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Addressing constipation causes, constipation symptoms, constipation treatment and constipation remedies through nutrition & dietary intake.
Constipation means that a person has three or fewer bowel movement in a week. The stool can be hard and dry. Sometimes it is painful to pass. At one time or another, almost everyone gets constipated. In most cases, it usually lasts a short time and is not serious.
Many false beliefs exist concerning proper bowel habits, including that one must have a daily bowel movement or that wastes stored in the body and are dangerous to health. These misconceptions have led to a marked overuse and abuse of laxatives. Many are not needed and some are even potentially harmful.
At A Glance - Constipation
Constipation causes
Constipation symptoms
Constipation symptoms - when to seek medical advice
Constipation treatment
Constipation! Why should i eat more fiber?
Constipation: - additional links
  • Poor diet, inadequate fiber intake
  • Medications
  • Inadequate fluid / water intake
  • Inadequate exercise
  • Aging
  • Three or fewer bowel movements per week.
  • Stool may be hard and dry.
  • May be painful to pass.
  • Constipation is common and at one time or another, almost everyone gets constipated.
  • It normally lasts a short time and is usually not serious.
    Long term constipation may signal more serious and underlying disorders. Constipation can also lead to complications, such as hemorrhoids caused by extreme straining or fissures caused by the hard stool stretching the sphincters. Contact your doctor or gastroenterologist to get screened and help.
    Reference: American Gastroenterological Association
    If constipation lasts longer than three weeks, or is debilitating then laxatives should be taken only under a doctor's supervision. Your doctor is best qualified to determine when a laxative is needed and which type is best. There are several kinds of oral laxatives, and they all work in different ways.
  • Consuming more servings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains (high fiber diet)
  • Drinking plenty of water and other fluids
  • Getting enough exercise
  • Making time to have a bowel movement.
  • Using laxatives only if your doctor has prescribed them.
  • Some medications also cause constipation, check with your doctor
  • If there is a significant and sudden change in your bowel habits, inform your doctor.
    Reference: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
    Constipation! Why should I eat more fiber?
    Foods that are high in fiber can help in the treatment of constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome. Fiber binds the stool and makes it easier to pass bowel movement.
  • Consume at least 4 – 5 cups of fruits and vegetables each day -
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Berries
  • Pears
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Green peas
  • Figs
  • Prunes
  • Carrots
  • Beans
  • Replace white refined flour bread with whole-grain breads and cereals. Eat brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Bran muffins
  • Oatmeal
  • Multi-grain cereals, cooked or dry
  • Brown rice
  • Popcorn
  • 100% Whole-wheat bread
  • When you first add fiber to your diet you may notice bloating, cramping or gas. But you can prevent this by making small changes in your diet over a period of time. Start with one of the changes listed above, then wait several days to a week before making another. If one change doesn't seem to work for you, try a different one.
  • Be sure to drink plenty of fluids when you increase the amount of fiber you consume. Liquids help your body digest fiber better. Try to drink 8 glasses of water, tender coconut water or unsweetened tea daily. Try not to drink liquids that contain caffeine or alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol tend to dry out your digestive system.
  • Regular exercise helps your digestive system stay active and healthy. You don't need to become a great athlete. A 20- to 30-minute walk every day may help.
    CAUTION: Don't take laxatives if you're following a restricted diet, eg. magnesium restricted diet. If you have any questions, talk to your family doctor.
    The NutritionVista team of dietitians can help you alter your diet to address constipation after evaluating your personal health and taking into consideration your personal likes and dislikes.
    They can also guide you in eating right to prevent constipation.
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