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Regular People are Happy People
Constipation is one of the most common digesting complaints in our modern world –it affects up to 15% of the population at any one time – but what is it and how can we prevent it?
Bowl movements are based on numerous influences. These range from our diet to the fibre content in our food, how much water we consume and the metabolism of individuals, which means that you may not make a bowel movement every day.
As long as you are not going for days on end without a bowel movement you should feel quite happy to march to the tune of your own body.
Frenetic lifestyles lead to little time for small pleasures as well as bodily needs, we tend to get anxious about passing a motion and the more anxious the worse the problem becomes.
Being rushed and stressed will soon play havoc on our digestive systems, causing tension in the whole arrangement – especially our bowels and with that tension come discontent and discomfort, bloating and flatulence.
Our intestines contain billions of healthy bacteria, and when an imbalance occurs, known as dysbiosis, one of the results can be constipation, and as a result probiotics can play a key role in relieving constipation.
Some Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species enhance bowel regularity and mucous secretion by converting bound bile salts into free bile salts, which cause more water to be pulled into the colon, softening the stool and aiding its elimination.
The following strains have shown their health benefits for constipation in clinical trials. Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus casei rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium animalis, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus plantarum.
Probiotics for constipation in babies, infants, and children which are also useful in adults are; Bifidobacterium infantis, Lactobacillus casei shirota.
Lifestyle changes, starting with the diet, can be the first step in the right direction for alleviating constipation.
Chronic constipation is a result of slow stool time, or functional defecation disorder (dyssynergic defecation) or a combination of these.
With slow-transit constipation there is a delay in the transit of stools through the colon; whereas with dyssenergic or outlet obstruction (also referred to as pelvic floor dyssenergy) is the inability or difficulty in expelling stools.
In pelvic floor dysfunction the muscles in the lower pelvis do not work properly and a third kind of constipation then rears its ugly head in the form of IBS where constipation will alternate with diarrhoea.
Short-term effects of constipation include bloating, abdominal pain.
Long-term chronic, constipation may result in, internal or external hemorrhoids, anal fissures (cracks in the skin around the anus as a result of hard stool stretching the anal sphincter too far), rectal prolapsed (the rectum becomes overstretched due to the accumulation of large amounts of stool, and it then loses its ability to contract to its former size when the stool is eliminated) and Diverticulitis (the pressure of accumulated stool causing pouches to form in weak spots along the colon.)
If you suffer from chronic constipation ask your pharmacist or medical practitioner to recommend a suitable solution for you, this may include a laxative. Laxatives taken long term may have an effect on other chronic medications being taken.
Suppositories and enemas are also used; this is usually when an immediate response is necessary. Enemas should not be used for children unless specifically prescribed by a medical practitioner.
Herbs to get you happy and back on track:
Psyllium Husk (Platago Afra):
Dandelion Root (Taraxecum Officinale):
Senna (Cassia Angustiflora)
Slippery Elm (Ulmus Rubra)
If constipation is causing pain it is time to consult your medical practitioner.
If you are pregnant it is always advisable to discuss taking any type of medication with your medical practitioner or gynaecologist.
Although laxatives can be a good solution for immediate relief from constipation, one should avoid long term use and rather make healthy lifestyle changes to overcome constipation.