Everyone has experienced constipation sometimes. The feeling is unpleasant, you feel bloated, loss of appetite and might feel abdominal pain. If this condition always happens to you, you should pay attention to it.
What is constipation?
Some people might think one must pass bowel once a day to be considered normal, otherwise one is constipated. However, this is not the case. One is considered constipated if he or she did not defecate for more than 3 days or has hard/dry stool, stool is painful to pass(sometimes alongside bleeding).
What causes constipation?
1. Lack of fibre
Many people nowadays are not eating enough fibre, especially people who eat out. (When you are reading this, try to think did you eat your greens today?)
Fibre helps to increase the size of stool and soften it, so it is easier to pass out.
Build a habit of eating vegetables and fruit every day, and include more high-fibre whole grain products, beans and seeds in your meal to increase daily fibre intake.
Stools are hard to pass if your body is lack of water, even if you eat your greens. When the body is dehydrated, the large intestine will reabsorb the water from food, making the stool hard and painful to pass.
Make sure to drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day, and increase if you sweat a lot (especially in a hot country like Malaysia).
3. Lack of exercise
Being physical inactive not only contributes to weight gain, it affects our bowel movement too. Defecation is done by gut muscle contraction. If a person is sedentary, less blood is flow to the digestive system, causing a slower bowel movement.
To solve this, don’t forget to get a walk after sitting for some time, and exercise regularly.
4. Diet too low in fat
What? Lack of fat can cause constipation.
Yes, fat/oil act as a stimulating agent to promote contraction in the bowel. Some fad diets like low fat or fat-free diet might cause difficulty in defaecation.
Fat is not evil if you eat it right. Include some healthy fats in your diet, like avocado, olive oil, nuts, seed and fatty fish.
Over-dieting or an extremely low caloric diet can cause constipation. Where does stool come from? The food we eat.
Therefore, strict dieting means less waste product is produced to form a stool. Besides, constantly consuming too low calories slows down metabolism, which may lead to slower movement in the digestive tract.
This is especially common in females, who try to pursue a slim figure by dieting.
Long-term dieting can do harm to the body. Try to include more food that is high in nutrition, such as whole food.
Other factors like stress, medication, pregnancy and older age can cause one more prone to constipation.
Except for the solution above, always remember to not hold when you have the urge to go to the toilet. You may also create a habit to go to the toilet at the same time every day to train your muscles to have bowel movements.
Constipation is not an illness, and everybody experiences it occasionally. Most of the time, it can be solved by simply applying the methods above.
However, if you experience frequent or chronic constipation, you might need to check with your healthcare provider.