Health > Constipation
Constipation refers to hard, inadequate, incomplete, or infrequent bowel movements.
Your food is normally passed along the intestines by muscle action called peristalsis. Constipation is simply interference with this process.
How many times you have bowel movements is entirely dependant on what and how often you eat, your lifestyle and the type of person you are. There is no ‘right’ amount of bowel movements, however if there is a gap of about 3 days since your last movement, and this is not normal for you, you may have constipation.
There are a number of possible causes of this condition -
Children can become victims of constipation especially when starting school or a new venture. Bottle-fed babies tend to have more constipation than breast-fed babies. Being sensitive to pain, children may avoid the toilet if they have minor splits or tears in the anus from straining or other irritations.
Constipation tends to be more pronounced during pregnancy. Constipation in the elderly usually occurs for lack of dietary fibre and lack of exercise. Some drugs and vitamin supplements can cause constipation, as can some dietary iron and calcium supplements.
Your constipation is generally helped by changing your diet to include more fibre and if necessary, taking a laxative. However, be aware that the prolonged use of laxatives is not desirable and may lead to a dependency. If it is more severe, other action may have to be taken.
Alternative practitioners will attack this problem by encouraging the patient to correct their lifestyle. This will include such things as dietary changes to include more fibre, drinking plenty of filtered water and exercising regularly.
Exercise - Exercise at anything you enjoy doing as long as it is safe and gets your heart working. Usually for about 20 - 30 minutes per day. However, if you have not exercised in a while you may have to work up to this length of time.
Herbal Therapies - You can purchase potentially useful herbal remedies. Try small amounts to test the effect they have on you or take them as recommended by a Professional. Liquorice, aniseed and valerian root with chickweed.
Homoeopathy - There are specially prepared remedies that may assist you.
You should start with increasing the amount of fibre in your diet and this is not difficult. Eat more raw fruits and vegetables, especially peas, beans, and broccoli, bran cereals, whole-wheat bread, and dried fruits such as raisins, figs, and prunes. These foods are rich in vitamins and minerals as well! Avoid red meat, chicken, milk and cheese
Otherwise, try a fibre supplement.. But remember to have lots of water with these.
Another way to treat constipation is to drink a glass of warm water with the juice of a whole lemon in it after waking up in the morning.