If you’ve been having problems with your bowel movement lately and you’re not “going” as often as you should, don’t feel embarrassed. This is a common problem that most people experience. Constipation is so common that in the United States alone about 4 million people regularly deal with constipation.
According to surveys, women are the most recurrent sufferers of constipation. This may have something to do with the slower movement of food in women’s intestines. Experts also believe that the effects of female hormones on the gastrointestinal tract also have something to do with it.
Facts about Constipation
Constipation is usually because there is not enough water in the stool. This occurs when too much fluid is absorbed in the intestines for some reason. When the stool is too dry and hard, it becomes very difficult to pass. However, the definition of constipation can be different from one case to another. Some people naturally have bowel movements daily, while others go just a couple of times a week. Treatment for constipation is not necessary unless you’re having bowel movements less often than normal.
The best way to relieve constipation is by getting enough fiber daily. This will make your stool softer and bulkier so it is easier to pass. Remember to gradually increase fiber intake until you’re getting around 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily. The best sources of fiber for constipation relief are vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains (bread, brown rice, cereals, etc.).
If you can’t get enough fiber daily from the food you eat, you can also use fiber supplements like those made with psyllium husk. There are also fiber supplements that come in ready-to-drink and capsule form. Reaching your daily recommended intake of fiber is as easy as finding the right dietary supplement. Even doctors are prescribing these supplements to patients who are suffering from constipation.
Other Things You Can Do
For constipation relief, you also need to limit foods high in fat like processed food, meat and dairy products. Studies suggest that these foods can worsen constipation. Also, water is important in the prevention of constipation. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water daily. Your water intake should increase when you sweat more like when you exercise or are exposed to heat for prolonged periods. Exercising regularly can also help keep your bowels moving.
Laxatives shouldn’t be your first constipation relief method. Only use laxatives when fiber and water intake doesn’t help with your problem. Also, it would be best to consult your doctor before using laxatives since this can be dangerous. This treatment option should only be used short-term. You should never rely on laxative to go to the bathroom regularly.