Around 12-27% of the population sometimes have complaints of constipation without any known cause (functional constipation). This number increases with age. Obstipation is a more serious type of constipation, characterized by laborious, non-frequent, hard, incomplete evacuation of faeces. Common complaints of obstipation are:
Food passes through the stomach where it is digested. Among other things, moisture is extracted, a process that occurs mainly in the large intestine. Thus the food slurry thickens and is transported to the rectum. From here it is called feces. Sometimes the food slurry stays too long in the large intestine, leaving too much moisture removed. This can lead to constipation.
The cause of constipation is versatile. Obstipation can be a consequence of behavioral factors, hormonal changes, gastrointestinal disorders or a malformation of the intestinal mucosa.
The treatment of constipation consists in the first instance of changes in living and eating habits:
If these measures do not resolve the constipation, laxatives can be taken. These inhibit moisture withdrawal from the food slurry, making the stool softer. In addition, this means that the faeces become a little acidic, causing the intestines to expel more quickly.