Children often hold their bowel movements while they are involved in play. Some children do it on a regular basis. Children are also known to drink less water unless they are almost forced to do so. Most children tend to eat more carbohydrate-rich foods or pure protein foods. All these lead to the biggest problem some children face--that big bad wolf of constipation.
But wait, children are not the only ones who suffer from constipation. Almost everyone goes through this condition at least once in their lifetime.
Constipation is defined as the slow process or movement of food through the digestive system. The colon plays an important role in the digestion process and this is where the food takes its last stance before defecation occurs. Different kinds of constipation include : infrequent bowel movements, difficulty passing stools, hard stools, incomplete emptying of the bowel, irritable bowel syndrome, and fecal impaction, which is hardening of the stools in the rectum, preventing it from being passed through the anal passage. Fecal impaction sometimes may require a surgical intervention in elderly and bedridden patients to remove feces. (Source: medicinenet.com).
Constipation is also known as three or fewer bowel movements a week, hard and dry stools, and as painful bowel movements. The number of bowel movements per week decreases as a person grows older. According to medicinenet.com about 95 percent of adults move their bowels anywhere from three to 21 times per week. Severe constipation occurs when someone has an average of one bowel movement per week. As opposed to popular opinion, a person does not necessarily need to pass stools every day. Reduced bowel movements do not cause an increase in toxins or cancers.
There are two kinds of serious constipation:
Acute: this requires assessment by a physician for other underlying illnesses, and it may cause rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, cramps, and/or unexplained weight loss.
Chronic: this may not need to be addressed by a physician. Usually relief can be sought by life changes including eating more fiber-rich foods, increasing water intake, and getting more exercise.