Constipation is a condition that can result from a number of factors. They can be related to another medical condition, to certain lifestyle choices, to the type of diet a person is using or medications he or she is taking. It cal also arise from changes in the daily routine or from certain psychological issues. Whatever the reason is, constipation can be defined as the lack of bowel movement for at least three consecutive days.
In constipation, the bowel movements are irregular and the stool is hard, small and difficult to pass. Ideally, everyone should have bowel movements two or three times a day. However, this is very rare and having only one trip to the bathroom per day is also considered normal. Anything less than that can be a sign of constipation, especially if the stool is hard and dry.
Here are the three most effective ways to relieve constipation.
The type of diet a person uses is probably the most important factor for constipation. Certain foods are known for causing or aggravating it, while others can be quite effective in relieving it. Eating the right amount of the right kind of foods can be vital in treatment of constipation. The most important thing is to include as much dietary fiber in the diet as possible.
Dietary fiber can come from fresh fruit and vegetables or from whole grain products like cereals, bread, pasta and similar. Some of the best foods for constipation are bananas, apples, prunes, prune juice, cabbage, carrots and asparagus. However, the fiber alone cannot do much against constipation, unless it is coupled with ample amounts of water.
Foods to avoid include those with little or no fiber, like dairy products, meat, processed foods and fast food.
Lifestyle changes that can lead to solution of constipation problems include physical activity and exercise, reserving some time for bowel movement each day and resting for at least 15 minutes after each meal in order to allow proper digestion.
It is well known that exercise promotes the regularity of bowel movements. This does not necessarily mean strenuous workouts, it can merely be a nice walk or a bicycle ride.
Each person should reserve 15 minutes or more each day, preferably in the morning, for bowel movements, even though they are lacking. This soothes and stimulates the digestive system.
Sometimes constipation becomes a big problem for a person suffering from it. It can be very frustrating, and also unhealthy, to miss bowel movements for several days. In those situations, it is allowed to use laxatives, but only after consulting a doctor. Laxatives can be harsh for the colon and they even cause addiction. For this reason, they should only be used if the constipation is chronic or prolonged and if nothing else seems to help.