It’s not the kind of thing you want to tweet about on social media, but constipation is a real battle for all kinds of people! Let’s find out how you can free yourself from this struggle.
What causes constipation?
There are a number of things that can cause this uncomfortable blockage:
- not enough fibre in your diet, such as fruit, vegetables and cereals
- a routine or lifestyle change, such as travel
- ignoring that urge to go to the toilet – that urge is important!
- side effects of certain medications
- not drinking enough fluids
- anxiety or depression
Constipation is a side-effect of certain medications. Here are some types of medicines which commonly cause constipation:
- aluminium antacids used to treat indigestion
- antipsychotics used to treat schizophrenia, anxiety and manic conditions
- iron supplements
- calcium supplements
- diuretics, also called water tablets
If your constipation is being caused by medication, talk to your doctor about stopping or changing the medication. Don’t stop taking your medication before speaking to your doctor.
You can prevent constipation!
Here are some simple steps to stay regular:
Fibre. Most people don’t eat enough fibre, so make a point of increasing yours – include more fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, oats and whole-grain foods daily.
Toilet habits. Don’t ignore the urge to go to the toilet – seriously, don’t. Where possible, give yourself the privacy and time to not have to rush, but even if conditions aren’t 100% perfect, don’t ignore the urge!
Fluids. Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids through the day, and drink more when exercising or during hot weather. The guideline is at least 1.2 litres (6-8 glasses) of water a day.
Exercise. Staying active and mobile reduces your risk of getting constipation. Ideally, you should do a minimum 30 minutes of physical exercise every day.