Constipation: What is it?
Constipation is a condition whereby the patient experiences difficulty in emptying the bowel and having regular movements. It is usually associated with hardened stools that do not pass easily. The symptoms include a stool that is difficult to push out, is larger than usual and often dry, hard and lumpy. Coupled with this, we may experience an irregular release at least three times in a week. This results in having a stomach ache and a feeling of being bloated or sick. Remember though, for breastfed babies, it is not unusual for them to go a week without pooping. The symptoms for babies and toddlers include lack of energy, soiling their clothes, and an increase in their irritability, anger and general unhappiness.
There are many causes of constipation. Sometimes it seems like it’s happening for no reason at all. Here we’ve listed a few reasons it could be happening:
- We are not eating enough fiber. Depending on our age and gender, adults should get an amount of 25-31 grams of fiber in their diet a day.
- We are not drinking enough fluids. Drinking water and other liquids will help our body in so many different ways. It is important to stay hydrated.
- We are not getting enough exercise. Quite often, we allow ourselves to become less active than we should be. We may find ourselves stuck to the couch, scrolling endlessly on our phones or playing video games. None of this is good for our bodies or our bowel.
- We often ignore the call of nature. We know we need to go, we just put it off or hold it in. When you’re in the middle of an important task or having a particularly busy day, you might hold off in going to the bathroom.
- Our diet isn’t good enough and we aren’t eating properly or alternatively, you’ve changed your diet. Our bodies need to adjust to a new diet or routine and this can play havoc with your bowel and regularity.
- Our mood is low. Anxiety, depression, grief and stress can effect our bodies as well as our minds. The symptoms of anxiety can manifest in physical ways including constipation or diarrhea.
- A side effect of medication. It is important to educate yourself on the different side effects caused my different medications. Talk with your doctor if you experience any severe side effects to any medications. Constipation can be caused by medicine for other ailments.
This list has detailed the probable causes of constipation. If any of those reasons are applicable to you, it might be worthwhile examining where you’re going wrong before seeking out any medication. Here are some tips:
- Make subtle changes to your diet. Eating too much processed food? Cut down. Get more fiber in your diet.
- Increase physical activity. Are you a couch potato? You don’t have to do anything extreme. Try going for a walk to get yourself and your bowels moving.
- Listen to nature’s call. If you need to go, go. Don’t hold it in. Going regularly is important and healthy.
- If none of these tips seem to help, it would be wise to discuss treatments with your doctor and rule out any other underlying cause such as an obstruction.
The Ten High Fibre Foods for Constipation
The function of fiber is to keep our digestive system healthy. It is mainly a carbohydrate. It has two types; the soluble fiber and the insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber absorbs water and turns into a gel-like substance upon digestion. Some soluble fiber lower the risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber is found in seeds, barley, nuts, beans, and oat bran. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. It remains as it is all the way through.. It adds bulk and moisture to the stool to help it pass. It can be found in foods like whole grains, wheat bran, and vegetables. Although they have some differences, they are both excellent for constipation. It doesn’t necessarily matter which fiber we are ingesting unless we have a condition called Irritable Bowel Movement (IBM). Then, we suggest you avoid soluble fiber and take insoluble fiber instead. Also, we remind everybody to be cautious in stepping up from low fiber intake to a high fiber diet too quickly. As we said earlier, the body needs to adjust. A sudden change in diet won’t do us any good. Allow your body time to adjust to a new diet. Introduce changes slowly and hopefully you won’t be experiencing discomfort for much longer.
- Wheat Bread
- Bran flake
- Brown Rice
- Black Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Navy Beans
- Apples (with the skin on)
Vegetables – it doesn’t matter if we eat leaves, stalks or roots.
- Green Peas
- Collard Greens
- Sweet Potatoes (potatoes with the skin on)
- Brussel Sprouts
- Ground flaxseeds
Hot Tea (herbal tea)
Snacks – make your own portable snacks.
- Fruit (apples and peers)
- Granola (less sugar or none at all)
- Hummus (raw vegetable sticks)
- Trail Mix
– A study shows that calcium has a binding effect (makes our stool a harder consistency). Unripe bananas include a high amount of resistant starch that can cause digestive issues.
- Unripe Bananas
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER!
It is important to examine our eating habits before jumping to conclusions about any digestive or bowel issues. Again, we recommend medical attention if none of these suggestions help. It’s important to rule out serious conditions with the help of a medical professional.