Constipation is a very common condition affecting about 14% of the US population. Females and elderly are more likely to report constipation. It accounts for about 3.2 million visits each year to the doctor looking for relief. Constipation is when stool becomes hard, dry, and difficult to pass, and bowel movements don't happen very often. Red flags would be fewer than 3 bowel movements per week and going longer than 3 days without a complete bowel movement. Other symptoms may include painful bowel movements, and feeling bloated, uncomfortable, and sluggish. Stools should be soft, pass comfortably without straining, and be sausage-shaped.
Constipation and Diet
What you are eating is the first place to look when it comes to constipation. A lack of fiber is the most common reason. Only 3% of Americans get the recommended 35g of fiber daily. But constipation can also be related to other factors such as poor abdominal muscle tone, inactivity or immobility, and prolonged use of opioid medications.
Constipation can be a debilitating condition. Options to address include:
Fiber supplements (psyllium, flax)
Stimulant type laxatives (senna, aloe)
Tweaks to diet and lifestyle also play a role. Consuming more fibrous foods like fruits, vegetables and grains can increase stool frequency. Increasing intake of water can prevent dehydration and keep stool from becoming harder. Walking and other exercises keeps things moving as well. Keep a food log to correctly pinpoint foods with bowel movements.
There are several common factors related to constipation. We created our Gut Repair and Restoration Program for this reason. We can work together to rule out all possible underlying causes while working to improve diet and restore optimal gut health. Diagnostic testing can give us a more comprehensive picture of gut function and add in other treatment options. Schedule a FREE consultation to discuss our approach and let us help with your GI symptoms and discomfort.
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