Making Choices For a Constipation-Free Life
Constipation is a condition of the gut whose symptoms include:
- Difficult and infrequent bowel movements.
- Hard stools.
- The feeling of incomplete evacuation.
It’s caused by stools staying for extended periods in the colon. The colon draws out the water from the stools, causing them to dry up and harden.
A majority of the population will experience constipation at some point in their lives, but it becomes a matter of concern when visiting the bathroom gets distressing. In the US, chronic constipation affects up to 20% of the population, resulting in numerous hospital visits.
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The Impact of Constipation
Experiencing constipation daily is an unpleasant situation, and patients may experience:
- Physical Discomfort: Constipation is often accompanied by bloating, abdominal pain, and cramping, making it hard to keep up with daily activities.
- Social Embarrassment: Constipation patients may not want to visit public toilets or other acquaintances due to the awkward feeling it brings.
- Lower Life Quality: When you constantly have to worry about a solution to your bowel problem, expect decreased productivity and lower energy levels.
- Healthcare Costs: Medical remedies for constipation cost money, and patients may require hospitalization, which may burden the healthcare system.
Common Lifestyle Factors Contributing to Constipation
While constipation can be the result of various medical conditions, often the cause can be traced to lifestyle factors. Here are some lifestyle habits that may contribute to difficult bowel movements:
A diet that lacks enough fiber is the most common cause of constipation. Dietary fiber comes from plant food and remains undigested to bulk up stool and aid in its movement through the bowel. When your diet is low on fiber, stools easily become compacted and difficult to pass.
Dietary choices that deny the body adequate fiber include excessively feeding on processed meals and lack of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Fiber-rich foods will help keep constipation at bay. Additionally, supplements like Gundry MD Total Restore can further aid in promoting gut health and overall wellness.
Many people overlook the importance of adequate hydration for health. Sufficient water intake is a key element of a healthy gut. With adequate fluids in the body, stools remain soft. Dehydration prompts the bowel to absorb water from stool, leading to hardening.
For optimum bowel health, take sufficient water at intervals spaced throughout the day. Hydration requirements will vary from individual to individual depending on factors like age, gender, weather, and physical activity. However, the general recommendation is about 2 liters per day.
Stress is a predisposing factor in many health conditions, including constipation. When you’re stressed, your body may slow down normal gastrointestinal processes, causing constipation or exacerbating existing cases.
Managing stress is crucial to avoid strained bowel movements. When you’re stressed, practice relaxation techniques like yoga to keep your bowel functioning optimally. Reducing stress is not just great for your digestion but for your overall well-being.
Fighting Constipation Through Diet
Your diet is your main ally when it comes to promoting healthy bowel function and as already pointed out above, sufficient dietary fiber will keep things moving smoothly and keep your gut in excellent condition.
Fiber-rich foods that you need to incorporate into your diet include:
- Legumes like lentils and beans
- Vegetables like kale, carrots, broccoli and spinach
- Fruits like pears, apples and berries
- Seeds and nuts like chia seeds, flaxseeds, sesame, and almonds
Likewise, some foods can bring or worsen existing constipation issues. Limit the consumption of these foods to keep your gut functioning well:
- Processed grain products like pasta and white rice are low in fiber.
- Foods containing gluten, like wheat.
- Alcohol, as it may cause dehydration.
- Red meat as it contains little fiber and takes longer to digest than most foods.
- Milk and dairy products.
Incorporating Physical Activity For Better Bowel Movements
Physical activities are not just excellent for keeping your weight in check but go a long way to ensure your digestion system functions optimally. Regular exercise controls constipation by limiting the time your food stays in the bowel. This means that less water is absorbed from stools allowing them to remain moist and easy to expel.
Again, exercising allows the body to release trapped gas, alleviating constipation symptoms such as bloating. Simple exercises like taking regular walks is sufficient for most people. You can take it a notch higher through aerobic exercises like swimming, dancing, running, and jogging. For consistency, always opt for physical activities that can fit into your schedule without much effort.
Establishing Routines For Bowel Regularity
One of the most outstanding qualities of the human body is its ability to respond to routine. Establishing a structured schedule for activities such as meals and taking bathroom breaks can help prevent constipation. Here’s how to create a routine that promotes bowel health:
Establish Consistent Meal Times: To help your body find a rhythm for the digestion process, it helps to have your meals at regular times every day. For instance, you can ensure you’ve had your breakfast at 7:00 a.m., lunch at noon, and dinner at 6:00 p.m.
Prioritize Morning Bathroom Breaks: Most people will have an urge to visit the bathroom in the morning after waking up. To avoid rushing things, you can wake up early to ensure you have adequate time to empty your bowels before starting your day. Doing this daily will ensure waste doesn’t stay in your body long enough to cause constipation.
Incorporate Water Breaks: Observing the recommended daily water intake isn’t a walk in the park for everyone. With busy schedules and limited time, sufficient water intake can remain a mirage. To avoid falling short of your water intake, make drinking water part and parcel of your routine. For instance, you can take a glass right after waking up, a glass with each meal, and another before returning to bed.
If you have been suffering from constipation, you have the power to take proactive steps to better your bowel health. Identify the areas in your life that can do with some changes. Consider these guidelines to keep your digestive system functioning perfectly and promote your long-term health.