Constipation is common. Most people have had constipation at some point in their lives, but although constipation can bring pain and frustration, few talk about it. Women are much more likely to suffer from constipation than men, and it is also more common in older people.

Fortunately, in most cases constipation is only temporary and simple lifestyle changes (basic diet) can eliminate this unpleasant problem.

Constipation is an irregular and difficult bowel movement, hard and sparse stools and a feeling of insufficient bowel movements.

When it comes to irregular bowel movements, many wonder what exactly that means. The fact is that the period between discharges is different for different people. Some people need to empty 3 times a week, and some 2-3 times a day. It is estimated that 95% of people perform 3 to 21 bowel movements per week and this is considered normal.

From a medical point of view, constipation is defined as less than 3 bowel movements per week.

Symptoms of constipation include:

-less than three bowel movements per week;
-hard stools;
-difficulty emptying;
-feeling of insufficient bowel movements.

You are considered to have constipation if you have had at least 2 of these symptoms over a period of 3 months. Constipation can also cause bloating, vomiting, and abdominal pain that disappear after emptying the bowels.

You should contact a doctor immediately if:

-you have severe abdominal pain;
-you have bloody stools;
-you feel rectal pain;
-diarrhea occurs after constipation, because it is a sign of irritable bowel syndrome;
-achieve significant weight loss;
-in 3-4 days you only feel the need to empty your bowels once even though you have changed your diet and exercise more often.

The most common causes of constipation are:

-insufficient fluid intake or dehydration;
-insufficient consumption of fiber-rich foods;
-absence of physical activity;
-irritable bowel syndrome;
-lifestyle changes (diet, travel, pregnancy, etc.);
-ignoring the need to empty the bowels or delaying emptying;
-frequent use of laxatives;
-thyroid disease (hypothyroidism), Parkinson’s disease, high blood pressure, depression, hemorrhoids;
certain drugs.

In most cases, simple changes in diet and lifestyle are enough to improve the condition and eliminate the unpleasant symptoms of constipation. But if such changes do not improve the condition, sometimes medical treatment and laxatives are needed.

Here’s what you can do to help yourself:

1.Eat foods rich in fiber. The best sources of fiber are: fruits (apples, black plums, pears, apricots, oranges, bananas), vegetables (tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, carrots), legumes and cereals.
2.Eat less sugar. People who consume more sugar are more likely to suffer from constipation. Limit your consumption of sugar, ice cream and sweets.
3.Exercise regularly. Walk several times a day for 10-15 minutes and you will improve the work of the digestive system. If you are physically active, focus on aerobic exercise, running, swimming or dancing. Certain yoga poses are thought to relieve the symptoms of constipation.
4.Drink plenty of fluids. How much fluid a person should drink depends on many factors such as gender, age, health, physical activity and other environmental factors, but it is generally accepted that 8 glasses of water should be consumed every day. Limit caffeine consumption (coffee, sodas), as caffeine can cause dehydration.
5.Do not ignore the need to empty the bowels. The longer you wait, the more water is absorbed by the stool and it becomes a confirmation. Of course, when you do not have access to a toilet you will have to delay, but visit the toilet at the first opportunity.
6.Avoid strict diets. Many girls starve in order to lose weight and this can cause digestive disorders. Avoid diets that do not include high-fiber foods.

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