Very few people feel comfortable talking about certain health issues, like constipation. They may feel it is a private and personal issue that should not be discussed with others. Ironically, almost everyone has faced this problem at one time in their lives but are still embarrassed and shy to talk about it. Constipation can be painful and frustrating and it will be very beneficial if we know how to prevent it.

What is constipation?

Some people believe that constipation occurs when one can not have at least one bowel movement everyday. This, however, is not true. You have constipation when your own bowel movements become less frequent and more difficult to pass. You may also feel bloated and experience pain in your abdomen area. There are many reasons for getting constipation.

Common causes of constipation

It is commonly known that not eating enough fibrous food or drinking sufficient water can cause constipation. This is because fiber promotes bowel movements and drinking sufficient water will prevent dehydration and reduce the absorption of water from the stools. There are many types of delicious food rich in fiber such wholemeal spaghetti and pasta, wholegrain breakfast cereals and fruits and vegetables.

People who are physically inactive tend to have higher risk of constipation. We can aim to exercise regularly or try to be as active as possible as this will increase our metabolism and help prevent constipation and have a more healthy lifestyle.

Sometimes, to have a quick fix, we may buy over-the-counter laxatives to help ease our bowel movements. However, by doing this consistently, we create a habit for our body to rely on the laxatives to treat ourselves. This will make the problem worse and increase the risk of getting constipation in the future. Additionally, other medications prescribed for other health issues may have side effects that may cause constipation as well.

Another main culprit of constipation is not going to the toilet when we feel the urge to do so. Many of us are guilty of this especially when we are out in public or at work or school. We tend to try to hold on until we are home. However, this is bad for our bodies as the longer we delay going to the toilet, the harder it will become for us to do so.

When we change our daily routines, like when we travel, it will affect our bowel movements as well. Traveling may lead to us eating at different times and having different types of food. We also sleep at different times, especially in countries with a big time difference. This will affect when we use the toilet and increase the risk of constipation.

Who is more likely to have constipation?

Constipation can happen to anyone and it probably affects almost everyone through their lifetime. However, it affects children, women and the elderly more than anyone else. Children and the elderly are more likely to eat less fibrous food and drink less water. The elderly also exercise much less. Women are more likely to have constipation due to pregnancy where there are hormonal changes and the uterus tends to compress the intestine.

Prevention is better than cure!

There are so many ways that constipation is caused. While constipation can be easily preverted through small steps taken in our everyday lives, it is not easy to treat and it is often painful to suffer from it. Little changes we make in our diets and routines can go a long way to help our health.