Constipation as a result of self-isolation: why it occurs and how to treat it

The coronavirus has made its own adjustments in all areas of our lives. Including affected health

Even those people who did not encounter it indirectly suffered – a sedentary lifestyle and unbalanced diet became the cause of constipation. And often in a chronic form.

Why are constipation dangerous? How to recover from isolation? What drugs are best for taking? We talked about this with a hepatologist, a leading gastroenterologist at GVM international and the Institute of Plastic Surgery, a member of the American and European Gastroenterological Association, head of federal educational programs for doctors, author of more than 160 scientific papers and the book “Healthy Intestine”, Ph.D. Sergey Vyalov.

  • Why does constipation occur and how is it related to isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic?
  • In self-isolation, people move little and eat a lot. They mainly eat food that is completely absorbed in the intestines and settles on the sides, increasing body weight. – For the intestines to function well, it needs fiber. These are insoluble fibers found in plant foods. There are many of them in fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, cereals. There are no enzymes in the intestines to break down these fibers; they pass through it in transit. Fiber is beneficial because it irritates the intestinal walls, normalizes peristalsis, detoxifies and induces regular bowel movements. In addition, it is not absorbed, which means it does not settle on the sides. But most people eat too few fruits and vegetables. Good fruits are expensive, and vegetables are not as tasty as sweets, baked goods, or pasta and meat.
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  • What are the dangerous chronic constipation?
  • Chronic constipation is one of the risk factors for colorectal cancer. The intestines should be emptied regularly so that the contents do not stagnate in it. If it stagnates, reactions of putrefaction, fermentation occur, and a large amount of toxins are released. They act on the intestinal wall for years, provoking first polyps, and then cancer.
  • Many people think that constipation is nonsense: I drank a pill and everything went away. It is even better to be treated with herbal preparations, for example, hay. She is very popular among the people …
  • In fact, taking medications for life is not the best solution. And senna is not the best choice. Preparations based on it after 4-12 months of regular use cause intestinal melanosis – the deposition of pigment in the mucous membrane and submucosa. This is one of the likely reasons why people who take senna are more likely to get colorectal cancer.

In general, it is always worth remembering that herbal preparations, no matter how natural they are, always have side effects. And sometimes serious. For example, anthraglycosides contained in senna, with prolonged use, can cause inflammatory changes in the intestine, up to ulceration [1]. With the abuse of senna drugs, pseudomelanosis of the large intestine can develop – brown-black pigmentation of the mucous membrane. Fortunately, this phenomenon is reversible and disappears after drug withdrawal [2]. There are cases when Senna preparations in case of an overdose had a toxic effect on the liver [3]. In addition, long-term use of such drugs increases the risk of colorectal cancer [4].

  • And how to treat constipation? Are there any safe laxatives?
  • Look for medicines without senna in the composition. Doctors usually recommend sodium picosulfate to their patients – it helps to quickly cope with constipation and is not addictive.

Modern drugs based on sodium picosulfate have a number of advantages – they are not absorbed in the intestine, do not interfere with the absorption of nutrients, do not enter the bloodstream, which means they do not stress the liver. Their task is to stimulate the natural bowel cleansing process. They act 10-12 hours after ingestion, that is, taken at night – in the morning with the intestines in full order.

3 tips to prevent constipation

Doctors say that it is easier to prevent the disease than to cure it later. We asked Sergei Vyalov to tell you how to avoid constipation. And here are his tips:

  1. Eat right. To prevent constipation a day, it is enough to eat 20 g of fiber and drink 1.5 liters of water. For the treatment of constipation, the dose of fiber should be increased to 30 g, and the amount of water – up to 2 liters.
  2. Do not self-medicate. Taking laxatives can be episodic, but by no means regular.
  3. See your doctor to find the cause of constipation. Constipation can be a symptom of many diseases: diabetes mellitus, thyroid dysfunction, Parkinson’s disease, numerous pathologies of the rectum and colon. And sometimes the bowel function is disturbed by drugs: from pressure, from depression, from heartburn, from anemia, etc.