The normal length of time between bowel movements varies from person to person. Some people have them three times a day and some have them just a few times a week.But if it is going longer than 3 or more days without one, though, is usually too long.
So after 3 days, stool gets harder and more difficult to pass. This when constipation happens.
Constipation symptoms :-
- Hardening of stools or small stools
- A sense that everything didn’t come out
- Fewer bowel movements
- Difficulties having a bowel movement
- Belly bloating
Chronic constipation : –
chronic constipation is characterised by infrequent bowel movements that persist for several weeks. It causes excessive straining to have a bowel movement and other symptoms like:
- Feeling of not being able to empty the stool from the rectum
- Passing fewer than three stools a week
- Having hard stools
- Straining to have bowel movements
- The feeling of having a blockage in your rectum that prevents bowel movements
There’s more to what can cause constipation than you can guess! like : –
- Resisting the urge to poop
- Changes in our used to its daily routine or activity
- Lack of water or fibre in the daily diet
- Eating a lot of dairy products
- Not being active
> Substance use :
- Overuse of laxatives
- Certain medications (especially strong pain drugs like narcotics, antidepressants, and iron pills)
- Antacid medicines that have calcium or aluminium
>Health conditions :
- Eating disorders
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Nerves and muscle problems in the digestive system
- Colon cancer
- Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis
- An under active thyroid (called hypothyroidism)
what can make it worse?
Various Factors that increase the risk of chronic constipation are:
- Being an older adult
- Being a woman
- Eating a diet that’s low in fibre
- Getting no physical activity
- Taking certain medications like sedatives, narcotics, some antidepressants or medications to lower blood pressure
- Being dehydrated
- Depression or an eating disorder
Don’t ignore constipation or you could face these complications : –
1. Haemorrhoids- Straining to have a bowel movement may cause swelling in the veins in and around your anus.
2. Anal fissure is characterized by a large or hard stool can cause tiny tears in the anus.
3. Faecal impaction- Chronic constipation may cause an accumulation of hardened stool that gets stuck in your intestines.
4.Rectal prolapse is straining to have a bowel movement that can cause a small amount of the rectum to stretch and protrude from the anus.
It is said that constipation symptoms for six months along with two or more of the following criteria for at least three months cause chronic constipation
- The sensation of incomplete emptying with at least 25% of bowel movements
- The sensation of an anal or rectal blockage with at least 25% of bowel movements
- hard stools at least 25% of the time
- The use of hands to facilitate at least 25% of bowel movements
- Fewer than three bowel movements per week
Other diagnostic tests are recommended if an underlying condition, such as hypothyroidism, may be a contributing factor.
HERE’S HOW TO TAKE CARE
A] THE PRECAUTIONS – because they are always better than cure.
1) KNOW WHAT YOUR GUT PREFERS – it makes the job easier!
Drink a lot of fluids and fibre in a day (unless your doctor has you on a fluid-restricted diet).
- It is advisable to sip on warm liquids, especially in the morning.
- Our digestive system needs a lot of water at least 10 glasses a day to help flush things out.
- Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fibre and Try adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
- Always try to pack our plate with lots of veggies, fruits, and whole grains, legumes and whole-grain bread and cereal (especially bran).
- DON’T EAT too many low-fibre foods like dairy and meat. Most of the “refined” grains and cereals are stripped off of their fibre content. eating them on a daily basis will definitely leave you constipated.
- Avoid caffeine as it can be dehydrating.
- Cut back on milk as dairy products can constipate some people.
2) YOUR GUT WILL LIKE THE WAY YOU MOVE!
- Always try to be active for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
- A daily 15-minutes of walk or exercise can help move food through your bowel more quickly.
- After a heavy meal, always try to move around instead of lying down.
- Yoga poses are beneficial as they reduce stress and increase blood flow to the digestive tract, which stimulates the intestines to contract.
Exercise helps the muscles in your digestive system work better, so solids can move through more smoothly. Always try to be active every day of the week.
B] MEDICATIONS MIGHT HELP – incase you’ve let your gut down.
- Osmotics keep water in your stool. This helps us to go more often and keeps your stools soft when we do.
- There are some Stool softeners draw water from our intestines into our stool.
- This keeps our waste from getting hard, making it easier to pass.
- Lubricants also help to coat our stool to help it hold in the fluid so it can pass out of your body more easily.
- Mineral oils work as lubricants.
But we should take extra care if we have heart or kidney ailments as these medications may cause dehydration or in some cases mineral imbalance.
- Laxatives aren’t right for everyone with constipation.
- We should only use them under a doctor’s care, for a short amount of time.
- They’re not meant for long term
- Taking laxatives for too long can cause other issues.
C] HOME REMEDIES – if you don’t want to put lab products in your system.
There are homemade, easily accessible magical remedies that we must try out and start incorporating right now in our schedule to relieve our constipation issues.
- Sesame seeds can relieve constipation as its oily nature works to moisturize the intestines.
- Try adding the seeds to cereals or salads for crunch, or pulverize them in a coffee grinder and sprinkle on food like a seasoning.
- A tablespoon of blackstrap molasses before bed should help ease constipation by morning?
- Blackstrap molasses are first boiled and then concentrated three times, so it has a significant amount of vitamins and minerals.
- Especially Magnesium, in particular, will help you achieve constipation relief.
- Mint and ginger are both proven home remedies to help in the relief of digestive problems.
- Peppermint contains menthol, has an antispasmodic effect relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract.
- Ginger is a “warming” herb that causes the inside of the body to generate more heat; this can help speed up the digestion.
- In tea, the hot water will also provide constipation relief.
- Like we know that Dandelion tea is also a gentle laxative.
- Olive oil, nuts, and avocados all contain healthy fats, which can help lubricate your intestines.
TIP: A salad with fibre-rich leafy greens and a simple olive oil dressing, a small handful of nuts, or a tablespoon of natural nut butter on fruit or toast are good options.
- Raisins, being high in fibre plus contain tartaric acid, has a laxative effect.
- Cherries and apricots are rich in fibre and can help to relieve your constipation.
- One of the primary uses for castor oil is as a laxative.
- We can start by taking two teaspoons on an empty stomach and you should see results in about eight hours.
- There is a component in the oil breaks down into a substance that stimulates your large and small intestines.
- They have long been used to treat constipation.
- It is thought that their laxative effect is in part due to their high concentration of sorbitol.
- Kiwifruit is a traditional laxative food.
Probiotics are supplements containing live microorganisms that are taken to improve the digestive and overall health. We can take natural ones like yoghurt, Greek yoghurt, etc.
A study has been designed to determine the ideal posture for defecation, 28 healthy adults adopted three different defecation postures.
The first posture was seated on a standard toilet.
The second seated with feet resting on a 10 cm-high footstool
The third was a squatting posture, using a flat container.
Squatting was linked with the shortest time spent in moving stool and the faster and easiest bowel emptying!!! – time to go back to our old ways.