7 Things You Can Do To Avoid Constipation

how to avoid constipation

Written by Maryam Saleh

Maryam Saleh is a final year nursing student in Ahmadu Bello University, who is based in Zaria. She believes in helping others and putting a smile on their faces. She has a passion for writing to make awareness, spread the word and clear misconceptions and doubts, especially about health. Her goals are to prevent illness, promote health and spread knowledge. She likes spending most of her time reading, volunteering, sleeping and watching TV.

June 7, 2021

Constipation is usually when stool moves too slowly through the digestive tract. It also occurs when stool cannot be eliminated effectively from the rectum, which causes the stool to become hard, dry, and painful. Though occasional constipation is common, some people experience chronic constipation that interferes with their day-to-day activities.

Read: 4 Easy Ways to Prevent Piles (Basir)

Causes Of Constipation

1. Small tears in the skin around the anus (anal fissure)

2. Blockage in the intestines (bowel obstruction)

3. Colon cancer

4. Narrowing of the colon (bowel stricture)

5. Rectal cancer

6. Bulging of the rectum through the back wall of the vagina (rectocele)

7. Problems with the nerves around the colon and rectum

8. Difficulty with the muscles involved in the elimination

9. Diabetes

10. Pregnancy

Now that you know the causes, how do you avoid constipation?

How To Avoid Constipation

1. Eat Foods Containing Fiber

Eating a lot of fiber-filled foods increases the bulk and consistency of bowel movements. It helps them pass through the digestive system more quickly, easily And avoid constipation. There are different dietary fibers, but in general, they fall into two categories: insoluble and soluble fibers.

Insoluble fibers; present in vegetables and whole grains. They add bulk to stool and help them pass quickly and easily through the digestive system.

Soluble fibers; present in nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and fruits. They absorb water and form a gel-like paste, which softens the stool, improves its consistency, and avoids constipation.

Examples of high-fiber foods include:

Whole grains: such as whole wheat bread and pasta, oatmeal.

Legumes: such as lentils, black beans, kidney beans, and soybeans.

Fruits: such as berries, apples with the skin on, oranges, dates, and pears

Vegetables: such as carrots, broccoli, green peas, and spinach.

Nuts: such as almonds, peanuts, and groundnuts.

2. Take Enough Fluids

Dehydration can cause constipation. To avoid constipation, it is important to drink enough water and stay hydrated which is good for your overall health. Naturally sweetened fruit and vegetable juices and soups help fibre work well. This should make your stool softer and easier to pass.

3. Regular Exercises 

Gentle exercises like going for regular walks, swimming, cycling, or jogging, e.t.c. helps with digestion thereby, avoid constipation. Stay as active as possible for your general well-being as well. Check out how you can stay fit even when you are at work.

4. Eat Prebiotic Foods

Prebiotics are an indigestible carbohydrate fiber. Although dietary fibers prevent constipation by improving the consistency and bulk of stool, prebiotics has their effects by improving digestive health by feeding the beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Some probiotics may help increase the frequency of bowel movements, as well as make stool softer and avoid constipation. Prebiotic foods include garlic, onions, bananas, e.t.c.

5. Avoid Fast Foods

Foods like; chips, burgers, pizza, meat, frozen meals, snack, processed foods; such as hot dogs or some microwavable dinners. They contain high calories which cause indigestion and are not healthy for the body. Fast foods are among the 9 foods that are simply bad for you.

6. Try To Manage Stress

Get a lot of rest, exercise, eat healthy food, do what you like in your leisure time, connect with family and friends, go out and have fun. Lastly, don’t be hard on yourself.

7. Don’t Ignore The Urge To Use The Toilet

Whenever nature is calling, don’t wait, don’t ignore it, just go. Its nature’s call! When you ignore it, the moisture is been absorbed thereby making it dry and hard.

Try to create a regular schedule for bowel movements, especially after a meal.

Complications Of Constipation

1. Swollen veins in your anus (hemorrhoids),

2. Torn skin in your anus (anal fissure),

3. Stool that can’t be expelled (fecal impaction),

4. Intestine that protrudes from the anus (rectal prolapse).

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