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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Constipation and Blurred Vision. Bonus...when is a Banana Ripe?

     Don't asked how, but the other day the question came up, can constipation caused blurred vision? It reminded me of a sitcom episode from years ago where a weird character kept asking dumb questions like, "What kind of shots would you have to take if a monkey bit you?" It's a silly question, but if you are the one the monkey bit, then it's not silly at all.
     Constipation is defined as having less than three bowel movements a week and usually accompanied by hard stools. Bowel movements become difficult and the side effects can include pain, vomiting, swollen abdomen. And, yes, it's also been found that constipation also can cause blurred vision. I could not discover the reason for this symptom. 
     Generally, constipation is considered nothing more than a nuisance, but it can be a serious medical condition and sometimes the dietary advice and medical treatment like dietary fiber, over hydration and laxatives can actually make it worse. Constipation can lead to all kinds of major colorectal disorders from enlarged hemorrhoids to colorectal cancer. 

Here are some fun facts about the colon: 
1) it is designed to hold a few pounds of feces in transit. 
2) When a person gets constipated, the colon may be holding 10, 20 or more pounds! 
3) In that case it's the volume that is the problem. Large, heavy stools stretch the colon, irritate the colon mucosa, harm the anal canal, and may produce toxins related to fermentation and rotting. Constipation is one of the symptoms of dysbacteriosis which is a condition where the normal, intestinal bacteria is dead and missing. When alive, this flora protects the colon from inflammation-causing pathogens, produces essential B-vitamins and vitamin K, responsible for blood clotting, help govern immunity and helps to keep stools soft and moist. 

     Constipation can be more serious for women because it can affect their health. The large intestine and the female reproductive organs are close together and constipation can put undue pressure on the uterus, cause rectal prolapse inside the vagina, incontinence and even a miscarriage caused by straining. 
    Chronic constipation can also affect the cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune systems. In older adults chronic constipation strips the large intestine from its thinning, mucosal membrane, and causes flat lesions and polyps that eventually transform into colon cancer.
     Here is some bad news! Some common causes to constipation are favorite foods: 

1) Coffee and other caffeinated drinks If consumed in too large a quantity or too regularly, it can lead to dehydration and then constipation as a result. 
2) Bananas. Ripe bananas contain soluble fibers and helps bowel movement, but unripe bananas are hard to digest and result in constipation. How do you know when a banana is ripe? Interestingly, all these years I have been eating unripened ones because once they get spots, as far as I'm concerned, they're done for! Check out THIS site for more information.
3) Rice. Rice contains several indigestible fibers that obstruct the bowel movement. Also, due to the polishing process that makes white rice, the best parts or rice are partly removed. Use brown rice! 
4) Cookies. Unfortunately, it's true. Cookies (or just about any cake or pastry) have refined carbohydrates which are low in fiber and fluid and high in fat. 
5) Red meat. It's low in fiber and high in fat, which will affect you digestion process. Fortunately, adding fiber-rich foods like salads or potatoes offset the effects. 
6) Milk. It contains lactose and a high level of fat which can cause gas, stomach upsets and even make constipation worse. 
7) Chocolate. Thankfully, it has been proven to be good for your health. But if you take in a considerable amount of chocolate then your digestion process, muscle contractions and bowel movements will be affected. 
8) Cheese. It can have the same effect as milk. 
9) Potato Chips. The reason for that is the low level of fiber and their high fat content. 
10) Processed and fast foods. They lack nutritional merits and are high in sodium, both of which contribute to constipation. 

     Back to blurred vision...it can be a symptom of constipation especially for females over sixty years old, those who take the medication Miralax and those with high blood pressure.  One study showed blurred vision as a symptom of constipation in 68 percent of women and 32 percent of men. Generally it happens the older you get, starting around the age of fifty. For most people their blurred vision was described as moderate. 
     Among the medical problems that people had, about 10-20 percent were being treated for hypertension, pain, depression, acid reflux and insomnia. The most common drugs they were taking were Miralax (20 percent of them), Colace, Percocet, Zantac and Amlodipine.

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