7 Constipation Risk Factors and Home Remedies
2.5 million Americans see their physicians for constipation each year. Constipation is an extremely common condition, but that doesn’t make it any less painful or inconvenient.
Common causes of constipation include a low fiber diet, dehydration, and some medications. They can cause stool to move too slowly through the digestive tract, causing the stool to become hard and dry. Some people are more prone to experiencing the symptoms of constipation than others. Read on to discover if you have any of the characteristics of frequent constipation sufferers — and home remedies for constipation relief.
Constipation Risk Factors
Certain groups of people experience more constipation than others. You may have an increased risk of constipation if you:
- Are an older adult. Aging can affect your digestive health in many ways, including more constipation symptoms.
- Are a woman. One study from the National Center for Biotechnical Information found that women were more likely to have abnormal bowel habits and more constipation symptoms than men.
- Don’t drink enough fluids. When a person is dehydrated, their stool becomes dry and hard to pass.
- Don’t eat enough fiber. Fiber makes stool easier to pass by adding bulk and improving the texture.
- Are mostly sedentary. Regular exercise can keep everything moving.
- Take certain medications. Strong pain medications, antidepressants, and antacids containing calcium can all lead to constipation.
- Have a mental health condition that affects your eating. Those who have a condition (like an eating disorder or depression) that makes them unable to eat a balanced, fiber-rich diet may become constipated.
Home Remedies for Constipation
Treating constipation usually involves lifestyle changes.
- Increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Add high-fiber foods to your diet like beans, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Be sure to introduce high-fiber foods gradually. A sudden increase in fiber can cause gas and bloating and make constipation worse.
- Reduce the amount of low-fiber foods you eat. These include some processed foods and dairy and meat products. If you want to improve your diet, a registered dietitian can help.
- Stay hydrated. Make sure to get plenty of fluids. Drink an additional two to four glasses of water each day.
- Stay active! Fit in regular exercise most days of the week. More physical activity will increase the muscle activity in your intestines.
- Manage stress. High levels of stress can wreak havoc on your digestive system. It can result in nausea, pain, and bowel movement changes — like constipation.
- Improve your bathroom habits. If you have the urge to go, go! Take your time in the bathroom, and make sure you have enough time so you don’t feel rushed.
When Should I See a Doctor?
If you have unexplained or persistent changes in your bowel habits, or if you want to talk to your gastrointestinal about improving your overall digestive health, Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio can help. Make an appointment today.