Constipation is a struggle. It's like you'd want to do anything just to get this thing off your body. The pain and stress aren't the only problems. This condition is also embarrassing that getting help isn't as easy as when you're suffering from a migraine or a toothache.
But you should know that there's nothing to be ashamed about being constipated. In fact, it's so common that almost everyone gets constipated at least once in his/her life. This ailment affects about 2 percent of the population in the United States with women and the elderly as frequent victims.
Constipation occurs when there is less frequent or difficult bowel movements. Bowel movement differs from one person to another. Some can have nature calls as frequent as thrice a day while others can go on for about a week only having two or three bowel movements. It's important to remember that longer than 3 days isn't something you'd consider normal. By this time, stool or feces already becomes too hard to pass.
You are considered to have constipation if two or more of the following symptoms are present for at least 3 months:
- straining during bowel movement 25 percent of the time
- hard stools 25 percent of the time
- incomplete evacuation 25 percent of the time
- two or fewer bowel movements per week
What Causes Constipation?
Constipation is caused by numerous factors including disorder of bowel function, inadequate water intake, inadequate consumption of dietary fiber, disruption of normal routine, insufficient activity or immobility, over-consumption of dairy products, and stress. It can also be a sign of an underlying medical problem such as hypothyroidism, Parkinson's disease, depression, colon cancer, and multiple sclerosis.
How Can I Prevent Constipation?
Fortunately, you can prevent constipation. First, you need to eat a well-balanced diet that is rich in dietary fiber. Fiber can be acquired from fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads/cereals, and legumes. It's also a must to drink plenty of water every day. Fiber and water aid the colon in excreting feces. Just avoid drinking liquids that contain caffeine such as soda and coffee because they have dehydrating effects that can further worsen your constipation.
What are Home Remedies to Relieve Constipation?
Relieve constipation with these tried-and-tested home remedies. For one, you would need to drink two to four extra glasses of water. Take note of the word, extra. This means these are in addition to the regular 8 glasses of water. In the morning, start your day with warm liquids. Also, add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Eating bran cereal, prunes or ripe bael fruit may also help.
Another suggestion would be to drink a glass of milk before going to bed. Drinking lemon juice may also provide some relief. If these don't work, try using a mild stool softener or laxative such as the Milk of Magnesia. Just be careful, don't use these for more than two weeks without getting in touch with your doctor.
For some, home remedies work quite well. If they don't, don't hesitate to call up your health practitioner, especially if you have blood in your stool, you're experiencing severe pain during bowel movement, and you've been constipated for more than two weeks.