By Cheshire Que, RND, RN, RD
Having difficulty “pooping” due to infrequent bowel movement and hard stools can be both painful and stressful. Constipation can affect one’s comfort, mood, and even productivity.
Many people suffer in silence because it is embarrassing to talk about something that is done behind closed doors, in a manner of speaking. Individuals struggling to excrete dry stools are often left feeling bloated and frustrated. Some even resort to inserting rectal suppository or taking laxative, a drug that aids in passing out stools easily.
If you have been experiencing constipation, here are some questions you need to ask yourself in order to solve your problems:
How is my water intake today?
Water intake is the most important factor in relieving and preventing constipation. It aids in proper digestion and makes the stools soft, therefore making it easier for you to move your bowels. Make it a habit to drink water regularly throughout the day, even if you are not thirsty. Experts recommend a daily intake of eight to 12 glasses of water or two to three liters, depending on your physical activity, weight, and climate. To be more conscious about your water intake, measure it by using water bottles. Carry it around with you and sip regularly. Other fluids in the form of soups, juices, carbonated beverages, and milk will also help ease constipation. However, these must not be used as a substitute for water. Caution must be taken, of course, especially for those monitoring their total caloric intake. It is also useful to know that warm water stimulates the urge to poop.
Have I eaten fiber-rich foods?
Insoluble fiber add bulk to stool and speeds up its journey along the lengthy digestive system. If you consume adequate fiber from fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you will surely have no problem sitting on the toilet for so long. Experts recommend two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables a day. That is equal to about two medium bananas and 1 1/2 cups of cooked vegetable dish. If you often eat out and fresh produce is not readily available, prepare smoothies at home for breakfast or practice quick cooking at home for dinner. Bring fresh fruits to be eaten as a snack at work. Remember to drink water whenever you eat something fibrous. Water will expand the fiber in the tummy, otherwise you will end up being constipated. If you haven’t tried an old remedy of eating prunes and drinking prune juice to ease constipation, it is now time to experience the wonders of this natural laxative.
Was I physically active today?
Movement is vital to the digestive system’s peristalsis. This is the series of wave-like muscle contraction that make the food move through the stomach and intestines. Constipation commonly occurs among individuals who are not physically active or lead a sedentary lifestyle. If your work involves mostly sitting, be mindful about getting up every now and then to take short walks around the workplace. Take the stairs. Walk in place. Just move in order to move your bowels easily.
If you have tried everything and constipation persists, it is best to consult a doctor for proper assessment and management.