Chronic Constipation: A Dangerous Problem?
Constipation, a frequent disorder
Who out there can say they’ve never suffered from this ailment? Almost all of us have had to deal with constipation at some point in our lives; others may deal with it more frequently. This means going days and sometimes even weeks without being able to go to the bathroom normally. It’s a fact that not everyone is able to defecate regularly without pain; however, dealing with chronic constipation means a much more serious problem.
Are you one of those people that tends to use medications to help you “go to the bathroom”? Sometimes, it’s true, you have no other option left, but, as a general rule, these medications are not recommended. Ideally, you should adjust your eating habits and other behaviors so that your body can gradually regulate this situation.
A sedentary lifestyle, a lack of fiber intake, a poor diet and not drinking enough liquids are undoubtedly the main factors that cause people to suffer from constipation. And watch out, because women are more likely to deal with this condition. Why? It’s basically a matter of anatomy; the female body is more vulnerable to this type of problem.
You might also like: 8 Tips for Fighting Constipation in Women
We should also explain that “defecating” is different from person to person. We don’t all digest food in the same way, and it may be easier or harder for some people. However, the most normal situation would be to go to the bathroom once per day, without pain or excess effort. Regardless, we know that this isn’t always the case.
How do I know if I’m constipated?
You can identify a problem with constipation if you:
- Defecate three times per week (or less).
- Have fecal matter that is either very liquid or very, very solid.
- Have to try very hard, for at least 10 or 15 minutes.
- Feel bloated, heavy, and gassy.
- Sometimes get headaches.
If you’ve been dealing with this situation for more than 3 months, you may be suffering from chronic constipation.
When does it become chronic constipation?
You know that constipation isn’t healthy and that you should definitely do your best to prevent it. Keep in mind that if your body is not able to get rid of all the excess waste that builds up inside it, this waste may end up making you sick. This is true because your intestines may become inflamed, loaded with a level of toxins that keep your body from properly absorbing the nutrients in the foods you eat.
Feeling constipated once or twice a month is normal. But, if you are faced with chronic constipation, you should pay attention to the following symptoms, as they can indicate a more serious condition and would mean that you should definitely see your doctor:
- You have very painful stomach cramps and experience great discomfort when going to the bathroom, even causing you to vomit.
- Around 7 days can go by without you going to the bathroom unless you take proper medication.
- If you find blood in your feces (in this case see your doctor immediately).
- If you tend to oscillate between constipation and diarrhea.
- Look at the shape of your feces. If they are very skinny, let your doctor know, because this isn’t healthy.
- Make sure that you are not suddenly losing weight. This could be a direct symptom of something going on in your body, such as losing nutrients.
- An added risk of constipation is the risk of getting hemorrhoids. If you constantly have to try very hard to go to the bathroom, you will end up damaging your intestines. If you see any abnormality in your anus or any blood, go straight to your doctor.
Read also: 6 Ways to Cure Hemorrhoids Naturally
Easy tips to prevent constipation
1. Move around a little more.
2. Morning aloe vera juice with lemon or kiwi. To make this simple and effective drink, just mix water (at room temperature) with one tablespoon of aloe vera. Let it dissolve and then add the juice from half a lemon. You can also prepare this by mixing the aloe vera with two kiwis in a blender. Delicious!
3. A bowl of papaya, walnuts and greek yoghurt. This is a great breakfast alternative. It gives you fiber, vitamins and bacteria that is great for intestinal health.
4. Oatmeal with prunes. Another great breakfast option.
5. Whole grain rice. This is a perfect element to incorporate into your lunch. Brown rice is great to help purify your body and provides you with lots of fiber and antioxidants.
6. Plenty of liquids. Water, natural juices… these are all perfect for staying hydrated throughout the day. Plus, they stimulate intestinal movement and detoxification. Drink at least two liters per day.
7. Eat several small meals throughout the day. You should never skip any meals, breakfast especially. It’s important to keep an eating schedule so that your body can stick to a routine. Also, make sure not to eat big dinners. A light, balanced dinner will help you fight off constipation.
8. Yes to fruits and vegetables. You can eat salads or prepare natural juices that mix fruits and vegetables. Need a few ideas? Try Swiss chard, honeydew melon and lime; carrot, pineapple, watermelon and ginger; or watermelon, tomato and basil. All three are delicious!
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Chang CC., Lin YT., Liu YS., Liu JF., KIwifruit improves bowel function in patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 2010. 19 (4): 451-7.
- Tabbers MM., Benninga MA., Constipation in children: fibre and probiotics. BMJ Clin Evid, 2015.
- Costilla VC., Foxx Orenstein AE., Constipation: understanding mechanisms and management. Clin Geriatr Med, 2014. 30 (1): 107-15.