Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Constipation, Is It Bugging You?

Different people have different bowel movement schedules. Some go to the bathroom as often as three times a day while others have their bowel movement three times a week, still others do it every day. However, there are times when our bathroom habits change. If you noticed that you have to strain in order to move your bowel, or you still feel "unreleased" despite the frequent trips to the bathroom and you exert too much effort just to have a bowel movement, then you may be constipated. Constipation happens when stools pass too slowly through the intestines.

Constipation may be caused by a lot of reasons. Most common of which are:

1. You have not taken enough fluids to facilitate the easy release of you bowel.
2. Your diet doesn't contain enough dietary fiber.
3. You are most often sedentary and do not engage in enough physical activity.
4. You let the urge pass every time nature calls for it.
5. Certain medications.
6. When you are over-dependent on laxatives and overusing these.
7. When you are experiencing depression.
8. In cases of hyperthyroidism.
9. When you are suffering from colon cancer.

Curing constipation includes firstly, drinking a lot of fluids and water by far is the best and second is eating a lot of fiber rich foods.

Drinking plenty of fluids, an equivalent of six to eight glasses of water daily together with a diet rich in fiber should keep you away from constipation. Fiber rich foods include unprocessed wheat bran, unrefined breakfast cereals, whole wheat, rye, fresh or dried fruits excluding bananas, vegetables except potatoes and legumes. The same approach should be tried first if you feel constipated. You should consume a rich serving of fruits and vegetables daily. Ideally, two to four servings of fruit and three to five servings of vegetables a day with the addition of extra grains such as bran breakfast cereal is recommended. Also increase your exercise regimen and use bulk-forming laxatives that contain psyllium.

Although bulk forming laxatives can help you ease constipation, you should not immediately resort to these every time you feel constipated. Bulk forming laxatives add water to your stools, softening them and in the process make the stools pass more easily through the intestines. Other types of laxatives stimulate muscle contractions in the intestine and when overused, these can actually cause more damage than help ease constipation.

Frequent use of laxatives can be more counterproductive than beneficial. Our intestines may become over dependent on laxatives. When laxatives are used frequently, our intestines may cease to function normally on their own. Our body's ability to metabolize drugs may be hindered by laxatives as well. Lastly, laxatives can facilitate easy movement of food through our digestive system so quickly that water and nutrients can't be completely absorbed.

Obstruction of the digestive tract that results in constipation commonly affects people older than 40 years old. This obstruction might be due to a benign or even malignant tumor.

If you have not experienced constipation and suddenly you find it very difficult to move your bowel coupled with accompanying symptoms like bloody or black stools, constipation that lasts three weeks or more and abdominal pain or pain upon bowel movement, then its best to see and consult your doctor.

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Constipation

Labels: , ,