/ I Haven’t Changed Diet But All Of A Sudden I’m Constipated
I am being asked about this a lot. The biggie to be aware of is that there are four things that can impact our bowel movements: diet, stress, morning routine and exercise. So while your diet might not have altered, if your lifestyle has, this could be why. Good news is, there are loads of strategies that can help.
We might be socially distancing, but try to make the most of your one bout of outdoor exercise per day. Power walking, particularly in the morning has been shown to help stimulate your bowels. Follow my gut directed yoga flow, or there are also many great YouTube workout videos and yoga flows, so try to get moving for at least 30 minutes most days.
Pick up some prunes or green kiwi fruit
Studies have shown that 100g prunes or two kiwis per day can help as a ânatural remedyâ for constipation. Tip: start at a half portion for the first week to give your gut time to adjust to the extra stimulation.
Make time for mindfulness
Just 15 minutes a day of meditation, or using a mindfulness app can help to combat stress and rewire the gut-brain axis. Try Headspace.
Fill up on fibre
Oats, lentils, chickpeas, whole-grains, quinoa, nuts and seeds are all great store cupboard sources of fibre. Frozen veggies and fruit all count too. Where you can, mix up the varieties so youâre still getting plenty of diversity. Try to aim for 30g of fibre per day, which might look like:
Pop in the Poo-pourri
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Why Does Constipation Occur
There are three main physical causes. One of the causes is where the muscles of the intestine and large bowel stop working properly this results in slow movement of contents through the bowel down to the rectum . This is termed slow transit constipation and patients have an infrequent urge to go to the toilet.
Another type of constipation is called obstructed defaecation where the movement of the bowel is normal, but the person experiences symptoms of difficulty with emptying their bowel. Patients may need to strain, and feel they cannot empty. There are some patients who have both slow transit and obstructed defaecation.
Finally, there is constipation-predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome when the person has difficulty with bowel opening and abdominal pain associated with not going. This type of constipation can be made worse with stress or depression.
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Types Of Constipation Among The Elderly
How Can Constipation Affect You
Although people often worry about it, there is no reason to believe that constipation causes a poisoning of the system. It can cause feelings of sluggishness and bloating, but there is no evidence that bugs or toxins leak from the bowel into any other part of the body. Another common idea is that constipation may lead to cancer but there is no evidence that long-term constipation increases the chances of getting bowel cancer.
It is important to remember that the vast majority of cases of constipation are easily resolved with simple diet, lifestyle or medication change. However if constipation does not respond to different treatments there can be medium to long term effects including:
- Haemorrhoids or fissures: bleeding from haemorrhoids, or more rarely a fissure at the anus, is the commonest complication of constipation.
- Rectal prolapse: chronic straining can lead to the rectal wall protruding out through the anus.
- Faecal impaction: elderly or immobile patients may get so badly constipated that they quite literally get bunged up and this will need prompt treatment by either the GP or hospital.
- Diverticular disease: this is where small hard stools lead to increased intestinal contractions, creating pressure which causes the inner section of the intestine to bulge through the protective outer tube of muscle which surrounds it, creating a little pouch of intestine .
Also Check: Irritable Bowel Syndrome Mayo
How To Relieve Constipation Naturally
Constipation is usually a result of too little fiber in the diet, combined with excess consumption of binding foods . A quick way to turn constipation around is to eat some fiber-rich snacks like raw vegetables, raw fruit, beans, nuts, and seeds. Combining these snacks with fresh fruit juice is sure to get your digestive system moving!
Another important thing to note is that, for some individuals, caffeine can exacerbate constipation symptoms others will suggest that caffeine keeps them regular. Since caffeine can be both a diuretic and a bowel stimulant, you need to be careful how you use this chemical when you are constipated. If you think you might be dehydrated, try drinking some water before you have that glass of tea or coffee.
What To Ask Your Doctor
- Could any of my medications be causing my constipation and if so is there an alternative?
- What dietary or lifestyle changes do you suggest I introduce?
- Are laxatives suitable for me and if so which one would be best for me to use?
- How will my constipation be monitored?
- Are there any over the counter remedies which will reduce the chances of me getting haemorrhoids or an anal tear?
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How To Prevent Constipation In The Elderly
The same diet and lifestyle changes used to treat constipation should be adopted to prevent constipation from ever occurring. So drink plenty of fluids, eat lots of fiber-rich foods, avoid processed foods, be physically active, dont ignore bowel movement urges, and try sticking to a schedule to prevent constipation.
But which foods can cause and which ones help prevent constipation? Have a look in the following table:
|Foods that cause constipation in seniors:||Foods good for constipation in the elderly:|
No Toxins Don’t Build Up In Your Bowel
This is a common misconception, but it’s an incorrect one. Yes, stool is made up of waste, and is meant to be exiting the body but the colon is pretty good at containing it, even in cases of constipation, and its presence will cause you discomfort but not sicken you through the extended presence of “toxins”. The only real risk of bacterial infection is if waste products manage to get into any wounds in the colon or rectum, and that’s by no means a guaranteed side effect more like very bad luck.
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/ I Am More Gassy And Bloated Than Before
Again, any change in the four lifestyle factors mentioned above can impact this. One possible reason is that a lot of people are eating more legumes a the moment â things like lentils and chickpeas â everything you’ve stocked up on for maybe not being able to go to the shops so much.
They are prebiotic. This is good, it means they feed your gut bacteria. However, they create gas when the bacteria in your stomach eat them. This gas can create extra tension â especially if you are already stressed. If you are going from eating a little to eating a lot, try to go up over time, not from ‘zero’ to ‘with every meal.’
Also, some people are living in gym gear in lockdown. That pressure on your stomach can create tension and lead to bloating.
Diet And Lifestyle Changes
- Drink enough fluids: Making sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration is one of the key things in preventing your stool from becoming dry and hard.
- Increase fiber intake: Eating foods rich in fiber is another sure way of preventing constipation in elderly people. Fiber increases the overall weight of your stool and also speeds its passage through your intestines.
- Be physically active every day: Exercise increases the muscle activity in your intestines, speeding up the passage of stool.
- Dont ignore bowel movements: Never ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. Avoiding defecation makes the stool drier and harder.
- Try creating a schedule for bowel movements: Having and maintaining a regular bowel movement schedulefor example, in the morning or after mealsis a good way to avoid becoming constipated.
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Eating When You Have Constipation
Try these things to relieve your constipation:
- Do not skip meals.
- Avoid processed or fast foods, such as white breads, pastries, doughnuts, sausage, fast-food burgers, potato chips, and French fries.
Many foods are good natural laxatives that will help you move your bowels. High-fiber foods help move waste through your body. Add foods with fiber to your diet slowly, because eating more fiber can cause bloating and gas.
Drink 8 to 10 cups of liquids, particularly water, every day.
Ask your health care provider how much fiber to take each day. Males, females, and different age groups all have different daily fiber needs.
Most fruits will help ease constipation. Berries, peaches, apricots, plums, raisins, rhubarb, and prunes are just some of the fruits that may help. Do not peel fruits that have edible skins, because a lot of the fiber is in the skin.
Choose breads, crackers, pasta, pancakes, and waffles made with whole grains, or make your own. Use brown rice or wild rice instead of white rice. Eat high-fiber cereals.
Vegetables can also add fiber to your diet. Some high-fiber vegetables are asparagus, broccoli, corn, squash, and potatoes . Salads made with lettuce, spinach, and cabbage will also help.
Legumes , peanuts, walnuts, and almonds will also add fiber to your diet.
Other foods you can eat are:
- Fish, chicken, turkey, or other lean meats. These do not have fiber, but they will not make constipation worse.
- Snacks such as raisin cookies, fig bars, and popcorn.
Signs Symptoms And Causes
You might feel bloated and have pain, or you might have to strain when you try to go.
Some medicines, and even some vitamins, can make you constipated. You can get constipated if you do not get enough fiber, drink enough water, or get enough exercise. You can also get constipated if you put off going to the bathroom even though you have the urge to go.
Try to get to know your normal bowel movement pattern, so that you can keep constipation from getting worse.
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How To Relieve Constipation
One of the easiest ways to end your bout of constipation is to take a stool softener. Start with small doses and work your way up to a higher dosage if you must. The goal is just to get the bowels moving, not to give yourself diarrhea. Keep in mind that stool softeners also may artificially moisten your stool in order to get it to pass. Drink plenty of water to ensure that you dont get dehydrated while taking stool softeners.
Treatment For Constipation In Elderly People
To begin the treatment of chronic constipation, all underlying conditions that may be causing it should first be diagnosed and properly managed. Also, a revision of all medications should be done to identify and find substitutes for those causing constipation, if possible. Then, we can proceed to implementing other lifestyle changes, drugs, procedures, and home remedies for constipation in elderly people.
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Constipation And Back Pain
It’s not unusual for constipation and back pain to occur together.
In some cases, constipation may indirectly result from back pain. That is, you can become constipated after taking certain pain medications, particularly drugs such as opiates.
In other cases, constipation and back pain may both be symptoms of another health issue.
For instance, irritable bowel syndrome can cause both constipation and backaches, even though the two symptoms may not be directly related.
This condition occurs when a large chunk of dry, hard stool gets trapped in the rectum and you’re unable to push it out.
Fecal impaction is especially common if you’re constipated for a long time and are taking a lot of laxatives.
Your body becomes accustomed to the medication and “forgets” how to normally pass stool once you stop taking the laxatives.
If you have a fecal impaction, the hardened stool may press on the sacral nerves of the lower back, resulting in back pain.
This back pain will remain until its source the impaction is removed through a procedure that usually involves a doctor manually reaching into the rectum to break up the hardened stool.
Constipation In Young Children
Children with constipation will usually pass hard poos, like sheep pellets, and this will often be painful.
They may hold on, cross legs, run around or refuse to go to the toilet because it is painful to pass a hard poo. This results in further drying out of the poo as it sits in your childs bowel, resulting in a vicious cycle.
They may also have a tummy pain that comes and goes.
Sometimes chronic constipation in children can lead to overflow of loose poos which looks like diarrhoea.
Constipation in children that is persistent will usually require assessment by your family doctor and over-the-counter laxatives should be avoided.
If you have questions about your childs bowel motions, call PlunketLine on .
Constipation Might Be Serious It Should Not Be Left Untreated
6 minute read
Although occasional constipation is very common, some people may experience chronic constipation that largely interferes with their daily tasks. Chronic constipation may also cause excessive straining and pain to have a bowel movement. More importantly, if it is overlooked and left untreated, it can eventually lead to serious complications such as hemorrhoids and anal fissure . Owning to relevant symptoms and complications considerably impair patients quality of life, being aware of warning signs of constipations contributes to appropriate and timely treatments.
Heres What It Actually Means To Be Constipated
The common conception of constipation is pretty straightforward: It basically means you cant poop, right? Sure, yes. But if youre trying to figure out the trouble youre having with your bowel movements, cant poop doesnt exactly cover all that constipation can entail. Luckily, there are a couple of specific symptoms of constipation to be on the lookout for, according to the Mayo Clinic and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases . If youre dealing with any of the following, you can probably consider yourself constipated:
- Passing fewer than three stools a week
- Having poop thats lumpy, hard, or dry
- Needing to strain to poop
- Feeling like theres some sort of blockage preventing you from pooping
- Feeling like theres still leftover poop that you cant empty no matter how hard you try
- Needing help to poop, like pressing on your stomach or using your fingers to remove stool from your rectum
All that said, these symptoms can fall on a spectrum from NBD to you should see someone about that. Doctors generally think of constipation in two ways: occasional, meaning you experience these symptoms here and there, and chronic, which many professionals consider as experiencing at least two of these symptoms for three months or more, Kyle Staller, M.D., M.P.H., a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF.
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Get To Know Constipation
In general perception, constipation might refer to some abnormal bowel movements such as absence of stool, reduced frequency in defecation, and hard stools which are difficult to pass. Not only these abnormal conditions, constipation also includes one of these manifestations:
- Having lumpy or hard stools.
- Passing fewer than three stools per week.
- Difficult stool passage defined as needing help or longer time to empty the rectum.
- Straining to have bowel movements which might be presented with bloody stool.
- Feeling that rectum is not completely empty after bowel movement.
Constipation has been frequently found in women rather men. It can actually happen at any age groups, with more incidences in working age.