Are You Full Of It? - Breakaway Physical Therapy
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Are You Full Of It?

Constipation

Constipation is the #1 gastrointestinal complaint doctors hear each year and accounts for over 2.5 million visits to one’s physician per year. Sadly, $725 million is spent by Americans on over the counter laxatives per year but perhaps there is a simpler fix.

What is constipation?

Constipation is a condition characterized by:

  • Fewer than 3 bowel movements a week
  • Stools that are hard, dry, or lumpy
  • Stools that are difficult/painful to pass
  • A feeling that not all stool has passed

Common causes of constipation:

  • Not enough fiber
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Medications
  • Milk
  • Dehydration
  • Abuse of laxatives
  • Ignoring the urge to go
  • Travel
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Pregnancy, luteal phase of cycle
  • Aging
  • specific diseases or conditions
  • Colorectal problems
  • Intestinal dysfunction

Constipating foods: BRAT diet—bananas, (white) rice, apples, toast and processed foods

Gas producing foods: carbonated drinks, pastry, meat, bran, whole grains, muesli products, dried fruits, baked beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower


WHAT YOU CAN DO AT HOME

  1. 1
    Get moving—daily exercise improves gastrointestinal motility.
  2. 2
    Give yourself time in the morning to perform a bowel routine.
  3. 3
    Try a hot beverage—coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or even warm water with lemon slice or honey.
  4. 4
    Eat something to start peristalsis, the movement of stool through your colon.
  5. 5
    Increase water and fiber intake (check out posts on importance of water and fiber)
  6. 6
    Never delay the urge to have a bowel movement.
  7. 7
    Try abdominal massage—ILU massage (see post entitled “Love your colon”)
  8. 8
    Do not strain—if nothing happens in 5 minutes, abort effort until later.
  9. 9
    Improve your toilet habits with proper positioning:
    a. Sit on toilet
    b. Lean forward resting elbows on knee
    c. Place feet on stool or Squatty Potty
    d. Breathe out and relax bum
    e. Keep lips, jaw, and mouth open

Note: It may take a few weeks to establish a bowel routine that is predictable and works for you.

If it continues

If constipation continues to be a problem, it might be best to call a trained Physical Therapist to find out what’s going on. Our trained Physical Therapists here at Breakaway PT see this on a daily basis and can help you get to the root of the problem and get back to leading a life without worry.

Carissa Reed

Carissa Reed

Carissa started her physical therapy journey in 2001 after graduating from Maryville University in Saint Louis, Missouri with a Bachelor's of Physical Therapy. In 2001, she completed her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill where her focus was in women's health studies specifically the effects of exercise during pregnancy.
Carissa Reed

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