Listen to Your Gut: Recognizing and Managing Constipation
In the middle of life’s chaos, we often ignore the signals our body sends. This Constipation Awareness Month, let’s cast light upon a commonly underestimated concern. Join us to understand and address this health aspect, understanding the importance of digestive well-being together.
We are living in the 21st century and our eating habits have drastically shifted from traditional ways. There is a rise in consumption of calorie-rich, salty, sugary, and nutritionally deficient foods. These choices trigger the release of pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters like dopamine and oxytocin, making us want more and eventually shaping our habits. While we may enjoy these new flavours, their impact on our lives goes beyond what we realise. As it is said ‘It’s often the unseen and unknown things that turn out to pose significant threats’, in this case, our gut health is at stake.
What causes constipation?
Constipation is defined as experiencing bowel irregularities that lead to discomfort, pain, bloating, gas and other symptoms that significantly impact the quality of life and overall well being. Fast and processed foods stand out as major contributors to constipation, a widespread and often underestimated condition affecting millions globally. Some other causes include a low-fibre diet, dehydration, lack of physical activity, stress, medication, pregnancy, ageing, or underlying medical conditions.
Many people are not aware of the signs and symptoms of constipation, or they may feel embarrassed or reluctant to talk about it. This can lead to delayed diagnosis and potential complications like haemorrhoids, anal fissures, faecal impaction, or bowel obstruction. That is why it is important to listen to your gut and prioritise healthy bowel habits.
Constipation is not something to be ashamed of or ignored. It is a health issue that can be prevented and managed with simple lifestyle changes and natural remedies.In this blog, explore practical tips for effective constipation management to enhance your gut health and function.
What are the symptoms?
Recognising constipation symptoms is highly essential for proactively addressing and managing digestive health. Early awareness allows us to implement effective constipation relief strategies and make informed lifestyle adjustments to alleviate discomfort. Constipation can vary from person to person, depending on their normal bowel pattern, diet, and lifestyle. However, some common indicators of constipation include:
- Hard, dry, or lumpy stools
- Feeling bloated, gassy, or nauseous
- Decreased appetite or feeling sluggish
- Straining or pushing too hard to pass stools
- Persistent discomfort or pain in the abdominal region
- Having fewer than three bowel movements per week
- Feeling incomplete evacuation or a blockage in the rectum
- Experiencing pain, discomfort, or bleeding during or after bowel movements
If you experience any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, you should consult a doctor to rule out any underlying medical condition or complications.
The good news is that constipation can be managed with some simple lifestyle changes and remedies. Here are some digestive wellness tips and strategies to help you relieve constipation, promoting digestive well-being:
Boost Fibre Intake
Consume more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes to add essential fibre. Aim for 25 to 30 grams daily, increasing gradually to avoid bloating. Consider a psyllium husk supplement if needed
Drink at least eight glasses of water daily to hydrate and lubricate stools, preventing constipation. Opt for herbal teas, juices, or soups, and limit dehydrating drinks like soda and alcohol.
Engage in 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily, such as walking, jogging, cycling, or yoga poses like a child’s pose. Exercise stimulates intestinal muscles, improves blood circulation, and aids in preventing constipation.
There are natural remedies for constipation that can ease discomfort and enhance gut health. These include:
Rich in fibre and sorbitol, prunes act as a natural laxative. Consume prunes or prune juice in moderation to avoid gas and diarrhoea.
Found in fermented foods or supplements, probiotics balance gut flora, improving gut function and immunity. Choose products with at least 10 billion CFUs and various strains.
Found in green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and dark chocolate, magnesium relaxes intestinal muscles. Be cautious with supplements to avoid diarrhoea.
With anti-inflammatory and laxative properties, aloe vera soothes the gut. Consume it in moderation to prevent diarrhoea, cramps, or dehydration.
Establish a Routine
Develop a consistent bowel routine, aiming for a daily morning movement. Avoid delaying or suppressing urges and create a comfortable environment for bowel movements using tools like a squatty potty.
Constipation is a common and often overlooked condition that can affect your quality of life and well-being. Understanding and dealing with constipation is essential and can be effectively done by promoting gut health awareness and paying attention to your body’s signals. Following the mentioned tips and strategies, not only relieves constipation but also improves your digestive well-being.
Taking care of your gut means opening the door to a happier and healthier life.