Constipation is a common digestive problem that disrupts a person’s normal passing of stool. While a majority of us experience short bouts of the condition, others suffer from it as a painful long-term problem.
Symptoms of Constipation
Constipation is a tricky problem to define, largely because our digestive systems all function slightly differently. What might be normal for you might not be normal for someone else.
Constipation symptoms include:
- Hard, dry or lumpy stools
- Stools that are unusually large or small
- Straining when going to the toilet
- Feeling that your bowels are full
- Fewer than three bowel movements a week (unless you know this is normal for you)
- Stomach ache or pain
- Loss of appetite
Pain caused by constipation can range from a dull, constant tummy ache to shorter, sharper cramps felt across the abdomen. If you’re experiencing more severe, unmanageable pain, it could be a sign of something more serious than symptoms of constipation. Seek advice from your GP.
Likewise, if you notice any blood coming from your back passage – appearing on toilet paper or in the toilet – it is advisable that you contact your GP.
Causes of Constipation
Struggling to clear your bowels—and passing hard, dry stools when you do — is a horrible feeling. Why does it happen? What are the root causes of constipation?
It’s not always easy to spot the exact cause of constipation, but we know that problems either begin when too much water is drawn back into your body from the large intestine, or when the muscles of the bowel aren’t working properly.
Good bacteria in your gut help you absorb the appropriate amount of water. Constipation can become an unpleasant part of your life if the numbers of good bacteria in your gut start to fall, allowing less beneficial bacteria to take over. Bad bacteria can also secrete toxins that can damage the nerves in the muscles of the intestine, slowing them down even further.
Underlying illnesses and medicines such as blood pressure drugs, iron tablets, anti-depressants, anti-convulsants and long-term use of laxatives can all affect your bowel movements.
While constipation can be caused by weight issues, stress, depression and anxiety, it’s likely that the balance of bacteria in your gut is also contributing to the problem.
Foods that cause constipation
If constipation affects you regularly, an important thing to look at is your diet. Not drinking enough fluid and not eating enough fibre are common culprits. Particular foods that cause constipation include:
- Red meat
- Dairy products
- Refined sugars in products such as fizzy drinks and desserts
- Iron-rich foods such as liver and shellfish
Some people find that laxatives are helpful constipation remedies. But they don’t work well for everyone. If used repeatedly, they can make your bowels less able to function effectively on their own. A quick fix doesn’t solve the root cause.
Rather than dealing with the symptoms, think about addressing the root causes.
Bimuno® can help encourage more good bacteria to grow inside your body. Having large numbers of good bacteria in your gut helps keep your digestive system healthy and your bowels in working order. Bimuno® Daily powder can be taken by anyone aged 4 years and above, so it is suitable for most members of the family who are suffering from constipation.
Unlike probiotics, Bimuno® reaches the lower gut intact where it can be of maximum benefit. As well as providing the ideal food for the good bacteria it also serves as an advanced form of fibre.
In addition to taking Bimuno®, you should drink plenty of fluids and eat regular meals to help relieve constipation. Eating the right foods also has a lot to do with it.
A high fibre diet can increase stool bulk, which drives your digestive system into action. For adults, aim to eat about 30 grams of fibre a day by including the following foods in every meal:
- Fruit and vegetables
- Wholemeal bread and pasta
- Wholegrain cereals
- Brown rice
If you’re not used to eating these types of food, introduce them to your body slowly. Some people find that the soluble fibre in fruit and vegetables is easier for their bodies to process.
Also, follow the urge. Don’t delay going to the toilet if you feel the need to make a bowel movement. Constipation is helped by setting a routine – deciding on a specific time each day to spend in the bathroom. But just relax—don’t force it!
Please seek advise from your GP or healthcare practitioner if you are suffering from chronic constipation, especially if it gets worse.