Published: 09/28/2015 - Updated: 10/25/2015
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Constipation is a common disorder in today’s society. An estimated one in three people have difficulty or infrequency in their bowel movements.
Generally a few dietary changes and healthy, new habits can end this uncomfortable situation, which can make anyone irritable.
Constipation, a daily discomfort
A lot of modern problems are related to the way in which we currently live our lives, which turns them into a viscous cycle. In regards to constipation, stress and anxiety as nervous disorders can lead to constipation, and when you are constipated, this creates even more tension, making this a cycle. It is often times accompanied by symptoms like irritability, abdominal distension, cramps, and it could even cause rectal bleeding.
In order to stabilize this condition, you also need to consider your emotions. You need to stay balanced.
What is it?
Constipation is more than just difficulty having a bowel movement; it also encompasses infrequent bowel movements. You are considered to be constipated when you have a movement less than three times a week, while normal frequency is considered to be at least five times a week.
Constipation causes fecal material to dry and accumulate in the abdomen. This could therefore compromise other organs and veins, generally disrupting health.
What causes Constipation?
There could be a lot of things making you constipated, but the most common causes are:
- Disorders related to secretion and absorption.
- Disorders in segmentation muscular movements.
- Disorders with propulsive movements.
These disorders, however, are almost always associated with more daily situations, like an unhealthy diet or a sedentary life.
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Whenever your diet has very few fruits and vegetables, and high in protein content, constipation will generally be a common effect. A diet with these characteristics, that is low in fiber, which slows down the speed with which the intestines evacuate, this leads to constipation. Hemorrhoids and venous congestion are other consequences of this type of diet.
Lack of physical activity, on the other hand, is also inadvisable when treating constipation. Very little to no physical activity also reduces movement in the intestines, preventing their normal functioning. It shouldn’t be surprising that this too causes constipation.
These factors need to be kept in mind in order to help stabilize digestion. This can be done by successfully making changes to your habits.
Laxatives, an inadvisable quick release
Because this is a common problem, there naturally exist several laxative products on the market to solve the problem. However often times this ignores the fact that resorting to these medications could be counter indicative.
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Laxative use causes the body to get used to the situation, thereby worsening the constipation. This means you’ll need a larger and larger does, or a “stronger” product, to generate the same effect, which is to stimulate a bowel movement.
Chemical laxatives and frequently using them could also cause colitis, as they irritate the mucous membrane in the intestines.
Healthy habits to adopt
Adopting a few healthy habits could improve your digestion and in several cases, end your constipation.
- Drink a glass of warm water before breakfast to promote bowel movements throughout the day.
- Try to drink enough water throughout the day, around 5 glasses, to help fight constipation. This also helps cleanse the body.
- Never ignore or postpone the need to go to the bathroom, for example, in the morning or before going to bed.
- Perform regular physical exercise, go on walks or swim, which are great alternatives.
- Perform massages on your abdominal area to improve digestion. Start with the lower right part of your abdomen and massage clockwise.
- If you spend a lot of time driving or sitting throughout the day, try to do abdominal exercises, tensing and relaxing your muscles several times every two hours, to promote intestinal movement.
Diet is important for better digestion. Certain guidelines can help to stabilize your body.
Drink vegetable juices, and juice made from seeds, like sunflower, sesame, and linseed. These help lubricate the intestines and aid good digestion.
Choose whole grains. Whole grains contain more fiber than their refined versions, and also have more vitamins and minerals.
Eat raw foods. Raw fruits and vegetables are a good source of fiber, which stimulate intestinal activity, leading to a healthy weight.
Avoid eating too much protein. Protein generally stays in the intestines longer, slowing digestion.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 10/25/2015
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