The Must-Knows of Having a Constipated Colon
How many times a day do you visit the most important seat in the house? Are you constipated? Do you dread sitting on the toilet from several minutes to an hour? If so, then you must digest, I mean read this.
One can truly marvel at the digestive system. It’s able to extract all the nutrients from the food and drinks you ingest, process and release them into the bloodstream and dump the excess, undigested, unnecessary parts.
It’s like your local garbage collector complete with the truck and manpower. Considering all of these go smoothly as planned, a valuable question comes to mind, how often should you go to the toilet?
The answer will depend on 3 different factors namely your age, your daily activities and what you put in your mouth (diet). Some nutrition experts would say that the normal range is 1 to 3 times per day or at least 3 times a week. There is really much variation. Deciding if you have constipation will depend largely on how you perceive it and what you were used to (regular habit).
The ideal poop (or do you prefer the term fecal matter?) shouldn’t be abnormally hard or soft. The longer your poop sits in your large intestine, the harder it will get. No parts of the comfort room should be destroyed while you’re sitting on the can trying to blast out your poop. Going number 2 should be a short, but pleasant and comfortable ride. No one has to strain excessively just to pass poop out. It should be relaxing, because believe it or not, it’s one of the true joys in life that’s certainly free of charge. Don’t take it for granted.
Causes of a Constipated Colon
Modern life has taken its toll on our health and more often than not, responsible for our constipated colon. Not enough hydration (water and NOT alcohol intake), not enough dietary fiber, not enough exercise and not allowing enough time for your constipated colon to relieve its problems. As you can read, a majority of the reasons and solutions are within your grasp.
On the other hand, having a chronically constipated colon could signal something serious. These include colorectal cancer, diabetes, hypothyroidism, irritable bowel syndrome, Parkinson’s disease or depression (I think we’ll all be depressed if we’re constipated for a long time).
Older and sedentary people tend to be more constipated than younger and more active people. The medications you’re swallowing like sweets could also cause constipation. Examples of these are listed below:
- Narcotics (your colon also goes to sleep with this medication, hence no poop movement)
- Pharmaceutical Iron Supplements
- High blood pressure medications
- Seizure medications
Your Constipated Colon Talks to You too, So Listen
How do you know that you have a constipated colon? Listen and it will tell you. The following signs and symptoms could signal that your colon is constipated.
- Compacted and hard stools which are difficult and/or painful to pass
- There’s fresh blood (bright red) in your stools from bleeding hemorrhoids
- Straining during bowel movements
- Crampy abdominal pain that’s relieved when you sit on the throne (toilet)
- Fewer number two’s (fewer bowel movements) than what you’re used to
- A feeling of wanting to go, even after you’ve already gone
When You’re Constipated Colon Raises a Red Flag
No, it doesn’t mean it’s becoming a communist. Can you imagine how grumpy that could be? A communist constipated colon. Just kidding. There are some red flags when it comes to a constipated colon which you should bring to the attention of a doctor. These are the following:
- Blood in the stool
- Pencil-thin stools or goat-like stools (a decrease in the caliber of stools – pellets)
- Constipation accompanied by fever, lower abdominal pain or abdominal enlargement
- Loss of appetite or vomiting
- Weight loss
- Loss of energy, headaches and feeling irritability
How to Prevent a Constipated Colon
A constipated colon can certainly be prevented. You should eat a diet high in fibre. Your poop contains a lot of good bacteria. Fibre provides them a good medium to grow. It also bulks up your poop, and this could lead to less turning and churning of your large intestines. The result? Smooth exit for your poop.
What type of fibre are we talking about here? There are two types of fibre you must be familiar with. Both types are equally important to prevent a constipated colon.
Soluble fibre. As the term implies, it’s soluble in water. It makes you feel full by forming a gel in your stomach. It also slows down how your stomach empties into your small intestine and has an effect on your blood sugar levels by making sure that no spikes (insulin) happen. You can obtain soluble fibre from carrots, celery, cucumbers, blueberries, dried peas, beans, nuts, strawberries, oat bran, pears, oranges, oatmeal and apples.
Insoluble fibre. This kind of fibre relaxes your large intestine. It passes through your gastrointestinal tract relatively intact because it doesn’t dissolve in water. In contrast to soluble fibre, it speeds up the passage of food. You will find insoluble fibre in dark leafy vegetables, raisins, grapes, cabbage, broccoli, nuts, barley, whole wheat, whole grains, wheat bran and root vegetable skins. If you eat flaxseed you’re in luck – because the actually contain both soluble and insoluble fibre.
In addition, it’s also good to drink plenty of water (1.5 to 2 litres per day) and do more exercise on a regular basis. If you want more when it comes to saying goodbye to a constipated colon, you may want to try dietary supplements which contain probiotics and magnesium. Herbal laxatives might also give you a hand, or a tissue.
Occasionally experiencing a constipated colon may happen from time to time. But no one, not even the most voracious person on the planet when it comes to food, deserves to CHRONICALLY suffer from it. Taking a poop is a very personal business, what may seem right to you may not apply to another person. Lastly, never, ever forget to flush. That’s what the little knob or button is designed for.