Constipation – How to Keep Your Bowels Moving

What is constipation?

Constipation is when you have a lower than average bowel movement, usually less than 3 times a week and the stools are usually small, dry and hard. If you suffer from this problem like I have done in the past you may experience various symptoms which can include dihydrocodeine feeling bloated, sluggishness and bowel movements which are quite uncomfortable.

It is the colon which is at the heart of the problem with this condition. The colon exists to remove water from waste material as it passes from the small intestine into the colon. It serves as a waste material storage place. It helps to move and expel stools from the body. Therefore, constipation can occur if the colon removes too much water causing hard and dry stools, the stool moves slower through the colon or the sufferer is unable to expel the stool even though they feel they need to.

Constipation should be treated when it occurs to reduce abdominal discomfort and other related symptoms so that complications do not occur which could lead to serious problems such as hemorrhoid or fecal impaction. Believe me, it can be very painful if you suffer from haemorrhoids and you develop constipation.

Who suffers from constipation?

Of all the gastrointestinal complaints in North America, Constipation is the most common with over 4.5 million US citizens suffering with it on a regular basis resulting in a staggering 2.5 million visits to the physician every year.

Usually most sufferers are women, especially during pregnancy and following childbirth, children and adults aged 65 and over. However, most of us will suffer from constipation occasionally during some part of our lives to some degree, although it will not be prolonged or serious enough to consult a physician and can usually be corrected by simple treatments, a high fiber diet or laxatives.

Prevention is better than cure.

So how do we avoid becoming constipated in the first place? The simple answer is diet. By putting the right foodstuffs into your mouth at one end, the right consistency of end product will come out the other end!

Fiber.
Although people are now more familiar with the idea of a diet containing more fiber, generally we still do not eat enough. Its not as if fiber is a rare foodstuff. The best fiber is simply fresh fruit and vegetables and certain breakfast cereals. Raw fruit and vegetables are best.

Fluids.
Drinking plenty of fluids can be beneficial in many ways but certainly it helps in the prevention of constipation. About 3 liters a day of water and other fluids. Avoid tea and coffee however, as these have a dehydrating effect.

Exercise.
Doing some form of exercise in which you may be bending or stretching can help bowel movements sufficiently to keep things ‘flowing’. If YOU are not very active your bowel and internal organs will not be either.

I have personally suffered from constipation in the past but now stick to a healthy diet and go for brisk walks everyday. This has definitely made a difference to me and has improved my lifestyle. I hope this article has been of use to you. It is not an in depth piece but an overview of the problems associated with constipation and how to avoid them.

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