Nobody likes to think about it; even when we can do it, however, whenever we seem unable to do it, then it almost becomes our secret shame. In case you didn’t guess from the title, what we are referring to is constipation and it is an increasingly common condition, one in which many of us have experienced and some point of our lives or another.
From a medical standpoint, constipation is characterized by less frequent bowel motions, which is often caused by slow moving stools, where more water is then reabsorbed. This results in harder, bigger stools that are difficult to pass, or small hard ‘pellet’ like lumps. As a result, this can leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable, and in some instances, nausea and excess wind can develop. It can also be incredibly painful once your bowels open and you are able to go to the bathroom.
So what can you do? Glad you asked!
Drink LOTS of Water
Sometimes the simplest solution is often the best one, and dehydration is a common cause of constipation.
Not drinking enough can result in an even firmer, harder stool; increasing water intake can help to soften the stool, so it then is easier to pass.
Make Sure Your Diet Has Enough Fibre
Having enough fiber in your diet is vital for improving constipation, with 30g per day recommended. It is important to remember there are two main types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps soften the stool by allowing more water to remain, thus making it easier to pass. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the feces, which speeds up its time spent passing through the intestines and colon.
Cut Out the Unhealthy Fats
Fat is good for your health, in moderation that is. And a large reason for that is because fat has a much slower rate of digestion, which causes you to feel fuller longer. However, someone with constipation may find that high fat intake worsens things.
It can be easy to sit around when you are constipated but the reality is that this is one of the worst things you could do. Get active on a regular basis will help to get your bowels moving, and remember, you don’t have to run a marathon. Most people report that even the simplest activities when constipated can make a big difference.
Enlist Some Help
If after trying all of the above and you still haven’t had any success, there are a variety of supplements and aids on the market which can help with managing constipation. Some easy to access foods that specifically can help including psyllium husks, prunes or prune juice, and chia seeds.