A great number of people suffer from constipation. You may be surprised just how many since it isn’t a topic that a lot of people like to discuss. In fact, some statistics estimate that more than 4 million Americans find themselves constipated at one time or another, women being much more prone to it than men. Though it may be an uncomfortable topic, it is important to understand that constipation is not something you have to live with. There are options out there to help rid yourself of this extremely frustrating bathroom issue.
What Is Constipation?
Constipation is generally considered having fewer than three bowel movements in a week’s time. Chronic constipation is when you have difficulty passing stool for several weeks or even longer. You may also experience constipation as the urge to go but the inability to pass the stool, or as passing stool only with excessive straining. Sometimes constipation also presents as feeling like you cannot completely pass all the stool in one sitting.
Who Can Become Constipated?
Anyone can become constipated, but some are at more risk. People most at risk for constipation are those who:
- Are dehydrated
- Eat a low-fiber diet
- Are pregnant
- Are inactive or get little physical activity
- Are depressed or suffer from an eating disorder
How Can I Prevent Constipation?
There are a number of ways to prevent constipation, most of which are simple things you can begin right away. You can start prevention by doing the following:
- Staying well hydrated. This means drinking an adequate amount of fluids, especially during meal times.
- Including healthy diet with good sources of fiber. For example, fiber found in vegetables, beans, whole grains and fiber supplements are good.
- Paying close attention to your body cues, and passing stool when you feel the urge.
- Implementing an exercise routine daily.
- Implementing stress management tactics.
Good Sources of Fiber
Fiber can be found throughout nature in a variety of flavorful options. There are two types of fiber needed in your diet to help keep you regular: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Both types come from plants and are a type of carbohydrate. As it works its way through your digestive system, the fiber is not absorbed. Instead, it adheres to the stool to make it softer and easier to pass, thus saving you from straining later.
Soluble fiber absorbs water, and it will turn into a mushy consistency when liquid is added. The health benefits of soluble fiber stretch further than just digestive aids. A diet rich in soluble fiber can help protect your heart, aid in weight loss and help prevent diabetes.
The following foods good sources of soluble fiber:
- Some vegetables (such as spinach and cucumbers)
Insoluble fiber does not absorb water, and will hold its shape when liquid is added. Aside from playing an important role in digestive health, insoluble fiber is believed to be a key part of weight loss. Foods rich in insoluble fiber are believed to help keep hunger cues at a controllable level.
The following foods are good sources of insoluble fiber:
- Fruit peels
- Fruit seeds
- Brown rice
- Whole-wheat bread
- Whole-wheat pasta
A Diet Rich in Healthy Fiber Can Help Keep Constipation Away
Constipation is a common problem for so many Americans, but it doesn’t have to be. Being properly hydrated and following a fiber-rich diet are fantastic beginning steps to take. If you still feel that constipation is a problem for you, consult a doctor to see if fiber supplements may be right for you. DrFormulas offers a variety of different digestive health supplements that are natural and effective.