We are seeing a veritable explosion of constipation in the world. Most people will experience some constipation in their lives but it’s when the problem gets chronic or is accompanied by pain and /or blood in stools, that it should ring alarm bells for sure. Being constipated means that your bowel movements don’t happen normally. But, what’s normal? We know that the normal length of time between bowel movements varies widely from person to person. Some people go to the loo three times a day and that’s normal for them. In general, not clearing your bowels for more than three days is usually considered too long. The stool also becomes hard and difficult to pass after three days.
- Fewer bowel movements
- Trouble passing stools
- Hard stools
- Feeling full even after passing stools
- Flatulence and belly pain
Having too many antacid medicines, especially those containing calcium or aluminium
- Changes in lifestyle including diet and usual activities
- Colon cancer
- Dairy products
- Eating disorders
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Neurological problems like Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis
- Having less water or fibre in diet
- Laxative overuse
- Nerve and muscle problems in the digestive system like due to fibromyalgia
- Medications like NSAIDS, drugs, antidepressants, or iron pills
- Drink more water consciously- Drink two to four extra glasses of water a day.
- Drink warm liquids, especially after getting up in the morning.
- Add more fibre to your diet by eating more fruits and vegetables.
- You can use a mild over-the-counter stool softener like docusate or a laxative like magnesium hydroxide, but for not more than two weeks.
- Call your doctor if you have a sudden attack of constipation with abdominal pain and you aren’t able to pass any gas or stool.
Other ways to get rid of constipation are
- Eat a well- balanced diet with enough fibre. Eat bran and multi-grain bread instead of white bread. Cut out processed foods from your diet. Eat regularly.
- Drink 1 1/2 to litres of water and other fluids a day.
- Avoid caffeine found in tea, coffee and soft drinks. This can exasperate constipation
- Cut back on dairy, especially milk.
- Exercise regularly. Just 30 minutes of walking or some activity can manage constipation.
- Don’t hold back from going to the bathroom when you feel the urge.
- Eat more vitamin B 12. Sometimes lack of this vitamin can cause constipation. A deficiency can also make you tired, weak and nervous.
- Stress is a big cause for constipation. Be sure to nix it as it causes changes in the body that cause problems in your body like constipation.
- The gastrointestinal system is especially sensitive to stress so anything meditative like Tai chi, yoga or listening to music can be a big relief.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!