Chronic constipation is uncomfortable, but not dangerous, which is why many doctors do not pay enough attention to it. There are many misconceptions about constipation that have no scientific basis.
The problem of constipation is very delicate, surrounded by many myths and legends. Some of them are created and supported by manufacturers of various “miraculous” remedies for constipation – all kinds of teas for weight loss, “normalizing” capsules, jars with “life-giving” plant fiber.
A review article published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology summarizes the findings of numerous clinical studies on the issue of regular and unimpeded bowel movements. No evidence has been found for the theory of “autointoxication” – absorption of decay products and toxins during stool retention. “Chronic constipation is uncomfortable, but not dangerous, which is why many doctors do not pay enough attention to it. There are many misconceptions about constipation that have no scientific basis,” writes Dr. Stefan Müller-Lissner of the Humboldt University in Berlin. … Here are some of the most common misconceptions mentioned in the review.
Dolichocolon (an excess of the normal elongated colon with a preserved lumen diameter) is not a cause of constipation
A study conducted among women found no differences in the incidence of chronic constipation in patients with long and short bowel. Thus, there is no need for surgical treatment of constipation by bowel resection or bypassing.
The tendency to form constipation does not depend on body weight and phase of the menstrual cycle
The observation that women with chronic constipation are more likely to undergo gynecological surgery is the result of the misconception that gynecological or pelvic pain is necessarily associated with constipation. Although pregnancy, for example, is still considered a predisposing factor for stool problems.
Hypothyroidism is not a cause of constipation
Therefore, in the absence of other symptoms, the study of the thyroid gland for constipation is not indicated.
In patients with chronic constipation, hormone levels may be altered
Such as somatostatin and glucagon, however, what is primary and what is secondary here is still not reliably known.
More physically active people are less prone to constipation.
In the elderly, those who are inactive and suffering from depression, constipation can form, but the reason in this case is complex. Excessive physical activity, such as running marathon distances, negatively affects the motor function of a booker.
No addiction to mild laxatives occurs
Neither at the level of gut receptors nor at the level of the brain (these drugs do not cross the blood-brain barrier). There is no link between mild laxatives and an increased risk of colorectal cancer. These drugs cannot be used for weight loss.
A diet low in plant fiber may not cause chronic constipation
While many patients may benefit from such nutrition, in severe cases, coarse fiber supplementation only exacerbates the clinical picture. The factor limiting the use of fiber may be an excess of gases generated during its digestion and, as a result, flatulence.
If there are no signs of dehydration https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dehydration, excess fluid intake is not a cure for constipation.
The main reason for misunderstandings and misconceptions, according to the authors of the review, is the vagueness of the concept of “optimal bowel function”, assessed by a number of criteria, including the frequency and shape of the stool. Especially when the assessment of the condition is carried out based on the feelings of the patient himself, and not on the basis of objective data.