It is important to keep track of one’s bowel movement as it can indicate some underlying problems. TNS
Constipation and diarrhoea are both problems associated with one’s bowel movements.
Constipation is theoretically defined as the difficulty of passing stool or the passage of very hard stool, where on the other hand, diarrhoea is when the stool passed is very loose and runny.
Common symptoms of constipation include: hard dry stools, painful episodes when passing stool and infrequent passages, whereas diarrhoea symptoms include: very sudden urgency to pass stool, and stool being very watery.
The normal frequency of passing stool ranges between three times per day to one time every three days.
Causes of constipation can be physical blockage in the intestine, problem in the nervous system that influences the contraction within the intestine, problem in the pelvic muscles, or hormonal imbalances, whereas causes of diarrhoea can be an infection (virus, bacteria, parasite), side effect of a medication or the inability of the digestive system to digest certain substances like lactose or fructose.
From a nutritional point of view, a person might be constipated because of the following:
- Low consumption of fibre-rich foods (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains).
- Low consumption of fluids.
- Frequent consumption of high-fat meals.
- Using laxatives for a long period of time.
- Ignoring the urge to defecate.
- Not being physically active.
Treatment for constipation mainly involves the encouragement of consuming high fibre foods along with good quantities of water (around eight cups per day).
Most diarrhoea cases resolve within a couple of days without any interventions, but it is important to make sure to consume a good amount of fluid rich in potassium and sodium to replace the electrolytes lost.
Fluids rich in potassium includes fruit juices, but it is advised to avoid apple juice because it has been shown to worsen the intensity of the diarrhoea. Fluids rich in sodium include soups.
For children suffering from diarrhoea, an oral rehydration solution is commonly prescribed to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.
If the diarrhoea is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics are prescribed; if it is just a result of consumption of a medication, the physician might ask the patient to lower the dose of the medication or might cut off the medication and prescribe another medication that does the same job.
It is important to keep track of one’s bowel movement as they can indicate some underlying problems such as: celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel disease (colitis or Crohn’s disease).
Keeping track includes noting down the quantity, texture, shape, colour, and presence or absence of blood.
If an individual already suffers from any of the diseases mentioned above, they might benefit from tracking their bowel movements to help monitor the severity of the symptoms and the progression of them; it also can help make it easier to let the physician know about the latest changes the patient has been experiencing and give a better solution according to the information provided.
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