The Dirtiest of All Dirty Words – Constipation

Constipation is one of those taboo subjects that people feel very embarrassed to talk about with friends and loved ones, but it’s an extremely common problem that affects around 2% of the American public on a daily basis. Women and seniors are at the highest risk for constipation, particularly pregnant or breastfeeding women because of the hormone progesterone that is being released in their bodies in larger than normal quantities. It’s difficult to gauge when constipation has become a problem with an individual, because many people vary in the amount of time spent between passing stools by as much as a week. However, the usual rule of thumb for diagnosis is three days. If three days or more have passed between bowl movements, then it’s time to pull out the prune juice and over the counter stool softeners. It should be noted, however, that pregnant and breastfeeding women should always consult their OBGYN before using any over the counter medications, as many stool softeners and laxatives are considered unsafe for a developing baby. The symptoms of constipation include: lack of bowl movement for three days or more, hard stools that are difficult to pass, pain, vomiting, swollen abdomen, and small (pellet like) bowels. Constipation can be caused by a number of things, the most common of which being: eating disorders, stress, too much dairy, sedentary lifestyle, not enough water, lack of fiber, hypothyroidism, pregnancy, travel, and irritable bowel syndrome. Constipation can leave you feeling icky to say the least, so it’s important to lead a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent the development of this rather uncomfortable condition.

Tips to alleviate constipation:

-Drink plenty of water [at least 1.5 to 2 quarts of water daily]

-Get at least 30 minutes of light aerobic exercise daily

-Yoga & stretching

-Eat a nutritious, high fiber diet

-Avoid intaking too much iron

-Drink warm prune juice [in the morning on an empty stomach is the most effective]

-Eat plenty of fruits and veggies [beans, peans, berries, avocados, broccoli, etc…]

 

Foods high in fiber:

-Bran

-Broccoli

-Cabbage

-Berries

-Leafy green vegetables

-Celery

-Squash

-Kidney beans

-Mushrooms

-Oranges

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