Guide to Preventing and Relieving Constipation
Are you having trouble going to the bathroom? Do you often feel bloated and uncomfortable? Ae you low on energy because you're full of you-know-what?!
Let's be honest, do you want to be full of part-digested food?
We all know there's a bit of a taboo talking about poo but if you're suffering from constipation - let's talk about it!
What is constipation?
Constipation is a common problem - it affects more people than you think!
Because we're don't talk about our tummy troubles, you probably have no idea how many people are suffering in silence.
It happens for a variety of reasons and people often search for foods that relieve constipation fast.
But you have lots of daily choices you make related to your digestion that you might not consider could be part of the cause of your constipation.
It can have a negative impact on your health if left untreated - but there's also plenty of ways you can help stop it happening regularly, and to help relieve it when it does happen.
In this blog post, we share 5 easy ways to help stop getting backed up but also to relieve constipation.
How constipation affects the body
Constipation can have a number of negative effects on the body. Constipation can cause bloating, pain, and gas. Not fun - right?
Constipation can also lead to haemorrhoids (piles) and other health problems including diverticulitis, intestinal blockages, and colon cancer.
Yes these are the extreme outcomes, but with the sad news about Dame Deborah James, we're all talking more about our gut health. And we're all starting to think about toilet time - thinking about how we all do it but we don't like to talk about.
If you're constipated, it's important you consider the lifestyle factors that you can control that might be helping or hindering how your digestive health is at the time and do what you can to heal your gut as soon as possible.
Relief from constipation
A lot is going on in your digestive system. And we can take it for granted when it's working well. But how can you get relief from constipation?
Some people experience constipation regularly, others it's a less common experience. There are a number of things you can do to relieve constipation.
Here's the 5 things you should do if you have constipation regularly:
- At least 2L of water every day
- Chew your food until it's liquidy
- Walk after eating large meals (or other movement if you have a disability or injury)
- Abdominal massage
- Keep a food and bowel movement diary - track this so you can find trends (and you can also use this information to guide conversation with your doctor if you need it)
Top Tip for Constipation prevention and relief: At least 2L of water every day
We need to drink water for good digestion and to prevent constipation.
Water is essential for good digestion. It helps to break down food and move it through the digestive system.
When you're constipated, your stool can become hard and dry, making it difficult to pass. Drinking plenty of water will help to keep your stool soft and easy to pass.
Your digestive system needs plenty of water to function properly. So, if you are constipated, be sure to drink plenty of water every day.
How much water should you drink?
The amount of water you need to drink depends on a number of factors, including your age, activity level, and health.
Most experts recommend that adults drink eight glasses of water a day.
If you're constipated, you may need to drink more water than usual to help relieve your symptoms - 2 litres is a guide, and if you live in a hotter climate, or do a lot of exercise, more water is needed by your digestion to work at its best.
Top Tip for Constipation prevention: Chew your food until it's liquidy
Another way to improve digestion is to chew your food until it's liquidy.
This helps the whole process by breaking down food and making it easier to pass through the digestive system.
Think about it, the smaller the bits of food you put in, the easier it is for your body to process it, break it down further and send all the lovely nutrients around your body.
When you chew your food, you also produce more saliva. Saliva contains enzymes that help to break down food.
The more you chew, the more saliva is produced in the mouth, which then helps send the food on its way into your digestive system to do its job.
So, if you are constipated, be sure to chew your food well before swallowing.
Some studies show you should chew each mouthful between 30 and 50 times - are you doing this? (This study also shows that chewing more helps maintain weight)
We took a chewing challenge - it's a quick read if you know this is something you could work on!
Top Tip for Constipation prevention: Walk after eating large meals
Walking is a great way to improve digestion. Walking helps to move food through the digestive system and can also help to relieve constipation. Of course other movement is OK if you're not able to walk due to a disability or injury.
A study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology found that walking reduces the time it takes for food to travel through the large intestine. The study found that walking just 30 minutes a day can reduce the time it takes for food to travel through the large intestine by up to 24 hours.
Walking is a great way to get your blood flowing and help digest your food.
It's true that there are a lot of benefits to walking, but many people don't realise that one of those benefits is improved digestion. It's also easy, free, and something you can do anywhere.
So, if you are constipated, be sure to take a walk after eating large meals. This will help your body to digest food more quickly and may help to relieve your symptoms.
Top Tip for Constipation prevention: Abdominal massage
Abdominal massage is another great way to improve digestion and relieve constipation. Massaging the abdomen helps to stimulate the digestive system and can help to move food through the digestive tract.
A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that abdominal massage is an effective treatment for constipation. The study found that massage helped to reduce constipation symptoms in a group of people with chronic constipation.
So, if you are constipated, be sure to try abdominal massage. This simple technique may help to relieve your symptoms and improve your overall health.
Abdominal massage isn't suitable for everyone, including pregnant women but for those who experience bloating and slow digestion, this is a go-to to help keep things moving. And you can do it yourself!
Top Tip for Constipation awareness and just good gut health: Keep a food and bowel movement diary
This is one of the best things you can do for your digestive health. Keeping a food diary can help you to identify trigger foods that may be causing constipation.
It might also show you other trends that you tend to get constipated on certain days or times - so it might help you see patterns or trends in your lifestyle that are maybe impacting your digestion.
A bowel movement diary can also be helpful. This can help you to identify patterns in your bowel movements and may help you to find the cause of your constipation.
So, if you're constipated, be sure to keep a food and bowel movement diary.
This simple technique may help you to identify the root cause of your problem and may help you to find a solution that works for you.
Other things to consider
There are many other things that you can do to improve digestion and relieve constipation. These are just some of the most effective techniques that we've found. They're all back by experience, science and what our clients say works!
- Eat more fibre: Fibre is important for good digestion. It helps to add bulk to stool and makes it easier to pass through the digestive system.
- Avoid processed foods: Processed foods are difficult to digest and can often lead to constipation.
- Rest and relaxation: Stress can often lead to constipation. Be sure to take time for yourself and relax. This will help your digestive system to function properly.
If you're constipated, be sure to try these simple techniques. They may help you to find relief from your symptoms and improve your overall health.
And remember, if you're ever in doubt, consult with a qualified healthcare professional for advice. They'll be able to give you the best advice for your individual situation - you should bring as much information as you can to help guide the conversation. Thanks for reading! We hope this has helped!
Please note: If you have any concerns about your health, please consult with a qualified healthcare professional. This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition - here's a link to the NHS website which outlines times you should definitely see a doctor.