Almost everyone has constipation at some point in life, and it’s usually not serious. You feel better when your system is back on track; however, in few people, constipation is a daily battle.
The normal duration of time between bowel movements varies from person to person. Being constipated means that bowel movements are difficult or once in 2-3 days, a person tend to strain while passing stools, there is a feeling that everything didn’t come out or when you get hard or small stools.
What are the usual causes of Constipation?
Some of the main causes of constipation are an improper intake of fiber-rich foods, insufficient water intake, irregular defecation habit, lack of physical activity, weakness of abdominal muscles, hemorrhoids, stress, intake of certain medications, laxative abuse few medical conditions like hypothyroidism, depression, irritable bowel syndrome may also lead to constipation.
It is said that ‘When you keep your digestive system happy, you’ll be much happier, too’. Hence it is important to treat constipation for happy and healthy life . In many cases, it’s possible to relieve the symptoms by making dietary and lifestyle changes.
What are the natural ways to overcome constipation?
Change your diet habits:
- An overall healthy diet can help to overcome constipation. Diet rich in fiber allows more water to remain in your stool, making waste softer, larger, and thus, easier to pass through your intestines. fiber also adds bulk to your fecal material, which hastens its passage through your gut and prevents that constipated feeling.
- Foods that contain most fiber are: Fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, peas, grains like wheat, brown rice, oatmeal, nuts, and seed like almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, raisins, figs etc.
- Drink lemon water in the morning on an empty stomach. The citric acid in lemon juice acts as a stimulant for your digestive system, and can also help flush out toxins and undigested material that may have built up along the walls of the colon.
- Avoid foods that contain white flour like maida, white sugar, junk food, and other processed foods.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, and soft drinks.
- Eat light meals at regular intervals, and make sure you eat at least 3-4 hours before you go to bed.
Take a walk:
Go for a walk every day . Gradually increase your walking time until you are walking for at least 20-30 minutes.
Suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Read blog article on Lifestyle changes to aid your Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) treatment.
If your bowel habits are sluggish, exercise can help speed things up. Some exercises stimulate the natural contraction of intestinal muscles and help move stools out quickly.
Aerobic exercises, running, jogging, swimming, or swing dancing, all these exercises can help keep the digestive tract healthy. Some Yoga positions involve stretching which facilitates proper digestion.
Drink Adequate water and other fluids:
Make sure you drink around 8 and 10 glasses (3-3.5 liters) of water and other fluids every day . Fruit juices and water are known to normalize bowel motility. When your body is properly hydrated, less water will be withdrawn from the colon. This will keep your stool soft and easy to pass.
Regular bowel habits:
Schedule time each day for a bowel movement. Establishing a daily routine will regulate your bowel movements and help you to overcome constipation. Take your time. Do not be in a hurry.
Support your feet with a small step when you sit on the toilet. This will help flex your hips and place your pelvis in a more normal “squatting” position for having a bowel movement.
Never ignore nature’s call:
Do not ignore your body’s natural urge to defecate. Over time, your body will stop having these natural urges and constipation will set in.
Check your medicine closet:
Identify your routine medications that may contribute to constipation. Let your doctor help you find an alternative.
Stress is one of the known factor causing constipation. So avoid unwanted stress as much as possible. Try out some techniques like meditation and yoga which will help to cope up with the stress. Take proper 7-8 hours of sleep daily.
Above mentioned simple lifestyle and dietary changes can set you free from constipation and bring your digestive system on track. If despite following all the necessary measures your constipation is troubling you then it’s time to see your doctor.
– Written by Dr.Aparna Hingmire, LifeForce Team