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Exorcising the Demon of Digestive Health: Constipation

Digestive Health > > Exorcising the Demon of Digestive Health: Constipation

Constipation is one of the most common digestive health disorder out there. It afflicts at least 3 million people regularly in the United States alone

It occurs when you pass very little amounts of dense, dry, and hard bowel movements. Usually, you only go to the bathroom three times a week or less. When you do, typically the experience is not a fun one. It can be painful. But if you don’t go, the symptoms are not any better: bloating, sluggishness, and discomfort.

Of course, a lot of people who think they have constipation actually do not. This is an important distinction to the condition and one great way to cure yourself. Just by realizing you actually don’t have the disorder, this understanding will “magically” cure you of it.

For instance, if you pass bowel movements on a regular basis, even once a day, chances are that you’re not constipated. The key to differentiating normal bowel movements is figuring out what is normal for you. There is not set rate that works for everyone. All bodies are different. You can figure out what is normal for you, and as long as you stick generally to that schedule, you are fine.

Different people also have different consistencies to their bowel movements. Some are naturally harder than others, while some pass softer masses. Again, the important thing to do is to figure out what the norm is for you.

When Bathroom Habits Go Bad

There may be times, however, when you’re off your norm. Because of stress or a lot of traveling, for example, your normal body rhythms can get out of whack. Your digestive health will get out of whack with them. In many cases, a change in your diet or exercise habits can also throw

A full list of causes includes:

  • Lack of fiber in the diet
  • Lack of liquids in the diet
  • Lack of exercise in lifestyle
  • New medications
  • Life changes such as pregnancy, older age, and travel
  • Laxative abuse
  • Not paying attention to your body’s urge to pass a bowel movement

There are more serious causes of constipation, too, such as:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Stroke and other serious diseases
  • Physical problems with your colon and rectum and intestinal function

No matter the cause, you don’t have to just sit there and take it, though. Understand that constipation in your case is just a temporary conditions. There are several things you can do to fight it off.

Fend off constipation with fiber

The main way to prevent constipation is by improving your diet. The primary ingredient in a constipation-killing menu is fiber. This makes perfect sense, considering that low fiber intake is a major cause of the bowel

Fiber’s effects come from its ability to “bulk up” your stool. You see, there are two kinds of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Both can be found in fruits and vegetables, grains, and other natural foods. They work, in essence, because your body cannot digest them.

Instead, the soluble fiber turns into a gel-like substance, which not only adds size your stools. It acts like a lubricant. Insoluble fiber acts more to add size and soft mass to your stools, which can turn normally hard little bowel movements into large, soft, easy to pass ones.

The hard truth of most people’s diet, though, is a lack of any kind of fiber. Americans on average, for instance, only take in 5 to 14 grams a day. The recommended amount, by comparison, is 20 to 35 grams.

To flush those hard stools out of your system, you need to get closer to that target fiber intake. Your first course of action should be a trip to the grocer. Buy as many fruits and vegetables as your refrigerator can handle. They are loaded with fiber.

The recommended amount is 5 to 7 every day. Some great fiber-filled choices include:

  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Broccoli
  • Berries
  • Sprouts
  • Figs
  • Pears
  • Cauliflower
  • Green peas
  • Prunes
  • Brussels
  • Carrots
  • Beans

Your next step is to check your cupboard. Toss out all reprocessed wheat products, including any white bread, white rice, and sugary cereals.

Of course, take your time with these diet changes. It will take some time for your body to build up a tolerance for fiber. So add 5 grams of new fiber to your diet per week until you reach the goal of 20 to 35 grams a day. In no time, your digestive system will perform like clockwork!

Digestive Health > > Exorcising the Demon of Digestive Health: Constipation