Being constipated can make life miserable causing you to feel bloated, irritable, have tummy aches and headaches. Almost everyone goes through it at some point.
How often you poop varies widely from person to person. Some people might go up to three times a day, while others only a few times a week. You are constipated if you have less than three bowel movements per week. After 3 days, your poop gets harder making it more difficult to pass. You have severe constipation if you have fewer than one bowel movement a week.
What Causes Constipation?
Constipation occurs when the colon absorbs too much water. This can happen if the muscles in the colon are contracting poorly, causing the stool to move too slowly and lose more water.
Some causes of constipation include:
- Changes in what you eat or your activities
- Not enough water or fiber in your diet
- Eating a lot of dairy products: some people become constipated when they consume milk and dairy products.
- Physical inactivity: moving your body helps move your bowels, so too much time sitting can lead to constipation.
- Ignoring the urge to poop: whether you’re too busy or don’t like using public restrooms, the problem with ignoring the urge is sooner or later, you may stop feeling the urge.
- Stress: the digestive system is especially sensitive to stress, and constipation can be one response.
- Overuse of laxatives: laxatives can be habit forming, gradually you will need to increase the dose until they no longer work.
- Aging: as we age we tend to become more sedentary, eat and drink less, and take in much less fiber in our daily diet, all of which can cause constipation.
- Medications: some pain relievers, iron and calcium supplements, antacids antidepressants, and diuretics are just a few of the drugs that can cause constipation.
- Traveling: can disrupt your regular routine, and eating patterns, causing constipation.
- Pregnancy: brings about hormonal changes that can easily throw off your digestive system. Add to that the pressure of a growing baby on the intestine, slowing down the passage of food. Problems with pooping are also common after childbirth.
- Medical conditions: such as parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and hypothyroidism
Natural Remedies to Tackle Constipation
With a few lifestyle changes you can tackle constipation without medications.
Follow these tips to find relief:
- Increase fiber intake: People with constipation should eat between 18 and 30 grams of fiber every day. Fresh fruits and vegetables and fortified cereals have high fiber content.
- Drinking water: Consuming lots of water can help to rehydrate the body.
- Bulking agents: Adding these to your diet can help soften stools and make them easier to pass. Examples of bulking agents include wheat bran.
- Regular exercise: This can help to make bodily processes more regular, including the passing of stools.
- Routine: Having a place and time of day where you can put aside time to visit the bathroom without forcing a stool.
- Avoiding holding in stools: Responding to your body’s natural urges to pass stools when they happen is key to reducing the impact of constipation.
- Elevate your feet: Place your feet short platform, such as a step, and make sure the knees are above hip-level while passing stools. This can reduce constipation.