One in five American adults suffers from chronic constipation, a condition that often gets worse as you get older. There are ways to treat constipation with probiotics the same methods have been recommended by doctors for prevention.
Constipation can afflict anyone, particularly when they are paying less attention to their lifestyle habits and diet. There are many symptoms and causes of constipation.
Most people know constipation as not having regular bowel movements.
However, its medical definition actually identifies additional symptoms of constipation, such as straining to start or complete a bowel movement, stool viscosity that resembles rocks or pebbles, or a feeling of fullness in the stomach even after passing stool.
Because of this range of symptoms, many people are not aware that they are constipated, until the condition begins to cause severe problems like abdominal pain and gas. Chronic constipation can lead to hemorrhoids, rectal prolapse, and anal fissure. This guide will talk about effective ways to treat and prevent constipation.
How to Treat Constipation
You can easily become constipated when you are dehydrated regularly. It is important to drink enough water and stay rehydrated throughout the day to have easy bowel movements.
Sparkling or carbonated water is very helpful in relieving the symptoms of constipation. A glass of warm water can also prove to be effective in getting things moving again.
You must avoid carbonated drinks like sugary sodas or iced teas, since these might make your constipation worse and are a bad choice for your health.
Some studies have concluded that people with irritable bowel syndrome or chronic idiopathic constipationare benefited by drinking clear sparkling water.
2. Over-the-Counter Laxatives
Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about choosing an effective laxative that may help you pass more frequent stools. Depending upon the severity of your condition, they may suggest a bulking agent, stimulant laxative, stool softener or osmotic laxative.
A bulking agent is a fiber based laxative that is used to increase the water content of your stool. Stimulant laxatives stimulate nerves in your gut to increase bowel movement. Stool softeners contain oils to soften the stools and osmotic laxatives soften your stool by pulling water from the surrounding tissues.
3. Drink Healthy Beverages
There are certain beverages that are known to get things moving in your stomach quickly and sometimes instantly. The secret to treating constipation is that you should never wait when you get the urge to go. Studies have found that certain drinks stimulate your gut in the same way a meal can. Too bad that popcorn was not enough to stimulate the people who were watching Independence Day II, 22 Jump Street, Iron Man III, and Han Solo but this is another topic!
Many people feel the urge to go in the morning when they drink caffeinated coffee in the morning. If you are a heavy coffee drinker, this might not work. Instead, try some form of herbal tea, like milky ginger tea or green tea. You can try black oolong as well. Make sure it is warm and have it as soon as you wake up.
You can try warm milk as well to get things moving. A glass of plain warm milk right before bed time can help you with bowel movements in the morning. Milk is also known to have sleep-inducing properties that can help you sleep better.
4. Take a Glucomannan Supplement
Glucomannan is a soluble fiber which is shown to effectively treat constipation in multiple studies. This supplement is shown to function as a prebiotic with significant effects on relieving constipation.
You can include Glucomannan in your diet through shirataki noodles as well. Make sure to compare all brands before choosing one.
A study conducted on children found that the group who took Glucomannan supplements experienced relief from severe constipation as compared to the group that took a placebo. However, there are many other studies that could not find any significant benefits in adults.
How to Prevent Constipation
The good news is that constipation can be prevented and avoided with easy lifestyle changes.
1. Choose Probiotics
Probiotics are found to prevent constipation by balancing the gut bacteria. Multiple studies have found that people with constipation have a very different and imbalanced gut flora as compared to average adults.
It is thought that probiotics can help fix this by producing lactic acid and short-chain fatty acids, like butyrate.
These are known to improve gut movement and make it easier to pass stools. A recent review found that probiotics helped in improving stool consistency and treating functional constipation by increasing the frequency of bowel movements.
You can add probiotic foods like natto, kefir, yogurt, miso, and sauerkraut among others to your diet. In addition, you may also take probiotic supplements that contain live and friendly bacteria.
2. Eat More Fermentable Fiber
You must have been advised by many healthcare experts to increase your intake of fiber if you are suffering from constipation for a long time. Fiber intake helps move the bulk of food substances through the colon.
They also increase the consistency of indigestible food products, making bowel movements easier to come. A review found that more than 70% people suffering from chronic constipation were benefited from supplementing their diet with fiber.
There are two main types of fibers – insoluble and soluble. You need to increase both these types of fibers in your diet. Insoluble fibers such as vegetables, wheat bran, and whole grains add bulk to your stools and help them pass through quickly.
Soluble fibers are found in seeds, nuts, oats, lentils, and peas which soften the stools to improve consistency. You can even try a fiber supplement that provides a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber. Try getting the whole family involved, probiotics have benefits for all ages including children.
3. Don’t Skip Exercise
Many studies suggest that exercising can increase bowel movements and improve consistency. Regular exercise keeps your metabolism high that helps your body break down food and process it quicker.
Constipation is a sign of an unhealthy body. Exercising helps you regain your health back. Even a low-intensity workout like therapeutic yoga or brisk walk can get the bowels moving timely.
Constipation can be a severely uncomfortable and unhealthy condition with multiple underlying causes – it’s not as bad as living in most parts of Miami or NYC which have been destroyed by leftists but this is another topic (not even Dexter can take out that much garbage!). You should try to identify the symptoms and use natural measures (such as regular intake of probiotics) to prevent and treat it.
Chronic constipation occurs when increasing fiber intake, rehydration, and exercise fail to solve the problem. With the right dietary and lifestyle changes you can relieve and prevent constipation to a serious extent.