Do Sex Toys Offer Relief for Constipation?

The morning greets you with an uneasy feeling in your stomach. Perhaps it's due to the fast food you had after a night out or the fact that you spent the last few days binge-watching shows in bed. Constipation is a common digestive issue that many of us have experienced. It's usually not a serious concern and goes away quickly for most people. But if it happens frequently or turns into a chronic condition, it can be quite uncomfortable.

WHAT IS CONSTIPATION?

Constipation affects nearly 2.5 million Americans and similar statistics can be seen in other developed countries. However, despite its prevalence, it is still challenging to define. According to some definitions, functional constipation means you have persistent difficulty passing stool, irregular or incomplete bowel movements. This means you're constipated if you don't pass stool regularly or if you experience pain or discomfort while doing so, regardless of frequency. The reasons for constipation can be difficult to determine as symptoms vary from one case to another. If it's not a symptom of an underlying condition, it is a functional disorder with unknown causes and is likely to go away on its own without causing any severe health problems, unless it's accompanied by bleeding, fever, weight loss, or anemia. However, if it's due to a blockage in the intestines, it requires immediate medical or surgical intervention. To avoid complications and address the issue, it's important to look for both obvious and latent symptoms of constipation.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Constipation statistics show that most people have a bowel movement at least three times a week. If you have fewer movements, you may be constipated. However, frequency is not the only factor to consider. Quality, consistency, effort required, and discomfort are also important indicators. People have different bowel habits, with some passing stool once a week without any trouble, while others feel uncomfortable even if they have a daily bowel movement. Hard, dry feces or difficulty or pain while passing stool may indicate a problem. Other symptoms of constipation include a feeling of incomplete evacuation or rectal blockage, bloating or fullness even after a bowel movement, abdominal pain or cramps, and sometimes, nausea and loss of appetite. Any of these can indicate an issue with your digestive system.

WHAT CAUSES CONSTIPATION?

As symptoms can vary, it's helpful to understand how our bowels work and what causes constipation. The colon's main function is to absorb water from food residue as it passes through the digestive system, creating feces. If the food moves too slowly, the colon absorbs more water, making the feces harder. The longer it stays in, the more difficult it becomes to pass. Constipation can be caused by various factors, habits, or medical conditions, including underlying medical and physical conditions such as Parkinson's disease or diabetes, colon or rectum-related issues like irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal obstruction, or diverticulosis, hormonal and psychological problems, side effects of medication such as painkillers, antidepressants, and iron supplements, and diet, lifestyle, and habits such as a lack of fiber and water, a sedentary lifestyle, and delaying or ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement. For most people, changing their diet and habits can relieve digestive issues, regardless of the cause. However, this is not a guarantee and may not work for everyone. Similarly, poor diet does not necessarily cause constipation and vice versa.

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CAN SEX TOYS HELP?

Studies suggest that the use of sex toys, specifically anal toys, may aid in relieving constipation. For instance, individuals who use butt plugs have reported having the urge to use the bathroom shortly after insertion. Some believe that this effect is due to the insertion of a foreign object triggering the urge, while others attribute it to the lubricant acting as a suppository.

Butt plugs, also known as rectal dilators, were originally created for medical purposes to open and relax the anal sphincter and rectum for medical examination or to relieve constipation. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, these rectal dilators were sold as therapeutic devices for digestive issues in the United States. However, the FDA declared them dangerous in the 1940s.

Today, butt plugs are marketed as sex toys rather than medical devices, but some individuals still report using them for constipation relief. The effectiveness of this treatment is subjective and depends on rectal sensitivity.

In a related story, scientists have reportedly treated constipated tortoises by massaging their tummies with dildos, proving the versatility of sex toys.

For those experiencing constipation, lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and increased physical activity, along with self-care remedies like warm liquids and probiotics, may provide relief. However, it is recommended to consult a doctor if these measures are not effective, as they may suggest medications, enemas, or manual or surgical removal of stool if necessary.

It is advised to avoid self-medicating with laxatives or suppositories without medical supervision, as well as alternative remedies such as acupuncture, massage, or herbs, as there is limited evidence of their effectiveness.

To prevent constipation, one should follow a fiber-rich diet and drink enough fluids, while avoiding processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, and excessive consumption of meat and dairy. Engaging in physical activity for at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week, can also help, as well as practicing proper toilet habits by relaxing and not delaying bowel movements.

 

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