Constipation – The Shit People Hide

Doctor – Any stomach ache?

My mother – No

Doctor  – What about stool?

My (confused) mother– Stool? Yes, I have a wooden and a plastic one at home.

Doctor sighs and asks again – Potty madam ji?

My mother – Oh all that is fine doctor saab.

I have been listening to it, sitting beside, in the doctor’s cabin where we went for her awful bout of acidity, and couldn’t control myself from intervening, “Fine? Doctor, she has longstanding, chronic constipation. She only goes once or twice in a week to clear her bowl.”

My mother tried to quieten me and was looking visibly embarrassed, “Oh that’s nothing to worry about. I am used to it now. And moreover with my home remedies, I am managing it well.”

This is just one instance of hushing the problem under the carpet. Millions of mother’s, father’s, grandparents, even children are suffering from the condition of constipation and are doing nothing about it.

Why? Because it is considered unladylike, not macho and crude to discuss potty-shushu issues amidst family members, friends and even with a doctor at times.  As if, that is something not a part of our normal anatomy and physiology?

I cannot thank enough the makers of ‘Piku’ and Amitabh Bacchan’s bindaas portrayal of a forever constipated man, who talks about his motion as readily as we discuss Trump’s foreign policy. He makes sure to go in the explicit details of texture, colour and quantity of the excreta.

Thankfully, after watching the movie, a lot of people recognized how grave and discomforting constipation can be.  It gave them a way to vent out their ‘curbed constipated stories’ (pun intended!).

Constipation may not be a killer disease on its own but can definitely destroy your appetite, peace of mind and happiness. You become cranky and feel bloated all the time.

Since it is a medical condition, you would want to know the ‘why’s’ and ‘how’s’ of constipation.

WebMD puts it in the layman’s language as –

 “Being constipated means your bowel movements are tough or happen less often than normal. The normal length of time between bowel movements varies widely from person to person. Some people have them three times a day. Others have them only once or twice a week. Going longer than 3 or more days without one, though, is usually too long. After 3 days, the stool or faeces become harder and more difficult to pass.”

The cause of the condition can range from less fiber and fluids in the diet to high intake of caffeine or dairy. Some medicines like antacids, iron tablets and painkillers can also be blamed for the ‘no activity’ in the washroom. And can you believe it, some people can get constipated because they avoid using public toilets or ignore going to the loo to clear the bowl because they are too ‘busy’. Imagine!

To ‘clear the matter’, your doctor may resort to the conservative treatment initially, such as making dietary changes, suggesting some exercises and prescribing mild laxatives.

If at all that doesn’t help, he would like to order some more tests and may recommend other prescription medication.

Surgery becomes an option when all other treatments have been tried and chronic constipation is caused by a blockage, rectocele, anal fissure or a stricture in the bowl.

Coming back to the ‘awkward’ part of it, guys, it is as natural a functioning as breathing or blinking your eyes. Would you shy away from visiting a doctor if you have trouble in sleeping or chewing?

Likewise any abnormality in the bowl movement, duration, consistency, color or urge has to be reported to a medical practitioner, if you think it is staying put for longer than usual (for three weeks or more).

One must get alarmed if,

  • he has not been constipated before
  • have stomach pain
  • notice blood in stools
  • losing weight without trying

When left untreated, constipation can lead to severe complications such as anal fissures (extremely painful condition), hemorrhoids and rectal prolapsed.

So, instead of suffering silently, visit a doctor and discuss it at length. Trust me, doctors are habitual and immune of all sorts of gross descriptions, sounds, smells and the shitty-potty talk.

You will surely comeback with a solution to ease your motion!

Disclaimer: Any opinion expressed in this blog is my personal and not the opinion of Abbott India Limited. Abbott India Limited does not assume any liability for the content of the blog. The blog post is not meant to be a replacement for a doctor consultation, nor is it a medical recommendation or prescription of treatment for people having constipation problems. Any reader of this blog suffering from constipation problems should specifically consult his/her doctor for treatment and follow the suggested course of treatment.

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