Constipation: A Mostly-Preventable Regularity Problem

Constipation is a regularity problem in the colon (the large bowel) which limits bowel movements. Most people are embarrassed to talk about it, but when I meet with clients as a nutritionist, bowel movements are one of the ways I gauge a person’s health and overall diet. If you are not eliminating properly, then you are recycling toxins from wastes and changing the ideal conditions in your colon for you to be healthy.

A lack of adequate bowel movements can needlessly interfere with your quality of life and result in nuisances such as abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, headache, dizziness and poor appetite.

Worse than those annoying symptoms, are more dangerous outcomes. Constipation increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and in late 2016 was linked to kidney diseases, such as CKD (chronic kidney disease) and ESRD (end-stage renal disease.) Fortunately, probiotics have been shown to help with kidney disease.

Bowel movements may become difficult or less frequent. Going longer than 3 days without bowel movements allows the feces to harden as the colon absorbs most of the water in them and they become more difficult to pass. So if your stools are hard and dry and you’re having less than 3 bowel movements per week, you probably have it.

What is Constipation, Officially?

According to WebMD, a decrease in regularity affects approximately 2% of the population in the US, with women and the elderly being most affected. They define the condition as having 2 or more of these symptoms for at least 3 months:

  • Straining more than 25% of the time;
  • Hard stools more than 25% of the time;
  • Incomplete evacuation of the colon more than 25% of the time
  • 2 or fewer bowel movements in a week

If no structural problem or disease is found as the cause of the irregularity, and the colon is otherwise healthy, then the diagnosis is called “functional" irregularity.

It is considered to be a symptom of an underlying cause, not a disease in itself. Most people have it at least once in their lives, but if it becomes chronic (ongoing) with you, then you may not be as healthy as you could be. Also, think about how your quality of life is lowered with chronic constipation if you have abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, headache, dizziness and poor appetite on a consistent basis.

What are Causes of Irregularity?

Read about the causes of this condition so you can take preventative action.

Here's where you can learn about conventional ways to bring you relief.

Here's how probiotics may bring you relief.

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