Understanding and dealing with constipation

By April 21, 2021 Health & Nutrition

Sourced with thanks from timesofindia.indiatimes.com

It’s probably one of the most common health ailments that people go through. And it tends to be more common and more pronounced in older people. Constipation. The causes of constipation and varied but the discomfort and after effects are still the same. In the article below the author throws some more light on constipation and how to deal with it. Team RetyrSmart

Understanding and dealing with constipation

How constipation affects your body and what you can do

As per a health survey conducted in 2018, around 22 per cent of Indian adults suffer from constipation. The prevalence of constipation was seen higher in metro cities. And the problem is not just restricted to elders but is also seen among youth and middle aged people, which makes it a matter of concern.

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What is constipation?

When the waste product moves slowly through the large intestine, it leads to constipation. This means the bowel movements are irregular and less frequent.

Regular and irregular bowel movements

As per clinical definition, if you have less than three bowel movements per week, you are suffering from constipation. But this one definition doesn’t fit all as the frequency of bowel movement varies greatly. While some people might have one-two bowel movements a day, others might only have four bowel movements a week.

Thus experts say, when one’s bowel movement varies from their normal routine or the stool is hard and requires straining, it can be called constipation.

What happens when you are constipated?

Let’s start with a basic understanding of digestion. Food and drink enter the digestive tract and begin their progression through the esophagus to the stomach once swallowed. Then the gastric juices and enzymes in the stomach start the digestive process until the content moves to the small intestine. In the small intestine, the enzymes finish the process so that nutrient absorption can happen.

The partially digested food left, travels to the large intestine or colon and is the waste product. When it travels from the large intestine to the rectum, the water from it gets absorbed.

What causes constipation?

Constipation is the problem that occurs in the large intestine and it happens when the waste product travels slower than normal due to sluggish muscles in the intestinal lining. The extra time allows better absorption of nutrients and water and makes the stool hard and dry. Some medication and conditions like pregnancy can cause intestinal muscles to contract slower and less forcefully and contribute to constipation.

But other common conditions that affect the bowel movement include physical activity, fibre intake and hydration status. Here is the role of all three activities and how you can incorporate them to avoid the problem of constipation.

Staying active

When you move your body, it helps to move the food through the intestines. Physical activity leads to increased heart rate and blood flow, which can help stimulate intestinal muscles. Thus, regular exercise is a good way to maintain your bowel movements.

Sedentary behaviours contribute to sluggish intestinal transit. If you don’t like working out, you can simply go for a walk, clean the house or climb stairs multiple times.

Eat plenty of fibre

Fibre adds bulk to your waste, which stimulates contractions in the intestinal walls to keep things moving.

An easy way to incorporate more fibre in the diet is by eating more vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains and nuts. But do not overdo fibre, as that can backfire can lead to constipation.

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is of utmost importance for the smooth functioning of the body. Having enough water also helps prevent constipation. Sometimes even mild dehydration can impact the water balance of the body and digestive secretion which can lead to a harder waste product when it enters the large intestine. Try to drink at least 4-5 litres of water every day.

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