Look at the word and pronounce it to yourself. Slow and heavy and lumbering probably no word in medical phraseology so aptly fits in sound and appearance all that it stands for sluggishness, lassitude, dull wits, dull eyes, heavy head, muggy skin, lack of appetite, poor digestion, sleepy days and wakeful nights, moods of depression and discouragement, irritability. Constipation truly “spells misery”, not only for its victim, but for those around him.
Literally, of course, constipation means a clogging of the intestines with waste matter which should be regularly and completely expelled. In order to comprehend the full significance of a failure on the part of the intestines to perform their function of evacuation properly, it is necessary to have a clear picture of the structure and functioning of the various organs which have to do with the digestion, absorption and elimination of food. So, in case you have forgotten the physiology which you so painstakingly studied at school, let us briefly review the lesson on the alimentary tract.
The alimentary tract or canal, you recall, is the name given the long labyrinth-like tube, beginning with the mouth and ending with the colon, which transforms the food we eat into a form that can be absorbed into the blood stream and utilized by the tissues, and expels what cannot be used, along with other waste matter. Each part of the alimentary tract has its own peculiar structure and its own function or functions to perform. Nevertheless they are all so closely related to one another that if one part is out of order, the others are likely to be affected, particularly from a functional standpoint. If your stomach, for example, fails to do its part in the digestion of your dinner, you are likely to become constipated unless you correct the trouble; on the other hand, if you are suffering from constipation, it will be frequently reflected in poor digestion.