Diagnosis Constipation

diagnosis constipationAre you already in a bad mood in the morning? That happens easily if the Colon doesn't work.

Nearly everybody gets affected if the natural urge to get rid of digested food can't be followed. Specialists estimate that about one third of all people are more or less affected by either mild or strong constipation. In most industrialized countries people complain about constipation.

Small changes in the lifestyle could easily help to get rid of this problem, because most of the people who suffer from constipation are not ill. They have a healthy colon.

What does diagnosis 'constipation' mean? Are you really constipated?


A lot of people have the following complaint: In the morning, when we want to go, nothing happens. The day is very busy with activities which stop us from doing a "longer business". Next morning we wait for success and maybe the next morning too. Later we start worrying. The belly gets bloated and the pants get tighter. We don't feel well and want to get rid of the problem and take laxatives.

Every one is different

Some people feel constipated even though they go to the toilet every day, but relieve only small amounts and often hard.

Others suffer because the colon empties very rarely like once a week or even less.

Doctors see restricted mobility of the Colon as a functional problem. If muscles and nerves of the Colon don't work correctly then the food doesn't move. Over time it gets worse because the food turns into hard pieces and the Colon muscles have to work much harder.

With every day the food doesn't move, the Colon looses more water and this causes constipation.

What's the reason?

Our digestive organs developed with the goal to digest the little food that we ate optimally.

But what did our ancestors eat? Researchers are convinced that they ate mainly seed, berries, leaves, roots etc. On occasions they would be lucky to hunt some meat or fish. So the digestive tract was used to mainly digesting vegetarian food. Only in recent years did the consumption of meat rise.

Our old design of the colon has to cope these days with refined snacks like pizza, chocolates, ice cream, hot dogs etc, even though it is not designed to deal with such foods. The main reason for constipation is often a shortage of bulk. We eat to little foods that fill the plate and rather go for creamy snacks or chips or diet foods which don't produce any bulk.

When the "friends" hunger

Our colon can't deal alone with the leftovers that land there. It needs to work with the bacteria to get the most from the food. The important bacteria of the large intestine live together with us in a community. (Symbioses). They sit, billions thick on the sides of the colon wall and produce a lot of different materials that help with our metabolism and make sure that the mucous membranes of the colon wall stay healthy.

A healthy colon flora is very important for our immune system to help fight bad bacteria and viruses which it can only do if we supply enough bulk to it. 40 to 50 grams a day is the best way to make sure that everything works well. If you suffer from constipation you probably need a lot more (80 to 100grams).

If we don't supply enough bulk for the system the mucous membranes of the colon can shrink and become susceptible to problems.

Other risk factors

A lot of people don't take the time to go to the toilet. The urge collides with the hectic lifestyle of our society. Often the colon shows a urge short after breakfast, but under the influence of stress hormones the colon is shut down. We have to run to catch the bus or we are already late for our first appointment of the day.

The urge disappears and the colon gives up. Our digestive tract has a very intelligent nerve structure that is sensitive to outer stimulation. Due to the close relationship between brain and belly, the colon nerves can suffer immensely due to stress. The result is constipation.

A work schedule without regular breaks, shift work and travelling can influence the workings of the colon. Not enough exercise is another reason for constipation.

The colon gets lazy if the muscles in the belly get weak and there is not enough blood circulation pumping through all tissues in the belly. Even a small walk a day can work wonders for the colon.

The afflicted organ

Our lifestyle is not always the reason for a malfunction of the Colon. Medicines like antidepressants, blood pressure medication, Iron supplements and cough medicine to name just a few .

Most of the time we have to change our diet to adjust for these things. Fibers have to be increased to help with digestion. Funnily enough laxatives are often the culprit when it comes to constipation. This is why it is best to avoid laxatives where possible.

If we can't find a reason for the constipation, often a disruption in the nerves of the colon wall is the reason for a "irritable bowel syndrome". 16% of women and 8% of men suffer from IBS. Symptoms are pain, hard stools and occasional diarrhoea.

Common Causes

A deformation of the colon wall (Diverticula) is one of the most common side affects of constipation. It is often only diagnosed after years of constipation when not enough fibre was consumed in the diet. Whereby the colon muscles had to constantly use high pressure to move the food along.

The consequence: Parts of the mucous membrane are pushed through the muscle walls into little pouches to the outside. Over time they get filled with food and bacteria and can get inflamed (diverticulitis).

What can you do?

If the doctor can't find a reason for your constipation, then it is about time that you looked at your lifestyle. Obviously you have to change something about your food habits.

You need fibre and other nutrients for a proper digestion. To just increase fibre will often not do the trick. For someone who suffers from constipation for a long time the average amount of fibre is not enough. You need to find foods that have less calories and more fibre.

Use the food buying guide to find the right choice for you.