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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Nothing is Regular About Irregularity: Dr. Barrie Ann Zeller of Chandler talks about constipation

May 01, 2012 09:25AM ● By Barrie Ann Zeller, NMD

Barrie Ann Zeller, NMD

We seem to always be on the go: eating on the go and living on the go. Unfortunately, this fast-paced, stressful lifestyle is causing constipation.

Harvard Medical School notes that constipation impacts 80 percent of both males and females of all ages in the United States at some point in their lives and increases in adults over the age of 65, accounting for 2.5 million doctor visits annually. It is important to understand that constipation may be just one symptom of an underlying disorder.

There are many causes of constipation, including a diet low in fiber; dehydration; medications; calcium and or iron supplementation; sedentary lifestyle; stress; travel; or chronic use of laxatives. Chronic constipation can be caused by one or a combination of these factors. It can also be caused by a pelvic floor dysfunction or slow transit time in the colon.

Chronic constipation may be a symptom of an underlying condition such as a low functioning thyroid, food sensitivities or colon cancer. It is important to have a complete medical assessment to fully understand what may be causing the condition, so that treatment targets the underlying cause.

Laxatives are the most common treatment for constipation, and more than $800 million is spent in the U.S. on them annually. Laxatives may relieve symptoms temporarily, but they disrupt the normal function of the colon, teaching the bowels to rely on their action each time.

Most patients can be treated for constipation safely, effectively and naturally once the underlying cause is found by a trained health care provider. Chronic constipation may need further assessment, including testing for other disorders. A doctor should be consulted immediately in case of pain, distention or rectal bleeding, or if bowel movements suddenly stop.

Treatments for mild constipation may include diet and lifestyle changes, such as increasing fiber and water intake, and regular exercise. For chronic constipation, imbalances must be corrected. Daily evacuation removes toxins and waste from the system, promotes weight loss and serves as an important indicator of overall health.

Dr. Barrie Ann Zeller, of Zest Natural Medicine, 1405 N. Dobson Rd., Ste. 9, Chandler, can be reached at 480-361-5108 or ZestNaturalMedicine.com.

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