffered a heart attack that was linked to not having a bowel movement for eight weeks. While families members tried to discuss the problem with her and encourage her to seek medical care, she refused help.
The teen lost her life to something that could have easily been prevented with proper medical care, experts agree. The story is a rare situation, but sheds light on the health hazards of constipation.
“Most people will probably laugh at the story, but it is very tragic,” says Dr. Rick Bone, gastroenterologist with Advocate Medical Group in South Holland, Ill. “If you haven’t had a bowel movement in two or more weeks, you need to see a doctor to identify the problem. A fear or aversion to defecating is more common with children, especially those who are shamed for it, but it can cause a severe problem.”
What could start out as constipation could actual be something more significant like an impacted bowel, which is essentially a large clump of dry hard stool stuck in your rectum. This means that toxins and other materials are staying within the body, thus, polluting and harming it.
“There are a few solutions to an impacted bowel,” says Dr. Bone, “Likely it would be treated first with an enema, and if that failed, surgical removal may be required. We would then work to ensure it doesn’t happen again through various initiatives.”
To treat constipation, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests adding high fiber foods such as prunes, apricots, plums, raisins, peas, beans, broccoli, whole grain cereals and breads to a child’s diet, as well as cutting back on bananas, rice and cereals or breads not high in fiber. They also caution parents to never give their children a laxative without first speaking with the child’s pediatrician.
For those who have trouble with relieving themselves, it may be time to make a trip to the doctor.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.