Constipation is a very common problem that does not necessarily have to be associated with an underlying medical issue, although sometimes it is. Constipation can be defined as irregular bowel movements, three or less times a week, with small, hard and dry stool that is very hard to pass. This causes discomfort, bloating, sometimes pain, as well as frustration and anxiety.
Possible causes of constipation
Causes of constipation can range from dietary habits and lifestyle to certain medical conditions. It can be caused by the lack of fiber and fluids in the diet or by certain foods, as well as medications. Inadequate physical activity is another common cause.
Changes in routine, such as travel, often lead to this problem, but in that case constipation is fairly easily solved.
Constipation is very common during pregnancy and sometimes even after the childbirth. It is also commonly observed in elderly people.
As for the medical causes, constipation often accompanies irritable bowel syndrome, problems with colon and rectum, multiple sclerosis, lupus and problems with intestinal functions, such as chronic idiopatic constipation.
Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement and chronic abuse of laxatives also lead to constipation.
How to relieve constipation
Since this problem is related to the gastrointestinal tract, the solution often lies in the diet. People who suffer from constipation should increase the intake of dietary fiber, and it is very important to accompany it with plenty of water, otherwise the effect may be opposite. Natural juices, fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and bran are the best dietary choice for people who suffer from constipation.
Exercise and physical activity are also very important as they stimulate the proper functioning of the bowel. It is also very important to not ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. This can be hard in certain situations, for example at the workplace, during travels and similar, but if it continues for a longer period, it can aggravate the problem and lead to chronic constipation, which is much harder to overcome.
Laxatives are recommended for people who frequently suffer from constipation or who have not had bowel movements for a long period. It is recommended to be cautious with laxatives because they can be harsh for the body and they can even be addictive.
Natural laxatives like prune juice are a better choice than the pharmacological ones, because they have less or no side effects and they offer other health benefits as well.