Constipation is a common digestive problem that affects millions of people around the world. Many people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome see irregular bowel movement as well. According to Mayo Clinic, constipation most commonly occurs when waste or stool moves too slowly through the digestive tract or cannot be eliminated effectively from the rectum, which may cause the stool to become hard and dry. Other constipation symptoms include bloating and abdominal discomfort or abdominal pain.
Constipation can be a chronic problem, or it can be an occasional issue. While infrequent bowel movements is usually not a serious medical concern, chronic constipation can have serious long-term health consequences beyond the colon health if not addressed.
The primary cause of constipation is a lack of fiber in the diet. Fiber is essential for proper digestion and helps to form the bulk of stools, making them softer and easier to pass. Without enough fiber in the diet, stools become harder and more difficult to pass, leading to fewer bowel movements.
Other causes of constipation include dehydration, certain medications (such as opioid induced constipation or Slow Transit Constipation which is a neuromuscular problem). Lack of physical activity and certain medical conditions such as crohns disease can also cause severe constipation. Patients who receive medical treatments such as chemotherapy or certain medications may also have an impact on the bowel function as a side effect.
In these cases it is important to speak with your health professionals about possible solutions. They may suggest increasing fiber and water intake, taking over-the-counter medications, or using stool softeners to relieve constipation. It is also recommended to avoid straining during bowel movements as this can cause further complications if constipation persists.
It is important to maintain regular bowel movements. When someone suffers from bowel problems, their body is unable to effectively rid itself of waste, leading to a buildup of toxins in the digestive system. This can affect the body’s overall health, leading to a range of problems.
First, constipation can lead to an imbalance of bacteria in the gut, which can weaken the immune system. It is important to note that chronic constipation can worsen existing digestive problems, including acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Chronic constipation can lead to a greater risk of developing illnesses, such as viral infections, bowel obstruction or inflammatory bowel disease. When stools are not passed regularly, toxins and bacteria are not flushed out of the body, leading to an increased risk of developing kidney disease and other serious conditions.
As many as 50 percent of people with chronic constipation have pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) — impaired relaxation and coordination of pelvic floor muscles and abdominal muscles during evacuation. Straining, hard stool or thin stools, and a feeling of incomplete elimination are common signs and symptoms.
In addition, chronic constipation can cause the colon to become weakened, leading to diverticular disease, anal fissure or even a higher risk of developing colon cancer in the long-term.
Finally, people who suffer from frequent constipation may rely on laxatives to help pass stool, which can lead to further damage to the intestines and cause other long-term health problems.
Laxative can temporarily adjust infrequent bowel movements, however it's not the answer to regulate bowel movements in the long term.
Fortunately, there are several steps that can be taken to help reduce the effects of constipation. Increasing insoluble fiber intake is one of the most important steps, as this helps to soften stool and promote regularity. Eating more fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains can help improve digestion and decrease constipation. It's also worth considering taking a fiber supplement.
Additionally, increasing fluids such as water or juice can also help flush out the digestive system. Regular exercise is also beneficial, as it stimulates intestinal movement and helps regularize bowel movements.
Finally, taking a daily probiotic supplement can help to restore balance in the gut, reduce inflammation, and improve overall digestion.
By following these simple steps and making dietary modifications, individuals can effectively reduce their constipation symptoms and improve their overall digestive health.
Remember to consult with a healthcare provider if symptoms persist or worsen, as they may be able to provide more tailored advice and suggest additional treatments.
The bottom line is that constipation does not have to be a normal part of life. With the right lifestyle modifications and dietary changes, individuals can reduce uncomfortable symptoms and experience better digestive health.
Making small changes to your diet can change your bowel habit. For example, increase your intake of dietary fibre. Food sources of dietary fiber have traditionally been divided according to whether they provide soluble or insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber examples are beta-glucans (in oats, barley, and mushrooms) and raw guar gum. Insoluble fiber – which does not dissolve in water – is inert to digestive enzymes in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Examples are wheat bran, cellulose, and lignin. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation.
Other lifestyle adjustments include staying hydrated, exercising regularly, and taking a probiotic supplement, such as our Probiotic solid beverage. These small changes can make all the difference in helping to regulate bowel movements, relieve constipation and improve overall digestive health.
It is important to speak to a healthcare professional if symptoms persist or worsen, as they may be able to provide more tailored advice and suggest additional treatments. With the right steps, constipation can be managed and prevented, helping to ensure good digestive health and minimize the risk of long-term complications.