Fit and Fabulous Over 40


Constipated? Some Tips to Help!

Constipated? Some Tips to Help!
April 27
10:55 2017

Constipation is not a pleasant topic and few discuss it with others. As many women age, they often experience bouts of not being able to have their daily bowel movement. The normal tendency is to take a stool softener and suffer with the discomforts of bloating and cramping associated with constipation. It’s usually too personal and embarrassing to mention to others.
According to Dr. Eric Esrailian, Co-Chief of the Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases at the University of California, Los Angeles:
“For many, it’s too embarrassing to discuss and so they may not bring it up with their doctor until it reaches the point where it’s extremely uncomfortable. They may not even discuss it with family and friends.”
Did you know that according to Dr. James Reynolds, Director of the Program in Neurogastroenterology and mortality at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, says that constipation is one of the more frequent reasons a person visits a gastroenterologist?
Yes, I hate to report that the older we get, the greater the tendency to suffer from constipation. According to WebMD:
“‘One of the most common things we see, certainly as people are getting into their 60s and 70s, may be a change in bowel habits, predominantly more constipation,’ says Ira Hanan, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Symptoms include difficult or painful bowel movements, infrequent bowel movements, and hard, dry stool. There are a number of age-related factors that can cause constipation in older adults.”
And according to
“Older people are more likely than younger people to become constipated, but most of the time it is not serious.”
“Constipation is a symptom, not a disease. You may be constipated if you are having fewer bowel movements than usual, ittakes a long time to pass stools, and they are hard.”
Did you know that you may suffer from constipation without knowing it? Again, referring to
“Some doctors suggest asking these questions to decide if you are constipated:”
• Do you often have fewer than three bowel movements a week?
• Do you often have a hard time passing stools?
• Are stools often lumpy or hard?
• Do you have a feeling of being blocked or of not having fully emptied your bowel?
“Did you answer ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions? If so, you may have a constipation problem. Otherwise, you probably do not.”
So, what can you do help prevent constipation without having to live on stool softeners and laxatives? Here are four simple things you can do daily to help prevent constipation and keep your bowel movements routine and non-problematic:
1- Giving yourself enough time in the morning to take care of your bathroom needs. On average, people have one bowel movement a day, usually sometime in the morning. Make sure you allow yourself enough time every day. Try to get in a routine, if possible.
2- Avoid making sudden changes to your diet. Quite often, we decide to go on some sort of diet and make sudden changes to our diets. This can throw the bodies routine out of whack and cause constipation. If you decide to change your diet for whatever reason, do it gradually over several days to a couple of weeks. Give your body a chance to adapt.
3- Drink enough fluids. I know this one from experience. Some days, I’m just not that thirsty and without realizing it, I don’t drink enough water. The next day or two I pay for it with constipation. There are many different reports on how much water a person needs to drink each day, but the best judge is YOU. If you’re having problems with constipation, add a couple more glasses of water to your daily consumption and see if that makes a difference. It does for me.
4- Fiber. Yes, you need fiber. Eat fiber rich foods like old fashion oatmeal, broccoli, apples, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and beans. Yes, many of the foods that give you unpleasant gas do so because they contain fiber. Apples are also an excellent source of fiber. However, one warning. Too much fiber without enough water can lead to constipation. As you eat more fiber, make sure you drink more water to compensate for it.
If you follow these four easy daily tips and after a significant period of time, you still suffer from constipation, please see your doctor as it may be a sign of a medical condition that needs treatment. As unpleasant as it is to discuss one’s daily bowel habits, if it continues to be a problem, don’t hide it. Share it with your loved ones and see your doctor.

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