Constipation and Bloating

Constipation and BloatingWhat is Constipation?

Constipation is a condition where a person would have less than three bowel movements in one week and often characterized by small hard stools. This is not considered as a disease and is more regarded as a symptom since everyone would be able to experience it at a point in their life. There are some people who think that if they do not have any bowel movement in a day, then they are already constipated. However, this is not true since normal stool elimination could happen three times a week, or for others, three times a day. It would always depend on the person. As long as you are able to have a bowel movement at least three times in one week, or more, then you are not constipated.

 

Causes of Constipation

There are many causes of constipation. Usually, the factors would include diet and lifestyle. But you would find that most of the causes of the said condition has something to do with the food that you eat.

The following are the common causes of constipation:

  • Low fibre-levels in the diet. Those who do not get enough fibre in their diet are more likely to get constipated. Fibres help stools to pass, which contributes to ease in bowel movement.
  • Milk and dairy products. Studies have shown that cow’s milk triggers constipation, especially in infants.
  • Medications. Some medications that were known to cause constipation are antacids that contain calcium and aluminum, blood pressure medications, iron supplements, antidepressants, anti-Parkinson’s drugs, antispasmodics, and most especially pain medications such as narcotics.
  • Not enough liquids. This helps in making the stool pass easier.
  • Lack of physical activity. This has been shown to cause constipation although a lot of doctors could not pinpoint the exact reason why. For instance, those who are sick or suffered from an accident and get to stay in bed all day are likely to get constipated.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). One of the characteristics of this condition is constipation.
  • Dehydration. When you do not have enough water from your body, then you are most likely to get constipated.
  • Not having a bowel movement at the time that the urge to do so is felt. Once you ignore the urge for bowel movement, you would eventually not feel the urge anymore, which could lead to constipation.
  • Life changes like aging, pregnancy, or travel. During pregnancy, women may get constipated due to hormonal changes.
  • Abusing the use of laxatives. Laxatives may become habit forming, making you dependent on them for bowel movement; hence, it would no longer occur naturally.

 

Remedies, Treatment and Cure for Constipation

Basically, constipation has got a lot to do with the food that you eat, and on special cases, it also results to hormonal changes and appears as an effect of certain diseases. Hence, eating the right kind of food and leading a healthy lifestyle could help in treating constipation.

Foods to Avoid

  • Animal products, most especially red meat. These foods have a long transit time when moving through the bowel. They should only be eaten in moderation.
  • Milk. Some people do not have the right enzyme to break down the lactose found in milk, which also leads to constipation. This is very common with African and Caribbean people.
  • Dairy products. These foods are mucus forming, which actually adds to the plaque that is found in the intestines. Goat’s milk, oats, and organic rice are more tolerated by the intestines.
  • Refined sugars. Try to avoid biscuits, cakes, highly processed foods, and desserts that ferment in the gut, which causes bloating, destroying healthy bacteria in the process. These healthy bacteria help in breaking down digested food, without which digestion is also impaired.
  • Pastries and flour-based foods. They make a gooey paste when mixed with water, and creates the same effect in the bowels.
  • Jelly, ice cream, soft desserts, refined breakfast cereals, and other foods with low-fibre content.
  • Cow’s milk. This gives intolerance and has been known to cause constipation in infants.
  • Full fat cheese and melted cheese. These sets in the bowel like plastics, which could lead to constipation.

Friendly Foods

  • Bran. This is an insoluble fibre that comes from soya, rice, or oats, and can help in stimulating the bowl to work properly. Wheat bran is also okay but if you have intolerance to wheat, it could worsen the problem.
  • Black eyed beans, haricot, kidney, butter, cannelloni, and more brown rice.
  • Linseed or flax seeds help in moving the stool gently through the bowel.
  • Whole wheat rye bread, oatcakes, and amaranth crackers can be good alternatives to wheat bread.
  • Fresh and dried figs, almonds, ready to eat dried apricots, blackcurrant, prunes, fresh coconut milk, and all mixed nuts are considered as high-fibre foods that could aid constipation.
  • Lightly cooked and raw vegetables can give you more fibre.
  • Low-fat yoghurt. These contain live healthy bacteria that can help easing constipation.
  • Make sure that you drink a minimum of 6 glasses of water daily.

Useful Remedies

  • Try using good quality organic green powder (1 – 2 tsp daily) like Gillian McKeith’s Living Food Energy Powder. This is a blend of nutrients and fibres that could help in improving bowel function and digestion.
  • Acidophilus and Bifidus. These healthy bacteria help in aiding the bowels and could be taken after meals, especially if constipation only started right after using antibiotics.
  • Vitamin C powder (1 level tsp, taken 2 – 3 times a day). Take for a few days, and choose those with added calcium and magnesium so that the frequency of bowel movement could increase.
  • Fruits and vegetables. Replace one meal a day with these high fibre foods to help eliminate constipation.
  • Aloe ferox crystals. This is a super concentrated aloe vera that has a probiotic effect and acts as a natural digestive enzyme. This encourages regular bowel movements.

More Helpful Hints

  • Squatting is a more natural position for the large intestine and encourages bowel movements.
  • Remember that overusing laxatives could make the bowel lazy.
  • Eliminate things that cause your constipation.
  • Do not try to bear down too much during bowel movements since this puts a strain on your vascular system and could actually lead to haemorrhoids and varicose veins over time.
  • Try to go for a leisurely walk after meals instead of sleeping.
  • According to the Chinese, walking between 5am – 7am helps the colon to work better.
  • A pint of fluid taken between meals could help in moving the waste successfully and could lead to healthy bowel movements.
  • Do not get stressed. This could slow down the movements in the intestines.
  • When you add more fibre to your diet and your body is not yet used to it, make sure that you drink plenty of fluids as well.
  • Take vitamins that contain folic acid. Lack of folic acid has been found to be the cause of constipation of most elderly people.
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