What are some common causes of constipation?

tips for avoiding constipation

Constipation can be caused or worsened by a sedentary lifestyle and a diet low in fiber and high in fat. Exercise improves muscle tone throughout the body, including the digestive tract. Additionally, not responding to the urge to have a bowel movement can cause the stool to dry out in the colon, resulting in constipation.

Fiber Helps Relieve Constipation

If your bowel habits get sluggish, you don’t have to rush out to buy a laxative. Most people don’t need them for mild constipation. Instead, look at your diet. Are you getting enough fiber?

Fiber is the part of plant foods that the body can’t break down. When you eat foods that have a lot of it, the extra bulk helps keep stools soft and speeds digestion. All plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, have fiber. After age 50, we need less fiber — about 21 grams for women and 30 grams for men. Unfortunately, most of us only get about 15 grams per day, which may help explain why so many people get constipated.

Exercise to relieve constipation

The best type of exercise to help constipation is ab work. “Part of what makes our intestines move is our innate musculature,” says Dr. Nicket Sonpal MD, but the abdominal wall muscles also play a role. “When you exercise, you’re jostling around and you’re also contracting those core muscles, which helps push the poop forward.”

One more time for the people in the back: “Core exercises are going to be the best exercises for the abdomen and obviously for the promotion of poopage,” says Dr. Sonpal. (Yes, “promotion of poopage” was a real. quote.) Pair a Pilates class with a gut healthy breakfast, and you’ll be strolling smugly to the bathroom in no time.

Stay Hydrated

Water is the single most important thing you need to get more of if you want to eliminate constipation. That’s because the main cause of constipation is dehydration. And in fact, many of us go through life in a state of chronic dehydration which has many symptoms besides just constipation.

Drink more water and it will dilute the stool, helping it to break up and flow more normally. It will also aid in your production of crucial digestive enzymes and will even lubricate the tubes that your stool needs to pass through.

Constipation isn’t any fun. Our bowel movements are supposed to be easy, regular, and without much effort on our parts. Hopefully these tips will help you when you’re eating right, and it shouldn’t be a problem to have regular bowel movements that pass effortlessly.

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