Constipation is the difficult, incomplete, or infrequent elimination of dry hardened bowel movement fewer than three times per week. Those with constipation find it painful to have a bowel movement and often experience straining and bloating. Most constipation is temporary and not serious. Although it can be an occasional, acute, or chronic problem, constipation can be caused by many factors including lack of fluids, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, emotional state, or as a side-effect of specific medications. Almost everyone experiences constipation at some point in their life, and a poor diet typically is the cause. Most people with constipation do not need extensive testing and can be treated with changes in diet and exercise.
When food moves through the colon, the colon absorbs water from the food while it forms a bowel movement. Muscle contractions in the colon then push the bowel movement toward the rectum. When the bowel movement reaches the rectum it is solid, because most of the water has been absorbed. Constipation occurs when the colon absorbs too much water or when muscle contractions are slow, causing the bowel movement to become hard and dry.
Anal fissure is a small split or tear in the thin moist tissue lining the lower rectum. Fissures may be caused by constipation and the passing of large and hard stools. Most fissures heal on there own and do not require treatment. However, some fissures may require the following treatment: cleansing more gently, diet changes, muscle relaxants applied to the skin, numbing cream, petroleum jelly applied to the area, and a sitz bath.
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