Fighting Constipation in Women: 8 Tips

· March 29, 2015
More than 20% of people worldwide suffer from difficulties caused by chronic constipation, especially women. Here are 8 keys to fighting constipation.

 Constipation.  Who hasn’t had it once or twice? Problems with the intestinal tract are definitely one of the most common health-related issues throughout the world.  Something more than 20% of people suffer from it, especially women.  It can cause abdominal swelling, pain, and gas.  That’s why we’re going to give you 8 keys to fighting constipation in this article.

According to statistics, women tend to suffer from constipation more often than men, which is why we want to offer you a few definitions and explanatory guidelines so you can begin fighting constipation today.  Let’s take a look.

Why does constipation occur primarily in women?

Health pain liver

Hormonal influence

Once again, certain women’s hormones are responsible for their predisposition to constipation.  All of this is due to cycle changes produced during menstruation. Such variations affect the intestines, causing them to become slower and more static during bowel movements, hindering healthy defecation.

Dietary influences

Certain dietary habits can play a role in causing constipation.  Very restrictive diets that don’t include much fiber and don’t provide enough nutritional variety can, and often do, negatively affect intestinal health.  One must keep in mind that, when following any sort of diet, caution is key.

Guidelines for fighting constipation

1. Complete breakfast

Healthy breakfast

Specific dietary restrictions must be followed.  Breakfast foods, especially those rich in fiber, are indispensable.  It is also very important to include whole grains like oatmeal and foods containing bran. Organic orange juice and plant-based milks such as canary grass-milk are great too.  Certain fruits such as plums, as well as water infused with chamomile or mint, could also help with fighting constipation.

2. Light dinners

Cucumber slices

People often make the mistake of consuming heavy dinners late into the night.  This could either be brought about because of work or other obligations, or because they tend to get home late and hungry, and by the time they’ve made a decision on what to eat it is already very late.  This is something to watch out for.

At night, our digestive system starts to slow down.  This causes intestinal movement to move more slowly.  We then begin to digest less than normal, until little by little it leads to constipation.  According to doctors, the last meal of the day should take place in the early evening, at least 2 hours before going to bed.

3. Choose your vegetables well

Eggplant to lose weight

We all know that vegetables and legumes are excellent at regulating and fighting constipation.  But each person should determine how well these vegetables settle with them.  Keep in mind that, for example, broccoli, cauliflower, and artichokes cause flatulence and, at times, they aren’t as good for us as we thought.

Consuming salads in the late evening is sometimes not such a good idea either, because lettuce and other leafy greens also cause gas.  But each body reacts differently, so it’s best to “stick to your gut” when choosing what vegetables are right for you.  Eggplant is generally a very good alternative.

4. Fruit with the peel intact

Apple peels help weight loss

Whenever possible, it is best to consume fruit with the skin intact.  For example, experts recommend that, if we begin to feel hungry at midday, we eat an apple with the skin still on it.  During breakfast, whenever you have orange juice, don’t remove the pulp.  It is excellent for promoting intestinal movement.  Pears, kiwis, strawberries, grapes and plums are also great at helping fight constipation.

5. Be careful with diets

Drink water

Every time we start a new diet, we want to make sure it is a varied diet that contains all our basic nutrient needs: a good amount of minerals, vitamins, proteins and fiber.  Fiber is essential, as well as sufficient intake of liquids.  Always remember to drink at least 2 liters of water a day, along with natural juices.

6. Yes to olive oil

Benefits of including olive oil in your diet

In small amounts, olive oil can present a huge help.  In fact, it might be doctor’s only recommendable fat source.  Introducing olive oil–in moderation–to our meals promotes intestinal movement, thereby preventing constipation.  So do not be afraid to include it.

7. Be careful with forbidden foods

Avoid gaining weight if you eat sweets

In order to fight the effects of constipation we should avoid consuming any foods that are difficult for the body to process, as well as those that are damaging, e.g. refined flour, fried or seasoned foods, industrial products, sweets… all of these contain extra sugars and fats which tend to harden feces, making them difficult to pass.  Cured cheeses and rice have a similar effect, so it’s best to combat constipation through a more moderate consumption.

8. A bit of exercise

Exercise to help fighting constipation

This may be the most important. Try going outside for at least half an hour every day to walk, bike, swim… it’s much easier if done with a friend.  But do some sort of exercise within your abilities, because this will help intestinal movement.  No doubt about it, exercise is good for health and for preventing not only constipation, but several other diseases as well.  So, what are you waiting for?

Calabriso, N., Scoditti, E., Pellegrino, M., & Annunziata Carluccio, M. (2014). Olive Oil. In The Mediterranean Diet: An Evidence-Based Approach. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-407849-9.00013-0

Garza, J. M., & Kaul, A. (2014). Constipation. In Pediatric Gastroenterology: A Color Handbook. https://doi.org/10.1201/b16722

Larson, N. I., Nelson, M. C., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Story, M., & Hannan, P. J. (2009). Making Time for Meals: Meal Structure and Associations with Dietary Intake in Young Adults. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jada.2008.10.017