Have a few days passed since not going to the toilet? When you eventually do, is it
hard and a strain to pass? Do you feel like there is still more to go? Sounds like
constipation to me. It’s the frustration and the cramping pain that is the worst and
nine times out of ten increasing your fluid intake or increasing your fibre intake will
relieve symptoms. Sometimes constipation can be more than that; there can be an
underlying problem or nutrient deficiency causing it. Here we look at some of those
lesser known causes and solutions.
Lack of Exercise
Living a sedentary lifestyle or having restricted movement due to a disability can
affect bowel movements. Exercise can stimulate the bowel making it easier going to
the toilet and the counter affect to exercise is the need for additional fluids, which as
we know not enough fluid can contribute to constipation. Additionally there are
some specific exercises that can stimulate the bowel. Try flutter kicks by lying on
your stomach and kicking your feet like you’re swimming. Leg lifts, in which you
simply lie on your back and lift your legs at least 30cm off the ground and hold for 10
seconds, repeat 3 to 5 times and L-shaped tilting can be done by lying on the floor
and using your legs to make an L shape and extend your arms upwards. Breathe
slowly and tilt your body up to a sitting position, try this exercise 5 times over.
Gut Health
The use of probiotics is gaining momentum worldwide to help aid and treat many
disease states and constipation is no different. Studies have shown the use of
probiotics, Bifidobacterium Lactis in particular, to be very beneficial in improving gut
microbiota and relieve constipation symptoms. Include prebiotic foods such as
onion, chicory, garlic, asparagus, banana and artichoke to stimulate intestinal
microflora.