Constipation is generally widespread. The risk of constipation is also increased by a low-fiber diet. They occur more frequently with increasing age, and women develop constipation more often than men.
The risk of constipation seems to be much higher after pregnancy, according to the results of a new study involving researchers from the University of Eastern Finland. The study was published in the English language journal “International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology” (BJOG).
After pregnancy and immediately after delivery, women are two to three times more likely to develop constipation than in the rest of their lives.
More than 1,000 women have been studied
Connection between constipation and pregnancy?
The study investigated the frequency of constipation and other gastrointestinal problems in more than 1,000 women of fertile age. The researchers focused on the incidence of constipation in the second and third trimesters and immediately after vaginal birth or cesarean section birth. There was also a control group of 200 non-pregnant women.
The study found that 44 percent of the women suffered from constipation in the second trimester and 36 percent in the third trimester. The incidence of constipation after vaginal delivery rose to 47 percent, and up to 57 percent of women who had undergone a C-section reported gastrointestinal problems and constipation. However, constipation-related problems seem to subside surprisingly quickly after delivery, the researchers said in a press release from the University of Eastern Finland.
Constipation more often affects women
Constipation during pregnancy is more common in women who have suffered from it before pregnancy or during a previous pregnancy, the experts explain further.
According to the team, the percentages are surprisingly high, and since gastrointestinal problems affect both physical and mental well-being, their prevention should be discussed in prenatal clinics early in pregnancy. In addition, severe constipation increases the risk of hemorrhoids, urinary and fecal incontinence and a prolapse of the pelvic organ.
Constipation is most often reported directly after birth. This can be caused by too much sitting time and insufficient fluid intake after delivery. In addition, damage to the pelvic floor muscles during vaginal delivery can lead to problems in bowel function, as can pain in the surgical wound after a caesarean section, explain the experts.
During pregnancy, the placental hormones slow down bowel movement and the growing uterus can make it difficult to pass stool normally. In addition, pregnancy changes the way fluid is absorbed from the bowel, the team reports.
Daily exercise, a balanced, high-fiber diet and adequate fluid intake are the most important means of preventing constipation. The research group reports that if lifestyle changes are not sufficient to reduce constipation, laxatives may be required.
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.