By Melody Simanian
Constipation is a common digestive issue that occurs when stool becomes difficult to pass or pass less frequently than normal. There are many causes of constipation, including diet, medication side effects, lack of physical activity, and different underlying medical conditions.
- Being constipated can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Hard or lumpy stools
- Straining during bowel movements
- Feeling of incomplete evacuation
- Infrequent bowel movements
There are several ways to alleviate constipation, including:
- Increasing fiber intake: eating more fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can help regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation.
- Staying hydrated: drinking plenty of water can help soften stool and make it easier to pass.
- Engaging in physical activity: regular exercise can help stimulate the muscles in the digestive tract and promote bowel movements.
- Using over-the-counter remedies: laxatives and stool softeners can help relieve constipation, but they should only be used as a short-term solution.
- Probiotics: consuming probiotics, such as yogurt, can help improve gut health and prevent constipation.
It's important to address constipation in a timely manner to prevent discomfort and avoid potential complications. Chronic constipation can cause fecal impaction, where stool hardens and becomes difficult to pass, and may also lead to hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and rectal prolapse. Ignoring constipation may also worsen underlying medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).