how to get unconstipated
Constipation today affects nearly 20% of the general population in U.S. Some people are however more sensitive to women (they are 2 to 3 times more affected than men) and seniors (over 60 years). This pathology, frequent, is nevertheless still taboo today and relatively poorly lived.
Surveys evaluating the impact of constipation on quality of life show significant differences between constipated and non-constipated people, regardless of the country concerned: feeling of bloating, general discomfort, fear of occlusion, obsession with a transit that does not improve.
In short, we must not neglect a state of constipation; it is about his physical and moral health!
Transit and colon: some useful concepts to know
When you eat a food, it will spend 2 to 4 hours in your stomach (depending on whether the meal is bulky or not), between 2 and 4 hours in your small intestine which measures about 6 m, and 20 to 72 hours in your colon which measures only 1,5m and which ends with the rectum.
In short, for an average transit of 24 hours (one stool per day), the residence time of the digested food is the longest in the colon, and this is where everything is played to talk about regular transit, slowed down ( constipation) or accelerated (diarrhea).
But the colon is not just a pipe: it is an organ of extreme complexity in close connections with the brain (hence the impact of emotions on the transit) animated regular contractions some of which are short and static (to mix the contents) and others are powerful and propulsive (to advance the stool) at a rate of 4 to 6 per day. Naturally, we do not control our digestive contractions: they are under the neurological influence.
There is also a chronobiology of transit: the colonist is at rest at night and wakes up in the morning. Contractions begin to trigger as soon as a meal is taken. Nature is well done!
And let’s not forget that we harbor 1 kilo of flora in our gut(mainly in the colon), or 100,000 billion non-pathogenic bacteria that we feed on what we do not digest and that we do many services in part: they help us better defend against the pathogenic bacteria that we swallow, they contribute to the health of our colon and the regularity of the transit .
In short, to have a good transit, you have to:
- a gut that works well with an excellent anatomical constitution and proper neurological regulation in its functioning,
- An excellent volume of stool to stimulate contractions. This can only be done thanks to the sufficient consumption of fibers because undigested they compose a large part of the size of the stool. This is also done by the amount of water we drink. Well-hydrated stools are larger than dehydrated stool,
- A good quality of flora: each of us has a different specific flora. It develops in our first days of life and then it keeps the same balance between different species. When one is lucky enough to have good flora, one has fewer transit problems than those with an unbalanced flora.
What exactly is constipated?
Constipation is not merely having a transit slowed; it is mostly a set of symptoms defined according to the criteria of Rome III.
There must be at least two of the following criteria for at least three months in the last six months, namely:
- less than three defecations per week
- evacuation effort
- hard stool
- the feeling of incomplete evacuation
- blocking sensation or anorectal obstruction
- need for facilitative manual maneuvers
We talk about chronic constipation when the symptoms last for more than six months.
Why can we be constipated?
If we talk about constipation that has always existed, it is a naturally lazy bowel because too long or having abnormal functioning of muscle contractions. In this case, it will be necessary to ensure all his life to eat high fiber, to drink enough water and to avoid any prolonged sedentary life.
On the other hand, as far as any form of constipation is concerned, it should be known that in 80% of cases it is mere because we do not eat enough vegetables, fruits, whole grains.- But also because you do not drink enough water, and you are too sedentary. The stress, the pressure, the changes of habit can even, punctually disturb the transit. This is called functional constipation.
But in 20% of cases, and there is what is called an organic cause, i.e., an anatomical anomaly or a pathology. The first reason a doctor must think of in the face of recent constipation is the existence of a tumor in the colon which slows the progression of stool (benign tumor as a simple polyp, or malignant tumor such as cancer). For this, we use some arguments that can lead to such a diagnosis: blood in the stool, recurrent abdominal pain and always in the same place, weight loss, a family history of digestive cancer or multiple polyps. Anyway, the slightest doubt and especially if the subject is more than 50 years, it is necessary to practice a colonoscopy: indeed, the examination is not very pleasant (enema the evening before and anesthesia of 20 minutes the day of the exam) but it can save your life!
But there may be many other causes: the consequence of taking a drug (look at the dosage card), a thyroid gland that does not work well, a state of diabetes. It is up to the doctor to decide on the necessary exploratory examinations depending on the context.
How to cure of constipation?
If the medical cause has been identified, only treat it for constipation to go away. On the other hand, when it comes to functional constipation, it is a matter of lifestyle. The powerful trio is based on fiber, water, and physical activity (see our article on”The winning trio to regulate his transit” ).
Regarding laxatives, know that there are all kinds and that some can have unpleasant side effects when they are too often used. Thus paraffin-type lubricants carry with them fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, E, D, and K)), laxatives that stimulate the motricity of the colon can eventually lead to chronic abdominal pain and disrupt the transit.
On the other hand osmotic laxatives (sorbitol type) or forming a gel in contact with the water of the colon (type macrogols) promote the progression of the stools and have few side effects.
Anyway, the idea is to use them very punctually and in the short term not to get used to and become dependent and primarily rely on the quality of his lifestyle.
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