A few years ago, it would have been considered impolite to discuss subjects like constipation in public. However, as I write this article, playing on the television in the background is a commercial about the laxative Ducalax. While I am surprised to see these commercials, I am as equally surprised to discover some of the lesser known causes of constipation.
Constipation is the condition of bowels where the feces are dry and hardened and bowel evacuation is typically three times or fewer per week and difficult. The most common cause of constipation is not eating enough fiber or drinking enough water. Seven causes of constipation that may not be widely known are:
Side effects of medications
One of the most controversial commercials of Super Bowl 50 was one about a middle-aged man who was constipated. The drug company created the ad to bring awareness to the condition known as opioid-induced constipation. Some people were upset because the ad focused on constipation and not drug addiction. The Super Bowl commercial highlights the problem with certain medications and constipation. Some of the medicines are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), narcotics, antacids containing aluminum and calcium carbonate. Others include antidepressants, sedatives, iron supplements, diuretics, and calcium-channel blockers.
Today, it appears that no longer is the case as we watch hilarious television commercials about Fiber One where the main character is a pregnant man who is expecting to deliver soon. The commercial seems to make an unspoken comparison between the delivery of a baby and the delivery of food through the digestive system. Of course, male pregnancy as depicted in the Fiber One commercial is not possible, but hormonal changes and the weight of the uterus pushing on the intestine of a pregnant woman can cause constipation. Women should discuss this problem with their doctors if the problem persists.
Using too many laxatives
Laxatives are taken to help relieve the symptoms of constipation, but may cause constipation if taken for long periods of time. Over a period, the body could build of a tolerance for the laxative and it does have the same effect.
Travel or other change in daily routine
When a person travels they don’t normally stick to their regular routines. The changes in diet and that daily routine can contribute to constipation.
Lack of exercise
Exercise affects our ability to maintain good health in many ways. When a person exercises for at least 30 minutes a day, it causes the stimulation of the intestines, which can help with maintaining regular bowel movements.
There are many people who are too embarrassed or afraid use a public restroom. Therefore, they ignore or resist the urge to have a bowel movement. Withholding the stool can lead to constipation.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). Irritable bowel syndrome commonly causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation.
The Super Bowl commercial and others highlight some of the surprising lesser known causes of constipation. Constipation is not just caused due to a lack of fiber in a person’s diet. The next time you are feeling bloated, stopped up and unable to get relief from eliminating waste, consider that it may be due to constipation caused by one of these seven lesser known reasons.
There are a lot of inexpensive food options that can help relieve the embarrassment and discomfort of constipation. Spinach, green beans, and other high water content foods help you to pass stool. Choose foods that have a lot of fiber, and high water content. The colon operates by absorbing nutrients and water, leaving the waste behind for you to pass. If you do not eat enough foods with fiber or water content, you may soon become a little constipated.
Oatmeal is a fantastic food that you can eat at breakfast. It has a high fiber content which will add bulk to your stools, and make things move a little bit easier in your colon. A bonus is if you eat some ground flaxseed, which pairs nicely with oatmeal. Flaxseed helps relieve constipation and offers high fiber and nutrition. Make sure that you only ingest ground flaxseed, as whole seeds will pass through the body, without being absorbed. If you are not into cereal, there are many fruit options as well.
Prunes are a staple that many giggle at. Many people may be filled with dread because they have memories of old people fussing at them to eat the wrinkly fruit because they are chock full of fiber. Grandma and Grandpa were right, as one prune contains 1 gram of fiber apiece, which is a whole lot! Eating prunes bulks up your stools, give you healthy doses of fiber, and will help bring constipation to a much-needed end. If you are not into prunes you can opt to have some kiwi fruit. Kiwi is low in sugar and has just enough desirable fiber, to help end the constipation blues.
Make sure to drink enough water, or enjoy a good cup of coffee with your prunes, or other breakfast fruit item, as both encourage constipation relief. A lot of times, just being dehydrated is enough to make our bodies develop a state of constipation. The Aloe Vera plant is packed with healing aid to the body, and the juice can be ingested, to help get rid of stubborn constipation. Typically, people will tell you to avoid dairy, because that can bring on constipation. However, eating yogurt helps regulate your intestines and clean out your colon because of its friendly bacteria. There is no need to suffer with constipation when there are plenty of helpful food options to save the day.
After eating, sometimes the uncomfortable full or tight feeling is not just the food itself. There are also a lot of digestive gasses involved in this bloating including carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, methane, or sulfur. This does not always occur; it largely depends on how much we eat and what we eat. When it does occur, the only ways to get rid of it is by releasing these digestive gasses via burping or farting. Although these things can be embarrassing in social situations, staying bloated is both uncomfortable, can be embarrassing in itself, and can get unhealthy.
One way to avoid it is knowing your own personal trigger foods that usually result in bloating. But that is not the only precautionary measure to take. There are others. First, eat everything in moderation. Eating too much of anything can give you bloating. Two, eat slowly since eating quickly causes you to swallow more gas-producing air. Three, opt for low-fat, non-greasy foods when it is available. This is also good for just staying healthy and losing extra pounds. Four, avoid too much high fiber food. Although fiber is actually a very good thing for physical health and definitely should remain a part of your diet, too much often triggers bloating.
This is largely because the small intestine is unable to digest fiber and creates extra gasses in the effort. So if you are eating something with fiber-which is a very good thing-just make sure not to overdo it Five, avoid sugary deserts, drinks, and snacks. Like fiber, sugar foods have difficulty being digested and the intense effort results in lots of gas. However, unlike fiber, sugary foods aren’t necessary and can be very unhealthy anyway. Six, it might be a good idea to partake of some of the available over-the-counter bloating-reducing medications like Beano, Gas-X, or Mylanta Gas.
However, sometimes none of this stuff will not work one bit if the bloating problem has nothing to do with food. Sometimes it can take place due to menstrual changes or a medical problem such as colon cancer, bowel obstruction, irritable bowel syndrome, or any number of any other physical maladies. That is why if you are experiencing bloating suddenly nearly all of the time, you should get a doctor involved ASAP. If the bloating is accompanied by abdominal pain, blood in your stools, diarrhea, or vomiting, don’t wait to see if the bloating lingers. Contact your doctor immediately. Bloating can also be induced by smoking. If you are seeking to reduce bloating episodes and are a smoker, do what you can by stopping this bad habit.
The human body needs many things to stay in optimal health. What you consume into your body may be the most important factor to staying healthy for a long time. There are countless vitamins and minerals that support a healthy body. This article is going to focus on something that is very important but is often forgotten: fiber!
What is Fiber and How Does It Work?
There are two types of fiber that the body can use. Those two types are soluble and insoluble.
Soluble Fiber is fiber that can be absorbed into the body, similar to how the body absorbs other vitamins. Soluble fiber is found in foods such as bread, oats and unripe bananas. This fiber helps to stabilize blood glucose levels, normalize insulin levels, and can lower blood cholesterol.
Insoluble Fiber is fiber that cannot be absorbed into your body. Instead of doing its work in your bloodstream, insoluble fiber stays in your intestines. As it travels through the curves of your intestinal track, it pushes and pulls solid materials through your body and pushes it out through your colon. The result is regular bowel movements, no constipation and better absorption of other vitamins and minerals.
High Fiber Foods
The easiest way to get fiber into your body is through the foods that you consume. Here are the top 3 fiber rich foods:
1. Beans- A good combination of soluble and insoluble fiber, beans are good for your heart and good for your digestive system.
2. Strawberries- These juicy berries contain lots of vitamins on the inside of the fruit. On the outside, plenty of fiber can be found in the hundreds of tiny seeds that each strawberry has.
3. Bran Cereal- Take one look at bran cereal and you can see how it would help to keep your digestive system regular. Buying cereals fortified with other minerals will boost the health benefits that can be gathered from each bowl.
For an added boost of fiber, powdered fiber supplements are available that can be mixed into drinks and smoothies.
Beware of Too Much Fiber
Even good things can be detrimental if you consume too much of them. Consuming too much fiber can result in bloating, constipation, and loose stools. Experiencing loose stools means that your food did not get enough time to digest before your fiber intake pushed it out.
Feeling bloated and/or constipated usually indicates dehydration. Luckily, an easy remedy is to drink more water!
Individuals using antidepressants may become constipated. When constipation is present it means that bowel movements are difficult or are less frequent than normal. Though what is considered to be normal could vary, many individuals may have a bowel movement as many as three times per day. However, if the length of time stretches between bowel movements, it can be very uncomfortable. In intense cases, individuals might experience fecal impaction, which means a hard mass of bowel remains and can’t be passed.
Constipation can be a regular reaction of tricyclic antidepressants that blocks the process of the neurotransmitter. When the neurotransmitters are blocked, muscular contractions that push waste through our digestive system are lessened and intestinal secretions that lubricates the passage of bowel becomes drier, resulting in constipation. Though constipation is a little less likely with some of the most recent medications like SSRIs (which stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) there’s still a possibility that you might experience constipation with these also.
When constipation is present, you may experience symptoms like:
– Hard or small stools
– A feeling of not completely emptying your bowels
– Straining during bowel movements
– Painful or swollen abdomen
If experiencing faecal impaction subsequent to long term constipation, you might start to have additional symptoms like:
– Rectal bleeding
– Cramping or bloating
– Leakage or watery diarrhea
– Loss of bladder control
– Dizziness when straining
– Pain in lower back
Here are a few tips to help relieve constipation due to taking antidepressants:
– Drink lots of water
– Exercise regularly
– Consume foods high in fibre, like vegetables, whole grains and fruit
– Take a fibre supplement
– Give some thought into take a stool softener or laxative
If you’re experiencing chronic constipation that’s not relieved with self help remedies, it’s important to talk with your doctor for a medical opinion. It is possible for faecal impaction to occur with long term constipation and it could potentially pose serious complications, including tissue death or tearing in the rectum.
If you’ve already become impacted, your physician will perform the necessary steps to relieve you of the impacted stool. It can be accomplished with use of warm enemas which can soften the stool. Surgery is rarely needed to remove impaction.
Individuals who have experienced faecal impaction may also need to go through a bowel re-training program, which will probably include fibre supplements, stool softeners, change in diet, special exercises and other methods.
Being constipated is easily one of the most uncomfortable feelings that you will ever have to endure. Fortunately, you can usually take care of the situation by doing simple things like getting enough exercise or even drinking more water. However, if you have more of a chronic issue with constipation it might be time to speak to a medical professional about the condition. You might also be looking for other, all natural ways to treat it.
You have undoubtedly heard of taking fibre supplements in order to relieve constipation, but have you heard of using baking soda for constipation? Most people realize that they can mix baking soda and water together when they have indigestion as an effective natural treatment but fewer individuals realize that this is also an effective treatment for constipation in the absence of fibre supplements. In some cases it is used in conjunction with these supplements and other treatments.
Some people also use baking soda to relieve pain in the rectal area by bathing in a mixture of warm water and baking soda. If you have hemorrhoids as a direct result of chronic constipation, you might be using both of these treatments at the same time. Of course, you should not automatically assume that you can take as much as you want just because it is an all natural treatment. If you take too much, it can cause a whole host of health problems just like taking too much of virtually anything else can.
Generally speaking, baking soda and water is a safe treatment for constipation but if you have any doubt, you should speak with a healthcare professional in order to clear up the questions or concerns you might have. Other than that, as long as you take it in moderation you should not expect to have a lot of problems but if you don’t feel right after taking it, stop doing so immediately. If you notice that you are having a lot of muscle spasms or severe cramps, it might be a sign that you are taking too much so you should back off a little. The next time that you have constipation, why not give this treatment a try and find out if it works for you? You might be pleasantly surprised at the results. This is especially true if you find yourself dealing with constipation several times a week and nothing you have done thus far has provided you with any measurable relief.
Chocolate! One of the world’s most beloved treats. We turn to chocolate when we are happy, when we’re sad, to celebrate different holidays, or even to give to a beloved as a sign of our affection. There’s dark chocolate, white chocolate, chocolate with almonds, and choices galore! Let’s face it, we love chocolate.
However, after indulging in this scrumptious and delicious treat, you may find adverse consequences to pay for your enjoyment, such as constipation. There has been much suspicion and controversy as to whether or not chocolate does indeed cause constipation. There have been studies after studies conducted, without any clear verdict or answer to the question of whether it does or not.
It has been determined that chocolate does not in itself cause constipation, unless you have some other type of underlying problem. These problems could be something such as irritable bowel syndrome. Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, is a problem that affects your lower intestines. It causes cramping, bloating, pain, discomfort, irregular bowel movements, diarrhea and constipation. With this condition, coupled with certain kinds of foods, triggers may occur causing constipation. Within this trigger typed foods, chocolate is one of the culprits. Everyone responds to food differently, but the possible link here may be clear.
Chocolate is a powerful antioxidant and may have other benefits for the human body such as lowering blood pressure, improving circulation, helping clean out your system, and more. However, with people that suffer from underlying problems that they may not even be aware of, the antioxidant full chocolates can trigger an onset of symptoms in IBS, including constipation. This includes also using chocolate in flavorings, such as hot cocoa and chocolate milk.
Today, one in five of all Americans suffer from signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Most do not realize their discomfort is anything unusual and thus do not seek medical help or advice for their symptoms. Among all the studies, the results have actually even revealed that in some people, chocolate helped ease their constipation. So I believe it’s safe to say that it really is a person by person case, as to whether or not chocolate will cause constipation. The only connective dot that seems to rear its head time and again is the link between chocolate consumption and irritable bowel syndrome. It’s also worth noting that the benefits of chocolate come from the dark chocolate, which contains far more antioxidants than it’s semi-sweet or milk counterparts.
Constipation can be a major issue in everyone’s life and put a halt to enjoyable activities, employment, even eating. In this article we will discuss foods that can be eaten to keep the Gastrointestinal (GI) system regular and constipation free.
What is Constipation?
Constipation is difficulty in having a bowel movement or having a BM that is difficult to pass, dry and hard in appearance. Every person’s body is on a different BM schedule, but the golden rule is every person should have a BM every three days to have a normally functioning bowel.
Water is Your New Best Friend
Many people who experience constipation tend to lay off eating and drinking normal quantities of food and beverages. In truth, when one is constipated they need to increase their water consumption.
Water will help soften the BM that is traveling slowly and lubricate the GI system for comfort. Drinking less water will induce constipation, as the GI system takes the water from foods in the colon and returns it to the body for use. Water is the bodies greatest ally in the fight against constipation.
Foods for a Beautiful Colon
The good news for those will chronic constipation is that with proper nutrition and water intake, constipation can be controlled or eliminated for one’s lifestyle. Here are some foods one can utilize for a regular GI system.
High fiber foods- such as raw vegetables, legumes, bran, and multigrain items are great for colon protection as they retain water and soften the stool.
Coffee and Prunes- These two items can chemically trigger a bowel movement to occur. Just remember coffee can be a dehydration agent so following a cup of coffee with a glass of water will keep the colon in top shape.
Fruits and Berries- Raw fruits such as, apples, oranges, grapefruit and berries of any type are also natural fibrous agents that can help trigger more frequent bowel movements and keep the colon soft. Apples are particularly good for constipation as they are an excellent source of fiber.
Flaxseed- Excellent to sprinkle on salads or bake in breads and other dishes, flaxseed has a yummy flavor and is also a wonderful source of fiber. Remember to buy crushed flaxseed and use sparingly. Just a little goes a long way.
Drinking plenty of water and adding natural foods to one’s diet will guarantee a healthy colon and happy body.
Some of most efficient home remedies for gastroenteritis comprise the use of fizzy beverages, simple carbohydrates, liquids, zinc, turmeric, chamomile tea, mint, rice water, yogurt, cinnamon, and ginger.
1. Carbonated beverages
Even though sugar-rich fluids and carbonated fluids are not a good idea for curing the stomach flu, as they can cause stomach upset, carbonated beverages such as sparkling water, soda or ginger ale are perfect alternatives to calm down the upset stomach and sooth your queasiness.
2. Simple carbohydrates
When the bacteria that cause gastroenteritis attack your stomach, you do not want to work too hard to digest food and the important nutrients you require. This explains the reason why several individuals stop eating when they suffer from gastroenteritis, as it appears that everything they consume comes right back up. Nevertheless, consuming simple carbohydrates such as crackers, toast, vegetables, basic fruits and cereals, you can probably have those nutrients assimilated and you will get well quickly.
One of the most crucial tools in the fight against gastroenteritis is already in your body; however, extreme vomiting and diarrhea can compromise that defensive line. Beneficial microorganisms in the guts assist in digesting food and defending your gastrointestinal system from contagions, but violent vomiting and diarrhea always lose that bacterium. Probiotics can be found in high quantities in yogurt, and this is not only soothing to your stomach, but also promotes the growing of beneficial bacteria in your gut to speed up the curative process.
4. Dietary restrictions
The majority of people want comfort foods when they are sick. However, if these foods are in form of caffeine, spicy foods, daily produce, or foods with high-fat content, the outcome is not going to be good, and you will end up feeling more pain in the long run. It is good to stick to simple foods and avoid eating anything that is hard to digest.
5. Chamomile tea
As among the oldest and most trusted medication for upset stomach, chamomile tea is also ideal in curing gastroenteritis. The sturdy antioxidant and ant-inflammatory properties that chamomile tea has are helpful in settling the stomach and eradicating nausea and vomiting, on top of enhancing the immune system to battle whatever is causing your stomach flu.
Ginger is a tradition cure-all and is helpful in treating gastroenteritis. The dynamic constituents within ginger are versatile and sturdy, comprising its capability to sooth the stomach and safeguard the internal lining from dangerous bacteria. Chewing ginger is also helpful in eradicating nausea.
Most spicy hot foods such as chili peppers, habaneros and cayenne peppers contain capsaicin, which is not broken down and digested, especially in the seeds, and that is what burns your entire digestive tract from when it first enters your mouth until it leaves.
Capsaicin stimulates the lining of the stomach to produce more of its natural juices to protect itself against the capsaicin. This is actually good, because this process kills the bacteria in the stomach would could cause disorders of your bowels. However, it is painful for people who already have ulcers. (Contrary to the prevailing myths, spicy foods do not cause ulcers. That culprit is a bacteria named Helicobacter pylori. However, spicy foods do make ulcers hurt worse.)
Capsaicin does irritate the linings of the small and large intestines where food goes after leaving the stomach. For many people, especially those who often eat hot spicy foods and who therefore have forced their alimentary canals to adapt to the stress, the irritation is minor and they don’t even notice. But other people, especially those who don’t often eat spicy hot foods, are sensitive to it. The body reacts to the irritation by sending extra water to the intestine to prevent damage to the lining. Also, the irritated intestinal lining moves the food along faster than usual, resulting in diarrhea. There is no medical evidence that eating capsaicin does permanent injury to intestinal linings. The capsaicin continues to irritate sensitive inner tissue all the way through the end, so it continues to burn even as someone is eliminating it.
People who continue to have the problem may be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. They suffer from loose stool, bloating and abdominal pain when they eat hot foods, plus dairy, caffeine, and fatty and oily foods.
There are many ways to reduce the gastrointestinal discomfort of eating spicy foods. If people drink a glass of water before eating, that will help dilute the juices in the stomach.
Dairy foods help to neutralize the capsaicin. Therefore, drinking milk or eating yogurt, curd, ghee, buttermilk, sour cream or ice cream after eating the hot foods can help prevent diarrhea. However, people who are lactose intolerant should not consume any product containing milk. Consuming coconut milk, which is common in Thai food, can also help neutralize capsaicin. Eating rice gruel or bread along with the hot spice should also alleviate its impact on the digestive system.