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:
Common causes of constipation:
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
- 1Get moving—daily exercise improves gastrointestinal motility.
- 2Give yourself time in the morning to perform a bowel routine.
- 3Try a hot beverage—coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or even warm water with lemon slice or honey.
- 4Eat something to start peristalsis, the movement of stool through your colon.
- 5Increase water and fiber intake (check out posts on importance of water and fiber)
- 6Never delay the urge to have a bowel movement.
- 7Try abdominal massage—ILU massage (see post entitled “Love your colon”)
- 8Do not strain—if nothing happens in 5 minutes, abort effort until later.
- 9Improve 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.