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Is there a link between genetics and constipation?
One of the most powerful entities of the human body, the genes can dictate the kind of life that we will have. These genes will serve as the blueprint over which the entirety our body will be fashioned into.
From the tiniest and microscopic aspects of the human body, up to the collective phenotype which makes each one of us unique – the genes are ultimately responsible for it. This is precisely why genetic disorders place a great degree of burden on both the treated and the one treating the disease; to correct a genetic defect would mean doing quite an overhaul! It is a good thing that technology nowadays has also made possible the once impossible, opening doors for the treatment of these genetic disorders by gene therapy and a whole lot of other modalities.
But how do genetics and constipation exactly relate with one another? Constipation is too macro, while genes are too microscopic, way too smaller than the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract which is responsible for partial digestion of our foodstuffs.
The answer is simple: genes dictate everything. From the length of the digestive tract going down to the hormonal influences that power peristalsis, the genes are the ultimate masters. Although its effects are indirect, the entire collection of the effects altogether account for the overall functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
An example would be the relationship of genes to the occurrence of colon cancer, a condition which may be entirely marked by constipation persistent for months to even years. A family history of colon cancer greatly predisposes an individual to the disease, and this is accounted for in almost 20% of all cases. Once the oncogenes are present in the body, there can be times that even the healthiest lifestyle can only do so little to prevent its activation. Genes are also responsible for the hereditary nature of polyposis syndromes, which are highly linked with colorectal cancer.
Thus, genetics is linked to constipation by causing the conditions that most likely lead to it. It is often not a direct process; rather, the genes pave the way for constipation to occur under given circumstances. When there is obstruction due to neoplasm in the colon, constipation ensues. When there is a genetic defect resulting to neuropathy or decreased neurotransmission towards the muscles lining the colon, there will be paralysis, and hence, constipation. How an individual reacts to medications can also be mediated by genes, and oftentimes, the wrong medications can result to constipation. Genes indeed do have its own role in causing constipation. And its role cannot be simply taken for granted.
The irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a very common condition but it is among the least understood.
Although constipation does not singly characterize the disease, it is part of its most common presenting pattern – constipation alternating with diarrhea. Patients with the irritable bowel syndrome typically feel very uncomfortable especially when symptoms include dyspepsia, vomiting, heartburn and nausea. Do these symptoms sound familiar to you?
Are you eating the right foods and involved in the right diet? Constipation can be merely a break in the balance of foods which can cause it, and foods that can prevent it. The typical diet nowadays can highly induce constipation, and fatty food is one of the major culprits. So what are the foods you should avoid and what should you invest more on?
Laxatives: Beneficial or disadvantageous?
The word constipation is inevitably linked to the word laxative. Laxatives are formulated as quick remedies for constipation. Most of these eventually come up on a person's desk even without a prescription. Contrary to popular belief, laxatives should be used only when someone fails to respond to the natural ways used to treat constipation. There are many types of laxatives which differ in their type of action. Regardless however, laxatives, when abused, can be bad news.