What is Constipation?
Constipation occurs when one does not pass enough bowel movements per week. People have very individual ideas about what constipation is and what constitutes "normal" bowel function. While it may be normal for one person to have a bowel movement three times a day, the next person may have one three times a week. Constipation may mean hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass, even if you go everyday. Chances are you know what is regular for you and therefore what is irregular for you also.
Causes of Constipation
In trying to understand why you sometimes experience constipation, remember that your body's needs are unique. From time to time these needs change, sometimes as a result of diet and exercise. In turn, your body responds with certain symptoms, including constipation.
Common causes of occasional constipation include:
- Poor eating habits (too much junk, caffeine, or irregular eating times to name a few)
- Diet lacking in fiber and/or liquids
- Lack of exercise
- Some medications
If you are experiencing frequent constipation and non-prescription medications do not improve your condition, be sure to tell your doctor.
Maintain regularity by adding some of these simple steps to your daily routine:
- Gradually add high fiber foods to your diet, these may include:
- dried fruit (apricots, prunes, raisins, and dates)
- unpeeled raw vegetables
- bran cereals and whole-grain breads
- Drink 8 to 10 glasses of juice or water a day.
- Follow a regular exercise program. Walking is good for the heart and body, and abdominal exercises help improve intestinal muscle tone.
- Respond to the urge to have a bowel movement, if you ignore the urge, you could prolong the problem.
- If one is recommended, take a high-fiber supplement to help you stay regular.
- Use laxatives only as your doctor recommends.
Your doctor may prescribe a laxative for you. There are many types of laxatives, each one having benefits and drawbacks for certain patients. It always good to first try to find natural ways to meet your bodies needs and avoid long term use of medication.