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.
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!
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.
Occasional constipation is incredibly common. In fact, it is one of the most common medical maladies in the world. Everyone experiences constipation from time to time. Constipation is defined as when you have bowel movements that are particularly difficult or infrequent.
Everybody goes, but everybody does it on a different schedule. Some people go three times a day. Other people may go once a day or even once every other day. So knowing if you are constipated is really up to you. Knowing your body is the first step in identifying constipation. If you are used to going a couple of times a day and you skip a day then you may be constipated, while others may need to skip a few days in order to be worried.
Once you think you may be constipated, it is important to know the common causes of constipation. Armed with this knowledge you may be able to avoid constipation in the future and you may be able to remedy your blocked up situation. Below you will find the five common causes of constipation.
The human body eliminates waste using certain muscles. Your brain sends electrical impulses down nerves in order to control muscles. If a nerve leading to your bowel movement muscles is pinched or affected by other diseases, such as diabetes or Parkinson’s disease, you may have difficulty eliminating waste. Other causes of nerve problems that may inhibit the ability to go include neuropathy, a pinched nerve, stroke and multiple sclerosis.
When your stool becomes hard it may be difficult for your body to eliminate. An unhealthy diet and dehydration can lead to hard stool. Fibrous, healthy foods can help you go. Dense fiber cells are difficult for the body to digest and the travel through the digestive track fairly quickly, dragging out excess waste along the way. Staying hydrated can also help you alleviate by softening stool inside your system.
Blockages in your bowels can also make it difficult to go. There can be physical bowel obstruction or other medical conditions that create blockages. Bowels stricture, or the narrowing of the bowels, is a condition that can lead to blockages with normal stool. Other conditions that create blockages include cancerous tumors in the abdomen and anal fissure.
Weak or Tight Muscles
Sometimes it’s as simple as the muscles that control your bowel movements. These muscles can get tight and remain spasmed making it impossible to eliminate. These muscles can also get weak and relinquish the ability to eliminate waste. Sometimes the muscles are just not able to expand and contract in the right sequence. Relaxing, doing exercises or simply calming down may help.
Hormones are chemical messengers in your blood that are responsible for communication between the parts of your body. A hormone condition can make it difficult to go. Pregnancy and diabetes can lead to hormone difficulties that cause constipation. Other common conditions include underactive thyroid and overactive parathyroid. Balancing your hormones with the help of an endocrinologist may alleviate your symptoms.