Lack of dietary fiber. Fiber is what bulks up the stool and makes it easier to pass. Without adequate fiber, stools dry up and become hard, making them much more difficult to pass. Fiber is highest in fruits and vegetables, especially when uncooked or otherwise altered.
Lack of water. Water, in conjunction with fiber, is another bulking agent. If you get plenty of fiber but not enough water, you might still have constipation trouble. Similarly, if you get plenty of water but almost no fiber, you won’t get results either. Sufficient quantities of fiber and water have to be digested before constipation can clear up.
Insufficient exercise. While the role of exercise in constipation is controversial, there is no gainsaying the fact that you are healthier when you exercise than when you don’t. Thus, if you exercise regularly, you will increase your body’s capacity to deal with a host of medical conditions. Also, some experts argue that the movements caused in the colon while exercising “massages” the fecal matter and makes it easier to pass.
Treating Constipation: Diving Into the Heart of the Matter
If you lack fiber, water, or exercise in your life, then it must come as no surprise that you are constipated. To treat your condition, you must first alter your lifestyle. If you don’t eat fruits or vegetables, start doing so. If you drink a minimal amount of water, start drinking more. If you don’t get regular exercise, make sure that you do from now on.
Treating Constipation through lifestyle change:
- Drink more water, 3 liters a day
- Eat veggetables at least one day per week
- Eat fruits to get your bowel moving
- Daily exercises for min 10 Minutes
- Watch what and how you eat, garbage in means garbage out
Of course, in some cases, people are either unable or unwilling to make the lifestyle changes, or they might find that the foregoing methods simply don’t work. This may happen when the constipation has persisted for a significant period of time. In this case, laxatives may be used, thought they must be used cautiously.
Laxatives like docusate or bisacodyl are well known, and are available in a variety of pills, liquids, and powders. However, they should not be depended on to produce regular bowel movement. If laxatives are used consecutively for more than two weeks, unpleasant side effects may arise. The chemicals in the laxatives may ultimately contribute to the constipation itself, as it weakens the muscles of the bowel with prolonged use.
In extreme cases, enemas may be used, or surgery. Both are usually resorted to when other techniques have not produced the desired effect. A behavioral technique, called biofeedback, has also enjoyed some limited success. In essence, biofeedback fine-tunes a person’s control over his body, including the muscles in the bowel.
In many ways, preventing constipation and treating it are very interrelated. The best way to treat constipation, of course, is to prevent it from happening in the first place. By eating high-fiber foods, drinking plenty or water, and getting the proper amount of exercise, you can prevent constipation from happening in the first place.
Related Article: Treatment Options for Constipation