Chronic constipation

Truco para evitar el estreñimiento

Constipation is a common digestive complaint. Generally, a person is considered to be constipated when their bowel movements result in the passage of small amounts of hard, dry stool, usually fewer than three times a week. Such a condition is typically categorised as “chronic” when it lasts more than three months.

Chronic constipation may affect as many as 20% of people in Spain. Not only can constipation make one feel bloated, headachy, and irritable, but it may also lead to hemorrhoids or fissures.

Keys to relieving chronic constipation

  • Fiber. Fiber makes stool bulkier and softer so it’s easier to pass. Many doctors and nutritionists recommend a daily intake of at least 20g of fiber per day. Good sources include whole grains (found in cereals, breads, and brown rice) and fruits (especially prunes, kiwis, figs and grapes).  
  • Fats, protein and carbohydrates. A healthy diet requires a balanced consumption of fats, protein and carbohydrates, but too much of these (especially at the expense of fiber) can produce constipation.
  • Water. Staying well hydrated has many health benefits, including digestion.
  • Coffee and tea. While caffeine is a diuretic, there’s evidence a cup of coffee or tea in the morning can help stimulate easy bowel movement.
  • Exercise. Physical activity helps bowel movement.
  • Bathroom habit. Try make going to the bathroom a daily routine, especially in the morning as colonic motor activity is highest at this time.
  • Listen to your body. If your body is telling you it needs to go, then go. If you ignore this urge and stool stays in the bowel, it will become harder and difficult to expel later.
  • Massages. Massaging the abdomen can help encourage bowel movements.
  • Medications. There are many medications that are designed for treating chronic constipation, but it is always recommended to see a doctor first. Also be aware that many medications and supplements can cause constipation.

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