CONSTIPATION BE GONE
Do you regularly experience serious problems with constipation? If yes, then keep reading as this blog post will ease all your discomforts!
In the fast-paced society that we now live in, most of us are often too busy to take care of ourselves and engage in healthy lifestyle practices. As a result, many health issues are on the rise, including constipation. Constipation does not have a quick onset, however, if it remains untreated for a long period of time, it can progress to other severe diseases.
Before we discuss treatment, let's take a look at the characteristics of the condition, as well as its causes.
WHAT IS CONSTIPATION?
Constipation is a condition in which an individual experiences infrequent bowel movement and problems in passing stool. Passing stool fewer than three times a week often constitutes a diagnosis of constipation. However, there isn’t a widespread understanding of what is consideration “normal” bowel movement, as it varies widely from person to person. To illustrate, some individuals experience bowel movement several times a day, while others only do so once or twice a week.
CAN IRREGULAR BOWEL MOVEMENTS CAUSE TOXINS TO BUILD UP IN THE BODY AND MAKE ME ILL?
Relax! This is just a myth. It is true that the feces, consisting of human waste, is meant to be excreted out of the body. However, the colon is sufficient in dealing with retainment of the waste. During constipation, the presence of the toxins in feces can you make experience discomfort, however, it will not cause illness on its own. If the waste finds its way into the existing bruise of the colon or rectum, then there is a slightly higher risk of bacterial infection.
ARE YOU AWARE?
The major signs of constipation are:
- Passing stool fewer than three times a week
- Passing hard, lumpy, and dry stool
- Experiencing pain, difficulty, and/or strain when passing stool
Other symptoms include
- Pain and cramps in the abdomen
- Loss of appetite
WHAT ABOUT THE CAUSES?
The main reason for constipation is dryness.
- In a normal body, food moves around at a regular rate, and the intestine absorbs water and excretes the stool.
- In a body with constipation, the food movement is slower than normal, which leads to the absorption of excess water, and results in overly dry stool.
BUT WHAT CAUSES SLOW FOOD MOVEMENT IN THE BODY?
The most common causes of this condition leading to constipation are:
- Low intake of dietary fibers
- Large consumption of dairy products including milk and cheese
- Physical inactivity
HOW CAN YOU COMBAT CONSTIPATION?
Small changes in your daily routine can help you to improve your constipation. The two main causes of constipation are a poor diet and lack of exercise. Therefore, you can work to lessen the impacts of constipation by engaging in physical activity and consuming high-fiber foods.
This can seem daunting, however, instead of forcing yourself to make huge lifestyle modifications, aim to incorporate some of the following positive activities in your day to day routine.
- Have your meal at the same time every day
- Prefer eating bran cereal for breakfast
- After eating breakfast, do some light exercise like walking
- Park your vehicle at the end of the parking lot, so you must walk a distance to reach the building
- During lunch break at walk, take a small walk
- Opt for fruits as snacks
- Get enough sleep
- Consume high-fiber foods
- Stay hydrated by always keeping a bottle of water with you
- Try to exercise regularly
FOODS THAT ARE HIGH IN FIBER
Almost all plant based food, including vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains, have fibers.
● 1/2 cup navy beans = 9.5 grams fiber
● One medium sweet potato = 4.8 grams fiber
● One small pear = 4.4 grams fiber
● One medium apple = 3.3 grams fiber
● 1/4 cup dates = 3.6 grams fiber
The study conducted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggested men consume up to 38 grams of fiber a day, while woman consume up to 25.
After age 50 however, the body requires fewer fibers, about 21 grams for women and 30 for men.
HOME REMEDIES FOR CONSTIPATION
- Castor oil: A natural laxative, one to two tablespoons full on an empty stomach, can stimulate bowel movement and lubricate the intestine.
- Lemon juice:As a natural antioxidant and digestive aid, this is used to improve bowel stimulation.
- Aloe Vera: In addition to the external use of aloe vera on the hair and skin, its intake can help alleviate constipation and IBS.
- Coconut water:Coconut water contains magnesium, which aids the muscles of the intestinal wall in excreting feces.
HOW IS CONSTIPATION TREATED?
Several over the counter laxatives as well as prescriptive medications are also used to treat constipation in addition to lifestyle and diet modifications.
Laxatives of different types and functions are available. Each type aims to improve bowel movement albeit through different processes. However, the following listed are ones specifically classied as over the counter drugs. Although these don’t require a prescription, it is highly recommended to consult a physician or pharmacist before use.
- Fiber supplements: Fiber supplements include Methylcellulose, Calcium Polycarbophil, and Psyllium. These supplements add bulk to the stool, making it softer and easier to excrete.
- Stimulants: Stimulants that increase the contraction of the intestine include Bisacodyl and Sennosides.
- Stoolsoftener: Docusate Calcium and Docusate Sodium moisten the feces by withdrawing water from the intestine.
- Lubricants:Mineral oil is a lubricant that improves the movement of stool through the colon.
- Osmotic: This increases the secretion of fluid from the intestine that improves bowel movement and passage of stool through the colon. Osmotic laxatives include Lactulose, Polyethylene Glycol, and Magnesium Citrate.
Laxatives are used when lifestyle modification and diet have failed to be effective.
IS BIOFEEDBACK HELPFUL IN TREATING CONSTIPATION?
Sometimes constipation occurs due to the malfunctioning of pelvic muscles. Therefore, a physical therapist is needed to help in exercising those specific muscles. In this case, the therapist inserts a small tube into the rectum to restrain them so they can then perform their function. The training of this muscle is called biofeedback.
CAN CONSTIPATION LEAD TO INTERNAL DAMAGE OR OTHER HEALTH ISSUES?
If an individual continues to experience complications in producing soft and frequent bowel movement, certain other health issues can arise. These include:
- The passage of hard and dry stool can over time tear off the anus lining and cause anal fissures, leading to pain and bleeding.
- This can also lead to swelling and enlargement of the rectum veins. This condition is known as hemorrhoids or piles.
- The collection of excess body waste in the rectum or anus can lead to a condition called Fecal Impaction.
- Straining while attempting to pass stool can also lead to rectal prolapse.
This blog post highlights the significant and interrelatedness of seemingly small bodily issues. In conclusion, it is highly necessary to implement positive lifestyle and behavior changes in our daily lives to achieve lasting health and wellness.