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Constipation is characterized by either incomplete evacuation of stools daily or delayed the evacuation of hard stools once in 2 or 3 days. Constipation is defined as having a bowel movement fewer than three times per week.
Constipation results in stools that are usually hard, dry, small in size, and difficult to pass. The average occurrence of constipation in adults has been estimated to be about 16% worldwide.
What is normal stool elimination?
Some people think they are constipated if they do not have a bowel movement every day. Normal stool elimination maybe three times a day or three times a week, depending on the person. The important factors are regularity and easy passage of a reasonably soft and well-formed stool.
Constipation, a symptom
Usually, constipation is a symptom and not a disease. If there is an underlying medical problem, beyond constipation treatment, it needs to be corrected with a doctor’s help. Proper treatment needs to be given to correct the problem. But mostly constipation is because of a lack of proper diet.
The most common type of constipation is atonic constipation
Atonic constipation is usually due to
How to treat constipation?
Constipation consists of the correction of flawed habits and prescribing the right type of diet.
Right habits: It is very important to inculcate proper habits in childhood itself. The tendency to develop constipation begins in childhood as many children postpone answering nature’s call. Once the reflex for defecation is suppressed in the morning it is felt again much later in the evening, making constipation treatment a lot more difficult.
If this happens regularly it is the first basis for constipation. Stress and fatigue also affect the cycle. People with a sedentary lifestyle are at an increased risk of developing constipation than those who are physically active. Constipation among older people is more common than younger people. It is also more in women compared to men during the premenopausal stage.
However there a multiple factors and practices that aid constipation treatment and a healthy gut.
Healthy diet: The diet should be rich in roughage. Include foods that have fiber, such as, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Plant foods are the source of dietary fiber. Animal-based foods do not provide any fiber.
Dietary fiber, liquids, and physical activity
Try and use whole vegetables whenever possible because the outer peel, stems, etc have more fiber. People who are not used to eating a fiber-rich diet, increase fiber content in the diet gradually so that the digestive system gets used to it. Otherwise, it may cause flatulence, bloating and abdominal discomfort.
Drink plenty of liquids because a low fiber diet and low fluid intake result in hard and dry stools which are difficult to pass through the intestine.
Regular physical activity helps stimulate bowel movement and constipation treatment, while long periods of inactivity cause constipation.
The other type of constipation is irritable colon syndrome or spastic constipation
Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by irregular bowel movements. This is caused by overstimulation of intestinal nerve endings resulting in irregular contraction of the bowel. The condition may be accompanied by abdominal colic pain, nausea, atonic constipation, and occasionally diarrhea.
This type of constipation mostly affects people who are the emotionally nervous type. Contributory causes are a worry, anxiety, irregular meals, smoking and drinking too much tea, coffee, and alcohol. This needs treatment from a medical professional.
Firstly, the cause for anxiety needs to be dealt with and then the person is to receive constipation treatment and proper medication as seen fit by the doctor.
Secondly, the low fiber diet has to be given initially and then gradually progress to normal diet with sufficient amount of roughage.
Sources of dietary fiber
Dietary fibers can be classified as soluble or insoluble and plant food contains a mixture of both. If a food is said to have soluble or insoluble fiber it means that the majority of the fiber found in it is of that kind. It is important to have both types of fibers in the diet as they have beneficial effects on digestive health.
Soluble dietary fiber
Soluble fiber sources include oats, barley, legumes, many vegetables, and fruits particularly apples and pears.
Insoluble dietary fiber
Many vegetables and fruits contain insoluble fiber such as berries, carrots, beans, and potato skins. Insoluble fiber sources include wheat bran, whole grain cereals and breads, corn bran, flax and other seeds.
Unlike starch, fibers do not breakdown well in our digestive system. In the stomach, the soluble fibers bind to water and form a gel-like material. Insoluble fibers like cellulose and hemicelluloses appear to have a beneficial effect upon the formation of stools and their evacuation.
How to prevent constipation?
Ensure that you follow a healthy lifestyle. Eat the right food which has plenty of fiber, get lot of physical activity and encourage children to develop correct habits.
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