Constipation is a widespread health issue that can cause a lot of discomfort. Because of constipation, you may experience nausea, stomach cramps, and poor overall well-being. Constipation occurs when the colon muscle contractions are slow or weak. The feces move through your digestive tract too slowly. As a result, the colon absorbs too much water, and the stool becomes dry and difficult to pass.
Fortunately, following some simple recommendations can help you prevent and relieve constipation. Keep reading to discover 5 effective tips that can help you deal with constipation.
1. Eat more fiber
Eating more fiber is one of the best ways to prevent and treat constipation. There are two types of fiber that can be used to treat constipation - soluble and insoluble. Both of them are important for maintaining optimal gastrointestinal health. Soluble fiber keeps the stool moisturized, making it softer and easier to pass. Insoluble fiber increases the bulk of your fecal material, which eases its passage through your gut and prevents the feeling of incomplete emptying.
The best way to eat more fiber is through your diet. Fiber-rich foods are often loaded with vitamins and minerals that are good for your overall well-being. Foods that are rich in fiber include fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, and nuts. If you cannot get enough fiber from your diet, you can opt for fiber supplements. They are ready-available in most drugstores.
2. Drink enough water
Even if you consume enough fiber and eat a balanced diet, if you don’t drink enough water you’ll remain constipated. Water helps soften and bulk the stool, making it easier to pass. For this reason, it is important to consume enough water throughout the day. The best way to measure your daily intake of water is to drink the equivalent in ounces of half your body weight. If your weight is 120 pounds, you need to drink 60 ounces of water.
Be sure to drink enough pure water. Avoid caffeinated beverages and dairy products because they can make you even more constipated.
3. Add probiotics to your diet
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in your gut. They maintain a healthy balance in your gut and ensure proper digestion. When you consume probiotics, they enhance your gut microbiome and help fight inflammation and improve digestion. The foods rich in probiotics include kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and tempeh. Besides, consuming enough probiotics can help normalize blood sugar, improve liver function, and improve skin health.
Fermented foods have a specific taste. If you don’t like their taste, you may try probiotic supplements. They add good bacteria to your gut, ensure proper digestion, and can help prevent constipation or other digestive issues.
4. Exercise regularly
If you frequently experience constipation, exercise can help speed things up. Exercise is crucial for regular bowel movements. It reduces the time needed to move food through the large intestine. As a result, less water is absorbed from the stool and it becomes easier to pass. Besides, aerobic exercise increases your breathing and heart rate. This stimulates the muscle contractions in your intestines and helps move stools out faster.
To improve your bowel movements you need to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. It can be yoga, swimming, running, or even walking.
5. Try stool softeners
Stool softeners are medications used to treat constipation. Most stool softeners work by the amount of water the stool absorbs, making it easier to move through the digestive tract. Stool softeners may come in different forms including capsule, liquid, and tablet. Most stool softeners improve bowel movements within 12 to 72 hours. If you have decided to take stool softeners, be sure to drink enough water.
Stool softeners are generally safe, but they are designed for short-term use. This means that you can use them without a prescription for no longer than 1 week. If you are going to use them longer, be sure to consult your GI doctor.
Published by Amelia Grant