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Constipation: Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Constipation is a symptom, not an illness, and is described as having three or less bowel motions per week that are difficult to pass. 

Constipation Signs And Symptoms

Constipation can also cause the following symptoms:

  • Stools that are lumpy, dry, or rough
  • Stools that are difficult to pass or are uncomfortable to pass
Constipation Problem
  • Feeling as if your rectum is blocked, preventing you from having bowel movements
  • Feeling like you can’t quite empty your bowels
  • Needing assistance to empty your rectum, whether by placing your palms on your belly or removing the stool with your finger (yep, it occurs!)

According to the Mayo Clinic, chronic constipation is defined as having two or more of these symptoms for more than three months. 

Constipation: Causes and Risk Factors

The GI tract is responsible for digesting, nutrient absorption, and waste elimination. It is made up of a collection of hollow organs that span from your mouth to your anus.

Your large intestine, or bowel — which comprises your colon and rectum — collects water from your digested food and converts it to a solid in your lower GI tract (stool).

When digested food spends too long in your intestines, it causes constipation.

It can also happen if your colon absorbs too much water, making your feces stiff and dry. Thus, it is tough to push it out of your body with your rectal muscles.

Constipation Can Be Caused By These 5 Foods

1. Alcoholic beverages

Whiskey

Alcohol can dehydrate you, especially if you drink a lot of it, which increases your chances of constipation.

2. Foods containing gluten

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and triticale, among other cereals. When eating gluten-containing meals, some people may experience constipation.

Consuming gluten or wheat may cause constipation in people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

3. Processed grains

Processed grains are lower in fiber than whole grains and may cause constipation. White rice, white pasta, and white bread, for example, contain less fiber than whole grains, making them more constipating. Some folks, on the other hand, find that eating less fiber helps them cure constipation.

4. Dairy products

Another common cause of constipation, at least for some people, appears to be dairy.

Because of a sensitivity to the proteins found in cow’s milk, infants, toddlers, and children appear to be more vulnerable.

In certain people, dairy products might cause constipation. Those who are sensitive to the proteins found in cow’s milk are more likely to experience this impact.

5. Red meat

Red meat

For three main reasons, red meat may aggravate constipation. Red meat tends to be high in fat and poor in fiber, a dietary combination that can lead to constipation. Allowing red meat to take the place of fiber-rich foods in your diet will increase your risk even further.

“If I'm constipated, what should I eat and drink?”

Fiber

Adults should consume 25 to 31 grams of fiber per day, depending on their age and gender. However, since they may lose interest in food, older folks may not consume enough fiber.

Consult a healthcare professional, such as a nutritionist, to help you plan meals with the proper amount of fiber. Be careful to gradually increase the amount of fiber in your diet so that your body gets adjusted to the change.

Fiber-rich foods include:

Oatmeal grain
  • cereals made with whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and pasta, oatmeal, and bran flake cereals
  • fruits, such as berries, apples with the skin on, oranges, and pears
  • vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, green peas, and collard 
  • greens legumes, such as lentils, black beans, kidney beans and soybeans
  • Almonds, peanuts, and pecans 

To help the fiber work better, drink water and other liquids like naturally sweetened fruit, vegetable juices and clear soups. Your stools should become softer and easier to pass as a result of this modification.

Dehydration can also be avoided by drinking enough water and other drinks. Staying hydrated is beneficial for your overall health and can aid in the prevention of constipation. Based on your size, health, activity level, and where you live, consult a health care expert on how much fluids you should drink each day.