Constipation is a common condition that has an enormous and under appreciated impact on 2-27% of Canadians. While our country has a sound base of constipation expertise, there are often significant differences between physician and patient perceptions of symptoms and their effects on quality of life. There are many laxative and other treatment options available, but strong evidence to support their use in effectively treating constipation is limited to a select few. Because of gaps in knowledge, hesitation to seek care, and access to evidence-based care, many Canadians with occasional or chronic constipation fail to receive the appropriate therapy and suffer unnecessarily. (Canadian Digestive Health Foundation)
Constipation most often occurs when the food we have digested moves too slowly through the digestive tract. When stools move slowly, more water is absorbed from the stools causing them to become hard, dry and difficult to pass. As a result of this, patients suffer the common triad of symptoms that include stomach pain, indigestion, and bloating/ abdominal distension.
Does this sound familiar to you? Perhaps you or someone you know frequently suffers from infrequent bowel movements and all of those previously mentioned symptoms. You can rest assured that there are several solutions to aid in bowel movements and to help flatten ones belly as well, and all that it requires is some minor lifestyle modifications.
The best way to naturally cleanse the colon is through the promotion of bowel regularity, and this can be achieved through the daily intake of the proper combination of dietary fiber.
Scientific evidence links fiber intake to a vast array of health benefits, including treating and preventing constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulitis; decreasing blood cholesterol levels, which protects against certain forms of cancer; and increasing satiety to help control weight.
Consume a variety of fiber-rich foods such as:
- Bran (oat, wheat, corn, rice bran cereals)
- Beans (Lima, adzuki, garbanzo, lentils, pinto, etc.)
- Beans cooked with water and olive oil is an old recipe which helps bowel movement.
- Berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, gooseberries, currants, blackberries)
- Whole Grains (Barley, oats, rye, wheat, etc.)
- Green Leafy Vegetables (spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, etc.)
- Normal fruits in a fruit basket (apple, pear, banana, etc.)
- Nuts and Seeds (almonds, cashews, pistachio, peanuts, flaxseed, sesame seed)
- Prunes, Apricot, Figs
- PSYLLIUM HUSK (Sat-Isabgol / Metamucil)
- Fresh vegetable Juices
Another way of making the stool soft and increasing the bowel movement is eating few prunes in the night flushing down with green tea or with warm glass of water. Also, not drinking cold water while eating. Warm or hot water or tea to swallow the food in small quantity is good for the digestive system. It is better to drink a glass or two of water 15 minutes before eating.
One should make the habit of going to toilet twice a day: first thing in the morning and before going to bed.
There are a few exercises that one can do while on the toilet, which greatly aids in the normal passage of stools, and helps to flatten ones stomach as well.
Exercise while sitting and waiting for bowel movement and avoiding the feeling to force the waste.
- Then raise your hands up and stretch them to make the position of colon straight in order to flush the waste down the colon and small intestines.
Stretch and hold the handles and start rotating in forward motion.
After a few moves, the gases from the upper part of the stomach will come out.
When you notice all that has to come out from upper stomach is achieved move to second part of exercise.
Bend down to hold the handles which are close to floor, lift the handle imagining it to be heavy, rotate in upward direction away from the toilet, till the waste from the lower portion of stomach is ejected.
The stomach is pressed by thighs which helps the movement of waste from the lower portion of abdomen to move down and eject.
- Finally wash the Anus with warm water, forcing the water in with hand, thus cleaning any waste left in pockets in and around anus.
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