Most of us know what it is like to have experienced that unpleasant condition, constipation of the bowels, at some time in our lives. It’s a real pain in the butt! It seems to be more common nowadays than it used to be, as modern lifestyles are partly to blame. Fast food, takeaways and unhealthy processed foods feature largely in the diets of so many people these days, besides a large caffeine intake, which is dehydrating. In addition stress can play its part in contributing to this condition, which is another feature of the fast-paced modern world. Constipation is not just unpleasant and painful, but it can also be potentially very serious, as it can lead to deadly diseases such as cancer of the bowel, if one suffers from it frequently. So it is important to maintain optimum regularity, for good health. Here is some advice on how to do just that:
1) First and foremost, eat plenty of fibre. Insoluble fibre passes through the body unchanged, bulks out stools and softens them. Foods high in this kind of healthy insoluble fibre include: wholegrains and fruits and vegetables.
2) Make sure you drink enough fluids, and in particular water (drinking plenty of water has numerous health benefits generally). This will make bowel movements easier to pass.
3) Limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeine-containing drinks. They can be dehydrating, and consequently make your stools harder and more difficult to pass.
4) It’s worth trying alternative therapies : biofeedback therapy may help with constipation resulting from pelvic floor dysfunction.
5) Another therapy worth trying is acupressure , a simple home remedy that may work. It involves finger pressure to specific acupuncture points. A point that is often recommended for constipation is Large Intestine 4. Do not use this acupressure point if you are pregnant.
6) A deficiency of the essential mineral magnesium may contribute to constipation. Magnesium is found naturally in fresh green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and wholegrains, and in supplements (which is another reason why vegetables and wholegrains are essential for good bowel health, not just because of the fibre they contain).
7) Get active! Make sure you engage in regular physical activity, as a lack of exercise can lead to constipation.
8) Don’t put off what needs to be done. The longer you delay, the more fluid is absorbed from the stool back into the large intestine, and the harder it becomes to pass a bowel movement.
9) Probiotic supplements may help deal with constipation (particularly live yoghurts).
10) Laxatives may help in the short-term, but use with care. Herbal laxatives include: rhubarb, aloe and senna. Also syrup of figs is usually very effective.
I hope you found this article helpful and your votes and comments are much appreciated.
Picture courtesy of www.ocih.co.uk