Constipation is very common and it may affect most people at some point in their lives. Although it is more common to older people, it can affect people of all ages. Irregular bowel movement or having fewer than three bowel movements per week is the common symptom of constipation. Stools are usually hard, dry and difficult to pass. Learning the appropriate self care for constipation can be very helpful to relieve your problems in eliminating stools.
Self care for constipation no.1: Laxatives. As an immediate relief for constipation, over-the-counter laxatives can be helpful but you have to know that being dependent on laxatives is not good because your body might forget how to eliminate stool on its own. There are different forms of laxatives and they work in various ways so it is best to see your doctor and avoid self-medication to know the best medication that will work for you.
Self care for constipation no.2: Do not ignore the urge to bowel movement. There are situations that you need to hold back your bowel movement because you prefer to do it at home or you are too busy that you do not want to be interrupted but you should not make it a habit to ignore the urge to eliminate because holding back one’s bowel movement can lead to constipation if the delay is too long.
Self care for constipation no.3: Gradually increase fiber in your diet. Lack of fiber in your diet may lead to constipation. Increase fiber in your diet to meet the recommended daily fiber needs of 20-35 grams. Cruciferous vegetables which include cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli and fruits with edible skins like apples, grapes and berries are fiber-rich foods. Whole grains like bread, cereals, oats and corn are also rich in fiber. It would be very helpful to eat at least three servings of raw vegetables and fruits everyday. Gradually add high fiber foods on your diet to let your colon adjust to the changes and prevent excess gas or bloating. Avoid foods that may cause constipation like processed meat, dairy products, sugary foods and other low-fiber foods.
Self care for constipation no.4: Exercise regularly. Inactivity may cause constipation so keep moving and make it a point to exercise at least 30 minutes daily. Brisk walking, swimming and aerobics are some of the physical activities that you can do to keep an active lifestyle. Older people tend to be less physically active and this is one of the reasons why constipation is common to older people. Know the best physical activities that suit your capability and keep a physically active lifestyle. Regular exercise is not only good for your constipation but also for your over all health.
Self care for constipation no.5: Take in enough fluids. Dehydration may lead to constipation so be sure to take in enough fluids to avoid constipation. Fluids maybe water or fruit juices but avoid coffee, cola drinks and alcoholic drinks because caffeine and alcohol are substances that could worsen constipation. With enough fluids, your stool will become softer and easier to pass.
The above mentioned self care for constipation can be very helpful but you have to know that chronic constipation could be a symptom of medical issues like hypothyroidism, diabetes, IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, problems with the colon and dysfunctional nerves and muscles in the rectum, anus and intestines. It is best to see your doctor if you have chronic constipation.
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