Obstipation Definition

Regular waste elimination plays an essential role to maintain a healthy life. Obstipation is a severe medical condition which disturbs the process of elimination, whether it is stool or gas, due to intestine blockage. It is also known as obstructive constipation. Obstipation is a chronic and severe type of constipation which is difficult to control.

If symptoms are seen it will need immediate medical attention. If the disease is left  and not treated for a longer duration, it can become an alarming condition and develop situations like tachychardia, body malaise, peritonitis, strangulated bowl, etc.

Difference between Obstipation & Constipation

The period from constipation to obstipation is the retention time of the stool i.e. three to four bowels a week to no bowel movement. Obstipation is the severe form of constipation, and it develops after a more extended period of untreated constipation.

Constipation is easily treatable and can be adjusted easily, on the other hand, obstipation is very hard to treat due to its vast grounds, and it sometimes develops other diseases.

Obstipation Causes

  • Untreated Constipation: Constipation is a result of minimum water intake and low dietary fiber in the body. If the condition is left unmedicated for a longer duration, it will result in obstipation.
  • Intestinal Blockage: Obstruction in the large or small intestine can contribute to constipation.
  • Hernia: Weak abdominal wall cavity leads to swelling of organs causing the intestine to choke, resulting in obstruction.
  • Adhesions: People who underwent abdominal surgery are prone to obstipation as it results in the formation of scar tissues and develop lumps which imprison surrounding organs.
  • Volvulus: It is an outcome of intestine twisting leading to ischemic damage and intestine obstruction.
  • Intussusception: Both large and small intestines “telescopes” amongst each other leading to obstruction.
  • Tumor: Obstruction caused by abnormal mass growth in abdominal.
  • Diverticulitis: Swelling of the pouches that extend outside the colon results in forming scar tissues leading to obstruction.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Inflammation condition results in fibrosis and hypertrophy of intestine walls. If left untreated for longer duration can result in obstruction and then obstipation.
  • Hirschsprung’s Disease: Congenial weakness where one part of the colon is dysfunctional or absent and fails a relaxing colon or does not have the reflex of contraction ability.

It can also occur due to:

  • Intestinal atresia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Anal fissure
  • Foreign body
  • Fecal Impaction
  • Pelvic bone dysfunction
  • Proctitis

Obstipation Symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal distention
  • Low or loss of Appetite
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Bloating
  • Malaise
  • Fatigue
  • Early satiety
  • Raised sounds of the bowel which might later diminish gradually

These indicate worsening conditions of the disease, like compact bowel leading to break down of bowel, low blood pressure, and peritonitis (an infection in the intestine linings).

Obstipation Complications

Obstipation is a severe problem. A healthy person needs to pass stool to stay fit, and if it doesn’t pass, the unwanted particles can back up in the stomach and cause different diseases. It can also develop problems like rupture or bowel perforation.

It is a deadly and a chronic condition where the content of the bowel empties into abdominal cavity leading to severe infections like peritonitis. Due to its life-threatening and harmful effects, one should seek medical attention if the similar symptoms persist.

Obstipation Diagnosis

Usually, abnormal bowel movements are adequate to doubt possibility of constipation. A physical test of rectum will be done to eliminate foreign obstruction. Rectum bleeding and muscle tone will be checked. If these first checks are clear, the doctor will ask for several tests, which are listed below:

  • Ultrasound: Gives a good and clear indication of the site and cause of obstipation.
  • Blood Test: Thyroid function and other infection signs
  • Colonoscopy: With the help of the camera it helps to see straight inside the colon if there is any tissue damage. To access colon cancer Biopsies can also be done.
  • Barium enema: It is used with an x-ray to get a thorough view of the bowel passage and helps to check for any obstruction.
  • Bowel function Test: It checks the nerve sensitivity and the muscle tone of anus and intestine.
  • CT/ X-Ray: Imaging tests to identify the affected areas where the intestines are affected or enlarged.

Obstipation Treatment

Medication differs from one person to another and according to the severity and the cause. In anatomical impediment, like in cases of a hernia or volvulus surgery is crucial to normalize irregularity. But if it is not a severe condition, natural remedies will be beneficial.

  • Diet change & maintaining a particular discipline: The diet should include fiber-rich foods which include, oranges, oats, almonds, apples, green leafy vegetables and wheat bread with adequate water intake. Also reduce consumption of foods like milk, alcohol, coffee and fruit juices.
  • Exercise Regularly: To maintain proper blood and oxygen circulation, exercising half an hour a day is essential. Walking and running are adequate to prevent obstipation.

If the obstruction is due to serious condition:

  • Enema: Liquids are inserted through the anus to colon and rectum. The enlargement caused by this disease will result in cramping and pain, it will be helpful after the excretion of feces.
  • Fecal impaction: The stool is eliminated manually and in extreme laparoscopic or colonoscopy surgery is required.
  • Herbal remedies: These aid severe constipation, but it should be only used when exercise and diet has failed. Herbal medications to treat obstipation involve elderflower, aloe vera, elderflower, licorice, papaya, guava, and orange.

Prevention Tips

  • Drinking adequate amount of water (3 liters a day)
  • Exercise for 30 minutes or more a day, increased physical activity stimulate intestinal movement and relieve constipation.
  • Speak to the doctor before taking supplements like stool softener or other medications.

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