What are occasional constipation triggers in your everyday life ?
Understanding what is causing your constipation will make you more prepared to act on it. Let’s take a look at how your lifestyle choices can trigger occasional constipation.
Your diet has a big impact on your digestive system. Not eating enough high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains may lead to occasional constipation. Also, eating a lot of high-fat meats, dairy products and eggs or rich desserts and sugary sweets may also be another cause.
You know what they say: healthy mind, healthy body ! Our digestive systems can be sensitive to stress and sudden changes in our lives, sometimes triggering discomfort. Stress is a common factor that can lead to occasional constipation.
Lack of activity
If you have constipation, exercise can help speed things up. According to experts, exercise does more than tone your heart and other muscles. Exercise is essential for regular bowel movements. In fact, one of the key things that can lead to occasional constipation is inactivity.
How does your lifestyle affect your body and trigger occasional constipation ?
Occasional constipation could be a sign that your body is lacking some elements that it needs to fully function. Here are the bodily impacts of an inadequate diet or lifestyle:
People with a high intake of dietary fiber are less likely to experience occasional constipation. This is because fiber promotes regular bowel movements, especially when it is combined with proper hydration. Fiber keeps more water and bulk in your intestines making stool softer and easier to pass.
Your gastrointestinal tract is known as your “second brain” and it can be affected by situational or chronic stress. When you’re feeling stressed, you are more likely to suffer from lack of sleep and lack of physical activity, or more likely to fall out of your normal rhythm. Our bodies go through changes and these might trigger occasional constipation.
Lack of exercise
Exercise helps relieve and prevent occasional constipation by lowering the time it takes food to move through the large intestine. This limits the amount of water your body absorbs from the stool. Specifically, aerobic exercise (aka. cardio) speeds up your breathing and heart rate. This helps to stimulate the natural contractions of muscles in your intestines. Intestinal muscles that squeeze better will help move stools out quicker.
Tips and tricks to get relief
It's no secret: the first step in helping yourself feel better is to change a few things in your daily habits. Don’t worry, we’re not telling you to change all your habits at once – but, step by step, see how your body reacts to the few changes you do make and slowly create new routines.
1. Get a high-fiber diet
A high-fiber diet helps you normalize bowel movements to prevent and treat constipation.
Adults should get at least 20-30 gram of fiber a day. Good sources of fiber are fruits (berries, apples, oranges, prunes...), vegetables (carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes...), nuts (almonds, peanuts, pecans...), whole grains (brown rice, oatmeal, wheat bread...) and legumes (lentils, black beans, soybeans...).
2. Get some exercise
Who doesn’t love endorphins ? Get in some physical activity at least 3x a week and you'll start feeling better right away ! Always listen to your body; from walking to yoga or stretching. If you’re not sure about the right level of activity or if you do not exercise regularly, consult your healthcare professional.
Not convinced ? Physical activity doesn’t only help prevent occasional constipation, it also improves mood, focus, sleep, and helps you to feel more energized, calm and confident.
3. Set up your own poop routine
Start setting up your poop routine by setting aside regular times to get into the bathroom, after breakfast or dinner. Don’t ignore the urge to poop, as doing so can lead to occasional constipation.
4. Take control on your stress
Self-care and self-love, two of our favourite words. Stress can have an impact on every aspect of your life, and this is why you need to make time for yourself. Since your body needs rest and quiet moments, try to make room in your week to do just that: relax.
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- Canadian Digestive Health Foundation. Understanding the Prevalence and Impact of Constipation in Canada A Special Report from the CDHF. February 2014
- Cleveland Clinic. Constipation: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Prevention. July 11th, 2019. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4059-constipation
- WebMD. Debra Fulghum Bruce, PhD, Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD. Exercise to Ease Constipation. June 17th,2020. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/exercise-curing-constipation-via-movement
- Johns Hopkins Medicine. Health. Constipation. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/constipation
- Rachel Nall, MSN, CRNA. Medical News Today. How is stress linked with constipation ? November 12th, 2019. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326970#stress-and-constipation