Constipation is a common digestive issue that can range from mild to severe. It is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements a week, and can be caused by a variety of factors, such as changes in medications, lifestyle or nutritional habits. Severe or chronic constipation can be uncomfortable and even painful, and may require the help of a healthcare provider. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to manage your constipation and get relief. The first step in managing constipation is to increase the amount of fiber in your diet.
Eating plenty of fiber-rich foods, such as beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and bran, can help to add bulk to your stool and speed up its passage through the intestines. At the same time, it is important to reduce your intake of low-fiber foods such as processed foods, dairy products, and meat. In addition to dietary changes, it is important to stay active and exercise regularly. This can help to stimulate the digestive system and encourage regular bowel movements.
If you are not used to exercising regularly, start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts over time. If dietary and lifestyle changes are not enough to relieve your constipation, you may need to consider other treatments. Over-the-counter laxatives can be helpful in some cases, but should be used with caution as they can cause side effects such as abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Probiotics may also be beneficial for some people with chronic constipation, although more research is needed in this area.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary if other treatments have failed or if there is an obstruction in the digestive tract. Subtotal colectomy with ileoretal anastomosis is the most commonly performed procedure for severe constipation that does not respond to medical therapy. However, surgery should only be considered as a last resort due to the potential for long-term functional problems. If you are experiencing severe or chronic constipation, it is important to talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for you. With the right combination of dietary changes, exercise, and medical treatments, you can find relief from your constipation and get back to living a healthy life.