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Many people face the common problem of constipation. It occurs when one is unable to pass stools daily. Or faces pain in passing hard stools (feces). Lack of fiber in our diet and dehydration mainly causes this issue. It can be a side effect of medicines. Or it could be due to an underlying medical condition. There is prescription medicine for constipation. The treatment of constipation is by laxatives. It is a group of medicines that are easily available. To avoid constipation follow a healthy lifestyle. Do this by eating healthy fiber-rich food and drinking plenty of fluids.
Eat foods that contain plenty of fiber & drink 2 liters of water per day
Fiber (roughage) is the part of plant food that is indigestible but adds bulk and softness to the stools. Slowly increase the fiber content in your diet. For example, through salads, fruits, and bran. Increase the fiber content over a period of one week. Initially one encounters bloating of the stomach and excessive wind. However, once the gut acclimates to a fibrous diet, the bloating and gas reduces. Physicians recommend starting with 30 grams of fiber per day with about 8 to 10 cups of water. The excess water will pass as urine and the absorbed water in the gut softens the stools and aids digestion. In addition, avoid alcohol as it leads to a lack of fluid in the body (dehydration).
Including sorbitol in your diet
Sorbitol is a naturally occurring sugar that is indigestible. This absorbs water and remains in the gut. As a result, the stools get soft and ease constipation. For example, fruits and natural fruit juices have high sorbitol content.
Fruits with high sorbitol content:
Regular exercise is important
Physical activity is important to keep your gut moving. Regular exercise aids digestion and helps prevent constipation. Bed-ridden people or disabled persons often face problems of constipation more than active people.
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Maintain a toilet routine
Complications due to constipation
Sometimes a minor tear in the soft anal skin can occur during the passage of hard stools. This can be painful with some fresh blood spots on the toilet paper. Severe or chronic constipation results in fecal impaction. Fecal impaction is where a large mass of hard feces blocks the rectum. This mass stretches the rectum. It may cause fecal incontinence. Fecal incontinence is where one loses control over liquid feces leaking out. You should visit your doctor who will examine the anus and remove the hard blocking fecal matter.
Constipation during pregnancy
Constipation is very common during pregnancy. Changing the diet to include more fibrous food and drinking plenty of fluid throughout the day eases symptoms. Daily physical activity and regular walk help ease the condition. Consult your doctor before consuming any prescription medicine for constipation or laxatives, to be safe.
Other reasons for constipation
Certain medicines can cause constipation as a side-effect. For example, regular use of painkillers and antidepressants. Additionally, iron tablets can also cause constipation as a side effect. Medical conditions such as an underactive thyroid gland and Irritable bowel syndrome can cause constipation. Similarly, diverticular diseases, colon cancer, can also cause constipation.