Constipation is a very common bowel problem reported by children, adults and the elderly in both developed and developing regions of the world. With increasing work pressures, travel and irregular food habits, the tendency of developing constipation symptoms is rising. Even though the doctor may quickly prescribe numerous quantities of laxatives and osmotic colon stimulants to get rid of bowel constipation, it must be remembered that the bowel may get dependent on these drugs, and may lose its usual stool disposal capability. A mere change in lifestyle and certain practices can do wonders by ensuring that symptoms of constipation don’t recur.
For patients of chronic constipation, there is difficulty passing stool for months or even longer. Even if bowel habits become regular for a few weeks or months, symptoms of constipation keep returning. Sufferers find it difficult to pass stool more than two or three times a week and have hard, pellet-like stools. There’s a constant feeling that stool hasn’t been disposed completely. Abdominal and rectal pains, blood in the stool etc. are also common. Middle-aged women and elderly patients above the age of 60 can develop chronic symptoms more readily than others.
If your constipation is recurring, depending on laxatives might not be a good idea. Laxatives can weaken bowel strength and may make it easy for symptoms to return. The problem most probably lies in your dietary habits, lifestyle and bowel habits. Passing stool should be a regular habit, and neglecting the urge to go to the bathroom due to overwork or improper work hours may complicate symptoms later.
There should be healthy amounts of fibers and fluids in the diet – dehydration frequently causes constipation. Fruits, green vegetables, grains, breads etc. are highly recommended. Processed foods and dairy foods like cream, processed cheese, peanut butter etc. may complicate symptoms of constipation. Elderly patients should be encouraged to move and exercise a lot and shouldn’t resort to a sedentary lifestyle. Narcotics, nicotine present in tobacco and medications to lower blood pressure can make bowel movement weaker, so their presence should be watched out for.
A good natural recommendation is the Indian extract Triphala, made from Emblica, chebula and bellirica. Triphala simulates the digestive system and makes bowel movements easier. Triphala is easily available as vegetable capsules.