Being constipated means your bowel movements are tough or happen less often than normal. Almost everyone goes through it at some point. Although it’s not usually serious, you will feel much better when your body is back on track. The normal length of time between bowel movements varies widely from person to person. Some people have them three times a day. Others have them just a few times a week.
Going longer than three or more days without one is usually too long. After three days, your poop gets harder and more difficult to pass.
SYMPTOMS OF CONSTIPATION
You may have few bowel movements, trouble having a bowel movement or straining to go as well as hard or small stools as well as belly bloating. You also may feel like you need help to empty your bowels, such as pressing on your belly or using a finger to remove stool from your bottom.
WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?
Some causes of constipation include changes to what you eat or your activities, not having enough water or fiber in your diet and eating a lot of dairy products. Other reasons you may be constipated include not being active, stress, resisting the urge to poop and overuse of laxatives.
Some medications, especially strong pain drugs can cause constipation. Antacid medicines that have calcium or aluminum, eating disorders, irritable bowel syndrome can make you constipated. Pregnancy, problems with the nerves and muscles in your digestive system, Colon cancer, neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis and underactive thyroid called hypothyroidism can also cause constipation.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
If you are suffering from constipation, you can get relief by drinking two to four extra glasses of clean water a day, unless your doctor told you to limit fluids for another reason. You can take warm liquids especially in the mornings, add fruits and vegetables to your diet, eat prunes and bran cereal.
You can also exercise most days of the week. This is because when you move your body, the muscles in your intestines are more active, too. You shouldn’t ignore the urge to poop.
You can try taking a laxative, too. There are different types of laxatives you can take to relives yourself if you are constipated. They work in different ways to ease constipation. Ask your doctor which kind might work for you and how long you should take it.
WHEN YOU SHOULD SEE YOUR DOCTOR
Call your doctor right away if you have sudden constipation with belly pain or cramping and you aren’t able to poop or pass gas at all. You can also see your doctor if constipation is a new problem for you and lifestyle changes haven’t helped, you have blood in your stool or you are losing weight even though you are not trying to.
Meet your doctor immediately if you have severe pain with bowel movements, your constipation has lasted more than two weeks and the size, shape, and consistency of your stool has changed dramatically.
Your doctor may recommend some tests to find the cause of your constipation and they include: Blood tests to check on hormone levels, tests that check the muscles in your anus, tests that show how waste moves through and out of your colon and colonoscopy to look for blockages in your colon
HOW TO PREVENT CONSTIPATION
You can prevent constipation by eating a balanced diet with plenty of fiber. Good sources are fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole-grain bread and cereal especially bran. Drink lots of water and take other fluids a day. Fiber and water work together to keep you regular.
Avoid caffeine. It can be dehydrating. Cut back on milk also because dairy products can constipate some people. Exercise regularly. Do something active for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. Go to the toilet when you feel the urge.
You should have a bowel movement everyday though everyone is different. Some people go three times a day; others, three times a week. It’s common to have a bowel movement once a day, but it is okay to go a few days without one as long as you feel fine. If you have fewer than three per week, you are constipated. It is severe if you have less than one a week.
IT CREATES TOXINS
Some people believe that constipation causes the body to absorb poisonous substances in stools, leading to diseases such as arthritis, asthma, and colon cancer. There’s no evidence that the stools produce toxins or that colon cleansing, laxatives, or enemas can prevent cancer or other diseases. Constipation itself isn’t a disease.
LAXATIVES WORK IMMEDIATELY
It depends on the type. A suppository or enema might work within an hour. A bulk-forming product may take several days; a stimulant one, a few hours. Don’t use them for too long, or they could cause other digestive problems. Talk to your doctor if you need to use laxatives for more than two weeks.
IT NATURALLY HAPPENS WITH AGE
Older people are more likely to become constipated but it’s not a normal part of aging, and it can also happen when you are younger. It is very common and usually doesn’t last long, and most cases aren’t serious. But tell your doctor if it doesn’t ease up when you eat more fiber, drink more water, and get more exercise.
Your Mood Matters: Depression may trigger constipation or make it worse. Reducing stress through meditation, yoga and relaxation techniques helps. Massaging your belly relaxes the muscles that support the intestines, which could help you become more regular.
Prunes Are Powerful: This small, dried fruit has earned a big reputation as nature’s remedy for constipation. Prunes, also called dried plums are rich in insoluble fiber, as well as the natural laxative sorbitol.
Workouts Get You Going: Too much downtime makes constipation more likely. After you eat a big meal, wait at least an hour before you exercise so your body has time to digest your food. Then get going! Take a 10-to-15-minute walk several times a day. Harder workouts are also fine to do. Your whole body will benefit.
Your Medicines Could Be The Cause: Some drugs for pain, depression, high blood pressure, and Parkinson’s disease are linked to constipation. Tell your doctor what’s going on. You may be able to take something else. Calcium and iron supplements, especially if you also take something else that affects your stool, can also cause problems.
Sourced From: Sunnews