Constipation or irregular bowel movements can be quite uncomfortable, and one may lose appetite, feel nauseous, experience stomach ache or even exhausted due to too much straining for elimination. It is mostly faulty lifestyle that is said to be the primary reason of constipation and changing food habits and adding exercise to the routine often relieves symptoms. But many a time, chronic constipation could be a sign of an underlying disease which if not addressed on time could be even life threatening in some cases. From diabetes, thyroid issues, neurological disorders to even cancer, constipation could be one of the symptoms of one of these deadly diseases. (Also read: Foods to get rid of constipation naturally and ease bowel movement)
“It has been seen that around 18% of the total population in the country suffers from stomach-related disorders. Despite the numbers, not many people are aware that stomach pain can also be the initial indication to some of the major health conditions,” says Dr Mangesh Borkar, Consultant- Gastroenterologist, Manipal Hospital, Kharadi- Pune.
Dr Borkar says stomach pain along with constipation can be a sign of common gut problems like diarrhea, stomach cramps, and gastritis which are very common even in children.
“To understand the reason behind the prevalence of stomach pains, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and causes. Many of these symptoms are looked at as mild ailments that are caused due to a sedentary lifestyle, bad food habits, and food poisoning, which can be resolved with lifestyle modifications and medications from a doctor. Sometimes, a consistent stomachache or frequent case of constipation could hint towards a dangerous underlying condition,” adds the expert.
If you are having chronic constipation or stomach ache, it could point towards these serious complications. Dr Borkar elaborates.
The inability of the body to regulate blood glucose levels can cause many complications such as nerve damage, heart disease, and hypertension. Diabetes damages the nerves in the abdomen and intestines that restrict the smooth movement of food passage causing pain and constipation. Constipation and stomach pain are symptoms of this prevalent condition.
Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix and usually requires the removal of the appendix as the treatment. Early symptoms include stomach ache, nausea, loss of appetite, constipation, or diarrhoea.
A condition where the thyroid hormone is present in less than the adequate amount resulting in slowing down the body process. The bowel movements are also slowed down due to the same reasons and cause digestive problems. The severe condition of hypothyroidism causes confusion, weakness, and drowsiness that can be life-threatening.
4. Neurological disorders
Many neurological conditions such as spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease can cause NBD in patients which causes constipation and stool incontinence.
5. Colon cancer
Constipation or altered bowel habits with weight loss or decreased appetite or bleeding per rectum can be major symptoms of colon cancer.
This is a condition that refers to the inflammation of the pancreas that can cause formation of cysts or cause internal bleeding. Stomach ache which is radiating to back with or without vomiting, nausea are some of the common symptoms.
A condition in which gall bladder stones are formed with inflammation. It can present as stomach ache.
This condition is a risk factor especially in diabetic patients with symptoms like dull stomach-ache or discomfort with constipation. Detecting it at the earliest with good control of diabetes is the key for treatment.
“The mentioned diseases are progressive in nature and cannot be ignored. Timely diagnosis and treatment are key to avoid life-damaging conditions from building up. Therefore, people are advised that if they experience pain and discomfort along with other symptoms like constipation, gastritis, and nausea then they should get a check-up done by a doctor. The doctor will identify the symptoms and get essential tests done to cure the disease,” says Dr Borkar.
“Apart from that, lifestyle also plays a major role in determining the progression of these diseases. Therefore, one must pay special attention to gut health and increase the number of high-fiber foods in the diet. At the same time, one must stay hydrated and increase the intake of water as it will dilute the harmful substances inside the body. One must also increase physical activity throughout the day and should not suppress bowel movement,” adds the expert.