Constipation is difficulty passing stool and may occur due to the foods that people eat or avoid. Constipation also depends on person’s lifestyle, medication they are taking or other such factors. When a person passes stool fewer than three times a week, passes hard, dry or lumpy stools or when the person is having difficulty or pain while passing stool, the person is said to be constipated.
Constipation affects physical and mental health of the person. Physically, pain in abdomen and problems with digestion may occur. This causes the person to avoid social situations fearing urge to pass stool during the gatherings.
There are many simple ways to beat constipation and can be followed right at home. Some of them are mentioned here.
Water helps in the smooth movements of digestive waste along the whole digestive tract. This is specially required when the digestive waste is being moved in the large intestine. The walls of the large intestine reabsorb the water when there is scarcity of water in the body. Thus by drinking more water, the bowel movements occur smoothly, eliminating constipation. Drinking carbonated drinks like soda is not recommended as they are known to make constipation worse, especially in people with irritable bowel syndrome.
Fiber is not digested and is eliminated from the body via the large intestine. Most of the times, fiber intake increases the bulk and consistency of the digestive waste that turns into stool. The combination of fiber and water can help in easy and smooth movements of the waste through the intestine and out of the body. Among the fiber, soluble fiber and insoluble fermented fiber helps in relieving constipation. Soluble fibers are present in oat bran, barley, nuts, beans, lentils, etc. and help in absorption of water to form a gel-like paste to soften the stools and improves consistency. Insoluble fiber is present in wheat bran, vegetables and whole grains and they help in adding bulk to the stools so that they can be passed easily.
People with sedentary lifestyles have been found to have increased risk of constipation. Moderate exercise helps in better functioning of the digestive system and is known to improve constipation.
Caffeine in coffee is known to stimulate the digestive muscles to help in better bowel movement.
Probiotics are live, friendly bacteria that naturally occur in the gut. Bacteria in the gut help in digestion of food and thereby creating waste to eliminate.
Certain foods, fruits and vegetables are known to relieve constipation effectively. Some of them are:
Constipation may be a common problem and occur without any particular reason at all. If the condition does not get better with home remedies, especially drinking enough water and eating fibrous foods, it is good to consult a physician.