Constipation is one of the most common problems, causing considerable discomfort, as well as embarrassing symptoms like gas, bloating, and flatulence. The problem is so pervasive because of our modern lifestyle that chronic or severe constipation is estimated to affect around 14% of India’s urban population!
Although constipation is certainly not life threatening, it can lead to serious complications like hemorrhoids or piles and intestinal blockages if not dealt with appropriately. To control the problem and avoid making it worse, try to avoid these diet and lifestyle habits.
Things You Shouldn’t Do When Constipated
1. Eating Processed Food
Processed foods slow down digestion because of their high fat content, but more worrying is their content of fructans, a type of carb that helps preserve such foods, but also impedes digestion. This means you need to avoid not just junk foods like samosas and burgers, but also bread and pasta.
2. Skipping The Gym
A sedentary lifestyle with little physical activity is one of the major risk factors for chronic constipation, as it is linked with low blood flow to the gut and reduced gut movement. This means that skipping the gym is one of the worst things you can do. Exercising increases blood flow to all the organs, including the digestive organs, thereby stimulating it and facilitating bowel movements.
3. Taking Supplements
We don’t mean all supplements, but any supplement containing iron or calcium should be avoided when constipated, as these essential minerals can slow bowel contractions, increasing constipation. If your doctor has prescribed the supplements, ask for alternatives before stopping their usage.
4. Using Pain Medications
Whether you’re taking prescription painkillers or are self-medicating, you need to be careful. Several common painkillers and NSAIDs, including ibuprofen can cause severe constipation. If your doctor has prescribed such medications, ask for substitutes and if you’re self-medicating discontinue the use of such drugs.
5. Depending On Laxatives
Laxatives may seem like a godsend when you’re battling stubborn poop that refuses to come out, but frequent use of such pharmaceuticals can give rise to chronic constipation and laxative dependence. This means that you develop sluggish bowels, a condition in which it becomes impossible to pass stools without the use of laxatives. The colon loses its ability to contract and expel stools naturally.
In addition to identifying the possible causes of constipation and making appropriate changes to your diet and lifestyle, be on the lookout for sudden changes in bowel movements. If your constipation problem does not resolve with such interventions or if it persists for a few days, you should seek medical help. At times, severe constipation can be indicative of more serious ailments like an intestinal blockage or colorectal cancer.