Oh, Poop! Tips to Relieve Constipation
Let’s face it, everyone poops. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Even ladies poop! Surprising, huh? Did you know that women report constipation issues more than men? Maybe it’s due to that rampant illusion that they don’t poop, they keep it in until they’re somewhere comfortable and discreet. But it turns out “holding it” is really bad for your overall colon health and can lead to constipation issues.
According to the American College of Gastroenterology, at least 2.5 million people a year visit the doctor for constipation issues. In the same study, it was revealed that hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on laxatives each year. Yeah, seriously. As a country, we spend hundreds of millions because we can’t poop. How sad is that?
But what exactly is constipation? Well, it varies from person to person. It all comes down to how regular you are. For some, pooping once a day every day is normal, for others, it’s normal to go at least three times a day. If neither of those fit your situation, don’t worry. Many people only go three times a week. If you go less than that, well, you may suffer from chronic constipation. Constipation occurs when you fall out of your regular pattern, have trouble passing stool, or you suffer from discomfort when attempting to use the bathroom. For some, it only lasts for a day or two, but for others, it can go on for far longer. But the question is when does being constipated start being a problem (outside of the obvious discomfort it causes)?
If you’ve been constipated for over a week and those home remedies or over the counter stuff just isn’t cutting it, you should go see your doctor. That’s a long time, I know, but you should skip that wait if you’ve noticed blood in your stool, are suffering sharp and intense pain in your abdomen, start vomiting, are unable to pass gas, lose weight unintentionally, or if you are extremely bloated. Constipation that lasts this long can be a result of some other underlying problem. It could be a serious health issue, a result of a bad diet and lack of exercise, or it could be due to a new medication you’re taking. Your healthcare provider needs to know these things, even though some of these facts can be embarrassing. Don’t be shy, though. The size, texture, and color of your stool can be super important to diagnosing your issue and getting to its source.
How can you avoid constipation? It’s simple, really.
- Keep high fiber foods in your diet, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts.
- Stay away from processed foods and dairy if you can. These foods are low in fiber and can lead to constipation.
- Drink plenty of water!
- Stay active. A couch potato lifestyle definitely won’t help your tummy troubles. Not sure what to do? Try yoga!
- Stress can cause constipation, so try to keep it cool.
- Don’t ignore that “I need to poop” urge. Face those public bathroom fears and let it out. To keep those moments to a minimum, put yourself on a schedule. Try to use the bathroom at certain times every day and keep yourself on a consistent diet!
Don’t wait too long to address your constipation issues. It can lead to some other complications if you keep putting it off! And don’t worry. I’m sure your doctor has heard much worse before.