Table of Contents
What is Constipation?
We have all seen Chandler Bing’s engagement pictures in the famous episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S.. He has an expression of a constipated person which made us all laugh out loud BUT constipation is no joke. 10% of the global population suffers from chronic constipation. Constipation is a problem of digestive system in which bowel movements are restricted. Some people also have dry, hardened stools which are difficult to expel. This may occur when colon has absorbed too much water from the food.
Home Remedies for Constipation-
There are various treatments for constipation. Medicines and Laxatives are prescribed by doctors for constipation when the situation is chronic. These should only be taken as a last resort and shouldn’t become a habit. The best way to treat as well as prevent constipation is to try some of these:
Bacteria found in probiotics are beneficial for many woes. Constipation, among other digestive woes, can be solved by consumption of probiotics. Bacteria like Lactic acid bacteria in probiotics create acidic condition in the gut which is optimum for digestion. Yogurt, Kefir, Soya bean cakes, etc. are easy to make at home and taste good as well. If you have busy schedule, you can buy probiotics available in the market. Peter Kavinsky had to go all across the other side of the town to get Lara Jean’s favorite probiotic but you can get them anywhere.
2. Drinking water:
As dehydration leads to constipation, compensation of the lost water is quite important. If there is enough water in the diet, chances of over-absorption are less. It is advised to drink at least 8 glasses of water everyday. Water also helps in digestion process. It also has a lot of minerals required by the body.
3. Regular exercise:
Leading a sedentary life is among the main causes of constipation. Regular running, jogging, walking, swimming, cycling, etc. can help with constipation. Exercise helps to reduce the time food takes to pass through the large intestine. Aerobics and dancing increase heart rate and breathing rate stimulating the intestinal muscles to contract naturally. When the intestinal muscles contract easily, they help move the stools out smoothly and quickly.
4. High fiber diet:
There are two kinds of fiber, both of which help to prevent constipation. Soluble fiber makes the stool softer and larger by retaining more water in it. Insoluble fiber on the other hand makes the stool bulky resulting in smooth and quick passage of it through the intestines. Fiber rich foods are easily available. Bananas, apples, spinach, broccoli, almonds are great sources of fiber.
5. Bulking agents:
Bulking agents like fruit skin, potato skin, whole wheat bran, rice bran, etc. help to make the stool bulky. This leads to easy expelling of stools and relieves pain. The most desirable quality of bulking agents is that they do not change the texture, aroma or taste of the food. They are non-nutritive in nature and have a sense of satiety. Bulking agents, thus, also help in reducing weight.
6. Avoiding milk:
Lactose intolerant people should completely avoid milk and milk products. Lactose intolerant people do not have lactase enzyme in their digestive systems and thus cannot digest lactose. This leads to indigestion and constipation. Milk is inherently cool in nature which further magnifies the problem. Avoiding milk and consuming its substitutes is the best option for them.
Most people have specific time of the day when they use the toilet without forcing stool. This is usually in morning for most people. Routine can help in constipation. Our biological clock regulates the physiological activities of the body. Changes in routine can disturb this clock while a constant routine helps to regulate bowel movements along with other physical activities.
8. Toilet Habits:
Best way to establish a routine is by improving toilet habits. You should visit the bathroom when you feel the pressure. Controlling the urge to go to toilet disturbs the routine badly and leads to constipation. It is also bad to take to much time in the loo. You should visit the loo only when the stool is ready to be expelled. You should spend only 2-3 minutes for passing the stool.
9. Eating Habits:
If you stay hungry you are foolish. Staying hungry can cause a lot of problems for the digestive system, constipation being one of them. Empty stomach leads to less digestion in intestines and results in constipation. You should eat whenever you’re hungry. It is always better to eat only enough proportions to fill stomach at regular intervals.
10. Relieving stress:
If you’re upset, your stomach is upset. Stress is indirectly related to stomach problems. When you’re in stress, you eat less/more, get insufficient sleep, basically the routine gets messed up. Most people feel fresh after using the loo but if you’re stressed this feeling can’t be enjoyed. Relieving yourself from stress can thus help in constipation.
Getting insufficient sleep or oversleeping will lead to changes in the routine. Defining the time for sleeping and waking up can help prevent constipation.
12. Avoiding laxatives:
Laxatives can successfully treat most cases of constipation but should be used with care and only when necessary. In fact they should be taken only when prescribed by a medical practitioner. Many people use laxatives without consulting a doctor. Over-use leads to the body being habituated to the laxatives and wont be able to pass stools with them. Ergo, its better to avoid laxatives all together unless nothing else works.
Pooping posture is extremely important. Proper posture gives proper pressure on appropriate places and the stool can be easily expelled out. Squatting is the best posture for passing the stool. Many traditional toilets like the Indian toilets are made in such a way that this position is attained. You can also keep your feet on a plastic stool while using a normal western toilet.
Do you have constipation?
You have constipation if:
1. It becomes difficult and painful to pass stool.
2. Bowel movements become less frequent (than usual).
3. Stools become hard and dry.
4. There is a sense of incomplete emptying of the bowels.
5. There is stomachache after passing stool.
6. Bleeding and tearing in the anus. (in extreme cases)
7. Losing appetite.
8. Bloated stomach.
Why does it happen?
Constipation is basically a sign of an unhealthy lifestyle. It happens because one or more of the following reasons:
1. Unhealthy eating habits:
Staying hungry for long periods of time. Not eating when actually hungry. Eating very small portions of food or eating unhealthy food regularly.
2. Fiber lacking foods:
Consuming food that contain insufficient amount of fiber leads to constipation. Fiber helps in the digestion process. It prevent over absorption of water. Ergo, if the food lacks fiber the chances of constipation increase.
3. Toilet Habits:
Controlling the urge to go the toilet or not going to the loo when pressure arises. Taking too much time in the loo. Sitting idly on the toilet.
Not drinking enough water can lead to hardening of stools and in turn lead to constipation. Dehydration due to sweating, vomiting, loose motions can lead to constipation as well. Yes, loose motions can lead to constipation as well.
5. Lack of Exercise:
Having a sedentary life style is big no if you want your digestive system to work properly. Sitting at one place all day, insufficient exercise and not moving much can cause constipation.
Certain medicines like anti-depressants, antacids, etc. can cause constipation.
As age increases, systems of the body start malfunctioning or become slow. Digestive system is no exception and there are chances of constipation in old age for no other apparent reason.
Menstruating and pregnant women often suffer from constipation. This is many times due to hormonal changes as well as changes in eating habits.
There are many people who suffer from constipation when they consume milk. This is due to lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerant people cannot digest milk.
Constipation is a global problem faced by many in the world. It leads to other problems as well so it should be treated accordingly. The best way to prevent constipation is to take the matter seriously. Poop jokes are funny and should be made but not at the cost of health. There are many other constipation relief options available.