Hard stools are a pretty common condition caused by constipation. It can either be mild, which can be solved by home remedies, or it can be serious, in which case you should definitely visit the doctor. To deal with them, you need to first know what causes the condition.
What causes Hard Stools ?
Constipation related hard stools are generally caused when the stools remain in the gastro-intestinal tract for more than 48 hours. When it stays there for such a long time, the moisture of the stool gets absorbed by the body again, causing it to become hard and leading to pain and bleeding while discharging the stools.
The larger intestines are responsible for discharging waste liquid and fibers from the food that is absorbed by the smaller intestines, thus creating the stool. It then slowly makes its way towards the lower end of the larger intestines to finally be discharged from the body. However, if the person doesn’t expel it within 2 days, the moisture from the stools get soaked in the lower part of the digestive tract, hence making them hard.
In some cases, lesser intake of water can also lead to the formation of hard stools. Insufficient fiber content in the food can also be a cause, along with other problems such as pregnancy, different medications, and medical conditions such as digestive disorders, Crohn’s disease and hypothyroidism.
Ways to soften hard stools
Hard stools can be softened by utilizing home remedies as well as by having allopathic medicines. Let’s look at some of the home remedies we can utilize to get rid of hard stools.
Food consisting of high fibers
Having high fiber food on a daily basis can soften our bowels. Include food items like bread, vegetables, legumes and fruits in your daily diet. You should also eat lots of cereals and grains of all kinds. Nuts and dried fruits are also a great source of high fibers, along with peanut butter, sunflower seed kernels, apple sauce and tomato paste. In fruits, vegetables and breads, you don’t have to focus on any particular kind as all kinds of fruits, vegetables and breads contain high amounts of fiber which can help us form bulky and soft stools. Bananas and papayas in particular help a lot when it comes to consuming high fibers.
Regular exercise and high intake of water
Drinking lots of water is the simplest way to combat constipation and deal with hard stools. Intestinal activity can be stimulated with regular exercise. The more you make your body go through varied physical activities, the bulkier your stools will be, resulting in much softer bowel movement. Apart from regular exercise, drinking high amounts of water is also very useful for making the stool soft. Even if you are constipated, drinking sufficient amount of water can keep your stools relatively soft.
Regular bowel movements
It is very important to discharge waste materials from the body on a regular basis. To ensure that you do not get inflicted by constpation, practice the habit of regular bowel movements. Do not hesitate to visit the bathroom whenever you feel the urge. Suppressing bowel movements is one of the leading causes of the formation of hard stools. Keeping stool inside the larger intestines for a long time can lead to the loss of moisture, leading to pain during discharge.
Now that we have seen some of the home remedies to treat and soften hard stools, let us have a look at the medical treatments available for the condition.
Laxatives are one of the most popular medicines available for treating hard stools and constipation. The chemicals present in laxatives can help in the easy movement of the stool in the intestinal tract and out of the body, increasing its bulk. However, depending too much on the use of laxatives can have adverse effects on the body. Chronic constipation is the most common side effect of laxatives. It is a condition where the body becomes completely dependent on the use of laxatives and forgets natural bowel movements.
Other medications like lubiprostone or Amitiza can also help in the softening of bowel. Their basic function is to increase the moisture content in the stool, making it easier to pass. These are prescriptions drugs which need to be administered in controlled amounts, and overuse can lead to dangerous results, which is why these medicines are banned in many countries.
Surgery is the ultimate solution to this problem. If the constipation is too severe, then the only thing that can be done is extracting the stool out of the body through surgical methods. However, you should try to not let your constipation reach such an ultimate stage.
There are other alternative methods to try out as well, most of which can be tried at home without any supervision.
Massaging the lower region of the back and the muscular joints can help relieve the pressure by compressing and manipulating the skin. Acupunctures and shiatsu can be used as ideal massage therapies. Massaging the abdominal area can help relieve bladder and intestines, promoting smooth movement of bowel.
Homeopathic medicines take their time to do their work, but are generally the safer option compared to allopathic medicines. Their nontoxic and holistic approach to the whole problem solves the condition in no time. However, there are obviously more dangerous homeopathic remedies as well, which is why it is best to consult the doctor once before resorting to these remedies.
Whether to see the doctor or not?
To deal with hard stools, you also need to know whether you need to see the doctor or not. Constipation generally doesn’t require doctor’s attention, however in some extreme cases, you should definitely pay them a visit. For example, if your constipation problem lasts for more than 3 weeks, it is time for you to go to the doctor. Also if you experience abdominal pains and thin, pencil like, or bloody stools, do make note.
Unexpected weight loss can also have something to do with your constipation problem. Another weird phenomenon which requires immediate doctor’s attention is diarrhea alternating with constipated periods, and pain in the rectal region. Don’t forget to see the doctor if even one of these symptoms appear in you.