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Constipation affects one in five individuals; in women the condition is more prevalent. Although it can affect person of any age but is more common amongst elderly and children. Difficultly in passage of stool and excretion of the same less than three times a week are regarded as constipation. Constipations may result due to slowing down the progression of food along the colon or large intestine. It may also occur due to difficulties in stool discharge in the rectum and the anus. Sometimes constipation can be due to combination of both these factors. Many a time people are too embarrassed to talk about constipation and thus suffer in silence. Constipation can be occasional or chronic. Occasional constipation can be due to dietary changes, travel and such other reasons. Sometimes occasional constipation can be severe other times it can be mild or moderate. Chronic constipation can last for years and most often is due to unhealthy lifestyle, some disease or ailment or medication.
Causes of Constipation
There may be one or multiple reason why one may be suffering from constipation. Fortunately simple lifestyle changes can be quite effective in providing relief. The most common reasons for constipation are unbalanced diet, lack of fiber is diet, inadequate intake of liquids, lack of exercise and prolonged bed rest. Constipation may also be caused due to other health conditions such as Parkinson's disease, depression, hypertension and other heart diseases. Medications for many other ailments may also cause constipation. Long travel and change in dietary habits, bloating and stomach pain and diarrhea may also cause constipation. Other reasons for constipation may also include inflammation in digestive track, digestive tumor and more. Pregnant women also experience constipation due to hormonal changes and decrease in intestinal contractions.
How to prevent Constipation?
Essentially high-fiber food items such as green vegetables, salad, fresh or dried fruits and cereals help ease constipation. Fibers retain water, increase stool volume and help in ease of passage of stool. They also stimulate the contractions of the intestine. Avoid high-fat or spicy dishes and consumption of starchy food items such as potatoes and rice. In case of painful bloating, avoid foods that tend to ferment such as white beans, cabbages or lentils. Other tips to prevent constipation on a day to day basis include drinking ample amount of water or juice, eating healthy and regularly, not holding back when one needs to relieve himself, avoiding meals on the run, limiting stress and avoiding physical inactivity by indulging in regular exercises or activities such as walking or swimming that stimulate the abdominal region.
Myths and Facts about Constipation
In the past constipation has been regarded as the reason for many diseases which is not true. Although uncomfortable, constipation is not the cause of a multiplication of toxins in the body. Doctors no longer consider constipation as the mother of all diseases. But most people are certain that healthy bowel passage is the key to good health. Researchers have confirmed that one of the benefits of high fiber diet is better passage of stool which in turn cuts the risk of ulcers and even colon cancer.
Natural Remedies for Constipation
Best way to fight constipation is to eat fiber-rich diet and drink more water. Dietary fibers help the gut eliminate the waste of the body. So eat more fresh and dry fruits and vegetables and prefer whole grain cereals. Prunes, juices and jams from these fruits are natural and effective laxatives which help ease constipation. Drink between 1 to 2 liters of fluid every day, absorption of liquids in sufficient quantity promotes the softening of the stool and contributes to their better passage of stool. Consume water, fruit juices and soups at will, but do not push too hard on coffee and tea. Citrus juices like that of orange, grapefruit and more are also excellent natural laxatives thus consuming them every morning on empty stomach will definitely help. Regular exercise and a gentle massage on the stomach may also provide relief. If the constipation is due to some other ailment, disease or medication then the same will have to be dealt with accordingly. Also for extreme severe case of constipation it is recommended that one consults a medical practioner.