Constipation is the most common digestive problem. According to epidemiological studies, this problem affects 20-40% of adults in the world. Constipation, due to its recurrent nature, significantly reduces the quality of life. So how do you counteract constipation?
1. Risk factors for constipation
Constipation is defined as less than 3 bowel movements per week, with hard stool consistency . In addition, it is accompanied by the following symptoms: increased pressure and a feeling of incomplete bowel movement.
Factors that affect constipation include:
- age over 65,
- diet low in fiber ,
- irregular nutrition
- stopping stools,
- insufficient fluid supply,
- taking medication (morphine, antihypertensive, diuretic, antifungal, ibuprofen, ranitidine, omeprazole, iron, calcium),
- mental disorders ( anxiety , depression , stress ),
- gastrointestinal diseases – intestinal cancers ,
- hypothyroidism ,
- diabetes .
In addition, constipation is conducive to climate change during travel and pregnancy.
2. Management of constipation
To start with, you need to change your lifestyle. You should eat properly balanced meals at least 3 times a day, use a high-residual diet with a lot of fiber and drink at least 3 liters of water a day. In addition, you should avoid dazzling products, which include:
- sweets (jelly, creams, halva, cakes, pies),
- Cocoa, Chocolate,
- white flour bread (fresh light rolls),
- groats and macaroni (semolina, white rice, rice flakes, wheat flour pasta),
- sour cream,
- black berries,
- peas, beans, broad beans , cabbage, cauliflower,
- strong tea
- hot drinks.
In addition, you should increase physical activity and enrich your diet with products containing probiotics (natural yogurt, kefir, buttermilk) and prebiotics (bananas).
The following medicines are used to treat constipation:
- increasing stool volume – fiber, plantain,
- osmotic – magnesium sulfate , sorbitol,
- stool softening – paraffin oil,
- irritating to the digestive tract – castor oil, buckthorn bark, glycerin,
Of these, fiber-containing preparations are the safest . These are substances of plant origin that are not digested and absorbed in the digestive system. Insoluble fiber fractions (cellulose, lignins), by binding water, increase stool mass, reduce intestinal transit time and reduce intestinal pressure. In turn, intestinal soluble fractions (pectins) take the form of a gel, limiting passage.
Thanks to this, a larger amount of bile acids and fats reach the large intestine, which are transformed by intestinal bacteria into laxative substances. In addition, water-soluble fiber stimulates the growth of intestinal bacteria, enhances fermentation and thereby increases stool mass.
Recently, a preparation from the Japanese plant – Konjac-mannan appeared on the market. Glucomannan, which is a polymer of glucose and mannose, has a positive effect on the rhythm of bowel movements by improving intestinal motility, reduces the retention time of fecal masses and facilitates their excretion.
Often people suffering from constipation use laxatives. However, this is not a good idea, because these preparations make the intestines lazy, causing a vicious circle, and make the bowel habits dependent on their intake.