Lazy bowel movement is a terminology used for extremely low frequency of bowel movement. It is nothing but chronic constipation caused due to abuse of laxatives. In a sense it is rebound constipation which is the side effect of the drug used to treat constipation. This condition is also referred as sluggish colon. Although constipation is a common complaint, it carries different meaning for different individuals.
If a person passes stool anywhere from 3 times in a day to 3 times in a week it is considered to be normal. In a person suffering from lazy colon the frequency of bowel movement is less than two to three times in a week.This condition is marked with slow motility of the bowel which leads to constipation.
People of any age group can be affected with lazy bowel syndrome, but the condition is more commonly seen in women and elderly people.
Signs And Symptoms Of Lazy Bowel Syndrome
There are constellations of symptom that describe lazy bowel syndrome.
- Reduced frequency of stool passage: Patient suffering lazy bowel passes less than 3 bowel movements in a week. Patient has the history of reduced frequency since many weeks and months.
- Constipation: Constipation is one of the main symptoms of lazy bowel syndrome. However, all people suffering from constipation do not necessarily have lazy bowel syndrome. Constipation can be caused due to problems in gut motility, obstruction in the colon, constipation with normal transition. In this condition the transition of stool in the colon is slow due to reduced muscle movement of the large intestine.
- Pain while passing stool: As the frequency of peristaltic movement of the colon is reduced, there is delay in defecation of food. The water content in stool is absorbed by the intestine if it stays for a longer time. This leads to dry and hard stool. Patient has to strain to defecate which can cause pain in abdomen.
- Difficult straining: Patient is not able to strain at stool as the contractions are weak. Since the contraction of the gut is weak, patient may not have enough urge to pass the stool.
- Feeling of incomplete defecation: Patient always feel incomplete sensation of passage of stool.
- Nausea and reduced appetite: Both these complaints may accompany in this condition.
Causes Of Lazy Bowel Syndrome
The main cause of lazy bowel syndrome is slow movement of the bowel. There are several factors responsible for it:
- Abuse of laxative for many months and years. It can cause rebound constipation and reduced frequency of the gut movement.
- Eating disorders: People suffering from anorexia nervosa and bulimia are known to have lazy bowel syndrome after a long period of time. It occurs as the patient starts taking laxative indefinitely as a means to purge the food.
- Neurological problem: Damage to the nerve supplying messages to the colon can cause lack of colon contraction. As a result there is delay in the bowel movement towards rectum.
- Dehydration: Frequent episodes of dehydration can cause lazy bowel syndrome.
- Low intake of fibers: Eating less of fiber containing food can become a contributing factor for lazy bowel syndrome. If there is less fiber, the volume of feces will be less. The bowel will not expand due less volume. As a result it will also contract less. This disparity in the movement of bowel will reduce the stool to be forced down towards the anus.
Natural Remedies For Lazy Bowel Syndrome
The aim of treatment is to normalize the bowel movement and help easy defecation. One of the most important point of treatment is that patient should avoid enemas and laxatives as this will aggravate already existing problem.
- Exercise plays an important role in bowel movement. A daily 30 minutes walk or swimming or any other form of physical exercise will be beneficial for the patient.
- Patient has to include enough fiber containing food in his diet. It softens the stool which makes the stool to pass easily.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water in a day. Dehydration can worsen the symptoms.
- If natural measures fail, physicians often prescribe medications that stimulate bowel movement.