What is Obstipation?
A type of severe form of constipation called Obstipation or Obstructive Constipation which results from an obstruction in the intestines. It’s a state where the intestines are not fully emptied or there is a failure to pass out stool or gas that will lead to intestinal obstruction. It actually caused by an accumulation of hardened stools due to infrequent bowel movement. There is no specific diagnostic exam for obstipation. Medical professionals just used the patient’s medical history and the presenting signs and symptoms to identify the disease.
Symptoms of Obstipation
The clinical features shown can deceive or mislead the disease. Obstruction cannot be identified immediately without further diagnostic analysis. Obstipation presents as:
- Abdominal distention
- Abdominal pain
- Painful cramps
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Hard stools every 3-5 days or Diarrhea that might be accompanied with blood in the stools
- Loss of appetite
- Increase bowel sounds
Causes of Obstipation
The intestines are composed of large and small intestines which are the longest parts in alimentary tract. These two are the usual sites of obstruction and within them there are specific causes for the obstruction.
Small Intestine (blocked bowel)
Most cases of small intestinal obstruction are due to mechanical causes. The most common causes of obstruction are:
- Adhesion – formation of scar tissue inside the abdomen. This scar that is a result of surgery may form a lump or a bridge that might trap surrounding organs and throttle the bowel.
- Hernias – is a protrusion of an organ through the wall cavity that may create dilated sacs with a narrow entry point. Any abdominal structure can be trapped especially the small intestine that will result a strangulation that will lead to obstruction.
- Intussusceptions – is the enfolding of one segment of the intestines to another that will result to blockage in the intestine.
- Tumors – is an abnormal mass of tissue that will cause a blockage in the intestine.
- Volvulus – is a bowel obstruction that is abnormally twisted that will cause obstruction and ischemia.
- Inflammatory bowel disease – is a group of inflammatory condition of both the colon and small intestines. Prolong inflammation caused by a disease can result in hypertrophy and fibrosis on the wall of the small intestines which can result in restriction.
Large Intestine (blocked colon)
Most cases are also cause mechanically. An obstruction in the large intestines can affect cecum, colon, and even rectum. The blockage should be treated immediately even if it is partial or complete blockage. The most common causes of obstruction are:
Similar with Small intestine:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Only in Large intestine:
- Diverticulitis – involves the formation of pouches or diverticula on the outside of the colon. It is a situation when these diverticula are inflamed. Persistent inflammation can result to a scar or tissue formation that will result into an obstruction.
- Impacted feces – is a solid, immobile bulk stool in the rectum. This result will contribute to painful defecation and because of the pain it will cause the person to avoid defecating.
- Hirschsprung’s disease – is a congenital defect which one of the parts of the colon is not present or dysfunctional. The affected segment of the colon fails to relax or there is no reflex of contraction, causing obstruction.
- Low fiber diet
- Decrease water intake
Treatment of Obstipation
Natural treatment for Obstipation
1. Eat foods that are high in fiber such as apples, oranges, raisins, strawberries, almonds, oats, wheat bread, peanuts, and fresh green leafy vegetables.
2. Increase fluid intake to 4-5 liters a day
3. Have at least 30 minutes exercise daily like simple running and walking can do to prevent obstipation.
Other treatments for Obstipation
1. Nasogastric suctioning for small and large bowel obstruction. Nasogastric suctioning is a process where a tube is inserted through the nose and suctions any materials that causes the obstruction.
2. Medications such as lactulose, sorbitol, polycarbophil, and other osmotic laxatives that will help patients for defecating. Laxatives are drugs that promote bowel movement that will help the person who is suffering from obstipation to defecate.
3. In some cases, surgery or colonoscopy is required. Colonoscopy is the internal examination of the colon and rectum that help the doctors to provide visual diagnosis of the blockage that might cause the obstruction.
4. For severe episodes of pain, narcotic pain medication is given to relieve the pain that the person is experiencing. Narcotic agents are strong and potentially addictive so only the physicians can administers this type of drug.
Obstipation is a severe form of constipation which the person has a difficulty in defecating and has a tendency to vomit. If a person is suffering from obstipation, the abdominal area will be tender and the person can have infrequent bowel movements. This makes the person feel full and irritated. Having a good diet plays a major role in obstipation. Processed foods, chocolates, pizza and those you buy at fast food chains mostly contain foods that are low in fiber. To cure obstipation, have a high fiber diet like whole grain bread, oatmeal, green salads, vegetables and fruits as well as increase your daily fluid intake. And also have at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. The exercise routine can be as simple as walking, cycling, jogging or any such activity that will require the whole body to move.
There are herbal remedies that might help any person who experience severe constipation. This remedy should be only a second priority if all natural methods like exercise and diet fails. It may be recommended after surgical procedures. These herbal medicines are:
- Aloe Vera – most powerful herbal that involves using the outer part of the leave. It should be cautiously used because of its strong effect.
- Elderflower – can be used at irregular times or only when you cannot defecate
- Licorice – is a common home remedy that works as a gentle laxative
- Guava, Orange and Papaya is also a good remedy and its very accessible compare to other remedy.
Complications of Obstipation
- Ischemic bowel disease will cause a lack of blood flow to the intestine as a result of a blockage caused by obstipation.
- Intestinal obstruction is a condition with which the normal flow in the intestine is block.
If it’s not treated immediately in can lead to:
- Peritonitis is an infection in the abdomen.
- Sepsis is a bacterial infection in the blood stream.