Constipation is a personal issue. In addition to being a taboo subject, each of us has a different personal preference regarding how frequently we go to the bathroom. Constipation is characterised by infrequent bowel motions or hard-to-pass stool, yet what exactly qualifies as Constipation varies greatly from person to person. One bowel movement per day to one per week is considered to be a “normal” frequency. There is no need for intervention if once per week is routine for you. When someone goes to significant lengths to have more frequent bowel movements or when consistent changes to bowel movement frequency or consistency are felt, there is cause for concern. In literal terms, constipation translates as crowding or pressing. The feeling of being crowded in the lower abdomen would be understandable to anyone who faces this problem. Constipation, a concern that was previously exclusively experienced by the elderly, is now impacting younger generations as a result of hectic schedules, fast food, and lack of exercise.
There are principally two forms of constipation-
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract’s contents move slowly in the first kind. The second type of Constipation occurs closer to the exit and is characterised by trouble emptying the bowels because of issues with the pelvic muscles. Treatment options for the first type of constipation include increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables and fibre-rich supplements. Imaging examinations or procedures may be required for a more thorough analysis of the second form.
More than just having fewer than three bowel movements each week, constipation can cause the following signs and symptoms:
Lumpy, dry, or hard stools
Stools that resemble pebbles or little stones
Discomfort and pain during bowel movements
A sensation of incomplete bowel movements
A decrease in appetite brought on by a persistent feeling of fullness
A little abdominal enlargement
However, there is no need to worry much because these foods can help relieve constipation-
Prunes, which are dried plums, are frequently used as an all-natural constipation treatment. Prunes contain cellulose, an insoluble fibre that raises the water content of the stool, giving it the potential to be more voluminous. Meanwhile, short-chain fatty acids are created by the fermentation of the soluble fibre in prunes in the colon, which can also result in an increase in stool weight.
Apples contain a lot of fibre. Actually, one medium apple (200 grams) with the skin on has 4.8 grams of fibre, which is 19% of the RDI. Apples contain soluble fibre, primarily in the form of a dietary fibre called pectin, even though the majority of that fibre is insoluble. Short-chain fatty acids are created when Pectin is quickly digested by bacteria in the stomach. These acids have the ability to draw water into the colon, soften stools, and shorten gut transit times. Apples can be consumed whole or sliced to be added to salads or baked products.
Another fruit high in fibre is the pear, which contains 5.5 grams in a medium-sized fruit (about 178 grams). It represents 22% of the RDI for fibre. In addition to fibre advantages, pears specifically have higher levels of fructose and sorbitol in comparison to other fruits. These also contain sugar alcohol sorbitol which acts as a natural laxative by allowing water to enter the intestines.
There are around 2.3 grams of fibre in one kiwi (75 grams), which is 9% of the RDI. According to another study, it was found that consuming two kiwis every day helped with bowel movements and loose stools. Beyond fibres, actinidin, an enzyme in kiwis, affects bowel habits and gut motility.
An excellent food to boost your fibre intake is consuming the right amount of figs. Fifty grams of a medium raw fig has 1.5 grams of fibre. Additionally, just half a cup (80 grams) of dried figs has 7.9 grams of fibre or nearly 32% of the recommended daily intake. Fascinatingly, the enzyme ficin found in figs is comparable to the enzyme actinidin found in kiwis. Along with its high fibre content, it is believed that this may help explain why it has favourable effects on gastrointestinal function.
Oranges, grapefruits, and mandarins are just a few examples of citrus fruits that make a tasty snack and are high in fibre. One orange, for instance, which weighs roughly 154grams, has 3.7 grams of fibre, or 15% of the RDI. In contrast, one grapefruit (weighing roughly 308 grams) has over 5 grams of fibre, which satisfies 20% of your daily needs. Pectin, which is a soluble fibre found in citrus fruits, is specifically abundant in the peel of fruits. Pectin can shorten the term of intestinal transit and ease constipation.A high-fibre diet helps soften stools, give them weight and volume, and encourages bowel motions. Additionally, it’s crucial to consume a lot of water. Keep in mind that as your fibre intake rises, so will your need for fluids.Another important element in reducing constipation symptoms and establishing healthy bowel habits is regular exercise.Incorporate these foods into your diet to improve your bowel regularity, stool consistency, and general comfort if you suffer from constipation. However, if you face severe constipation, visit Parul Sevashram Hospital’s gastroenterology department to receive ‘Apno Jaisi Seva’!