Tips to avoid constipation – naturally
Constipation is the symptom of hard dry stools causing distress and difficulty in defection bloating, abdominal and rectal discomfort. If you have an unusual change of bowel habit, especially if linked to unaccustomed rectal bleeding, weight loss, breathlessness and fatigue you should go to your doctor for investigation.
Otherwise this page will provide some evidence based advice to prevent chronic constipation which is associated with a number of issues. These have been highlighted in a recent survey and in addition to the distress of straining, including:
- Fatigue & apprehension
- Irritability & increased arguments with partners
- Feeling less attractive, impacting their social lives
- Habit of canceling or leaving social engagements
- Reduced libido
- Feeling less unattractive to the opposite sex
- Embarrassment with associated flatulence.
Causes of constipation
Everybody experiences constipation from time to time but if this becomes a recurring problem you need to consider the lifestyle strategies below and only if these fail, a laxative. Constipation is often brought on by a disruption of your daily dietary and physical activity routine which can occur if traveling, after a medical illness. The more common causes are now summarised:
Medication: Anti-sickness medication such as ondansetron and granisetron. Pain-killers such as codeine, tramadol, codeine and morphine. Iron tablets can also disrupt the normal function of the bowel.
Conditions affecting the anus: haemorrhoids, or anal fissure can make it painful to defecate – avoidance then constipation
Ignoring the call to stool: Sometimes people get into the habit of ignoring the call to stool but this more likely to happen if stressed or there is general disruption of the daily routine resulting from extra travelling, examinations, stays in hospital or waiting in hospital waiting rooms.
Bowel muscles weakness: Being frail, recent abdominal surgery or neurological conditions such as paralysis, dementia, motor neurone Disease or parkinson’s disease.
Preventing & treating constipation
Despite the frequency of this complaint, it is often only addressed when it becomes a significant problem. Prevention is always better if possible. With some foresight constipation can be anticipated and appropriate action taken to avoid it.Try crushed flaxseed evry morning
- Eat plenty of fibre (bran, prunes, raisins, cereals, leafy vegetables)
- Eat a tablespoon of ground linseeds every day.
- Eat plenty of fruit and berries
- Drink plenty, but not excessive, quantities of water
- Have a regular routine in the morning – shortly after breakfast
- Try not to ignore the call to open your bowels. If you need to go – go!
- Take your time and try to stay until you have a good result.
- Exercise regularly – it reduces the time a motion takes to pass through
- Activity softens the stool and makes it easier to pass
- Avoid constipating medications if possible (codeine, opiates)
- Take a note of which activities constipate you
- Take a note of which foods work for you and keep in stock
- Prevention is better – anticipate constipation and change diet first
- If starting constipating medications, increase fibre intake
- If necessary, use ointments or suppositories to relieve a painful anus
If constipated after chemotherapy (the anti-emetic) change diet before