Chronic constipation is a very common condition that is not talked about a lot. It affects 31% of people between the ages of 19 and 65 and approximately 45% of people over the age of 65. This can be a really debilitating and uncomfortable problem which can predispose to unwanted complications.
What is Constipation?
Constipation is a disorder of the lower gastrointestinal tract marked by the decrease in the frequency of stools, difficulty defecating or the passage of dry hard stools. If you have one or more of these symptoms for more than 6 months, you have chronic constipation.
Signs and Symptoms of Constipation
Chronic constipation usually comes with accompanying digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas, abdominal pains or cramps, or other issues such as headaches, fatigue, hemorrhoids (from straining), worsened varicose veins, allergies and skin problems.
As a holistic nutritionist in Oakville, I find that poor digestion is a root cause in most people struggling with chronic constipation. It’s also related to conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, liver disease, low thyroid and colon cancer.
Common Causes of Chronic Constipation
Here are 6 common causes that can be underlying your chronic constipation
Water is important for softening your stools and allowing easy passage through the colon. If you are not drinking enough water, you might be dehydrated. Caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea, also cause more water loss from your body and increase the chances of dehydration if you’re not compensating this water loss.
2-Low fiber Intake
If your diet is comprised mainly of processed and white foods with little vegetables, fruits or whole grains and beans, you are probably not getting the daily requirement of 30-45 grams of fiber to stay healthy.
3-Lack of good oils
Oils are important for lubrication of your colon and allowing easy passage of stools. If your diet is very low in fat especially the good fats such as omega 3 and monounsaturated fats, this might be a contributing factor.
4-Lack of Physical Activity
Sedentary life is one of the causes of a lazy colon and constipation as regular movement is essential for stimulating regular bowel movement.
If you suffer from weak digestion and have symptoms of indigestion such as burping or acid reflux, it can be an indicator of a poorly functioning digestive system. Proper digestion starts by a healthy stomach. That’s why most people who have indigestion will also suffer from lower digestive health issues such as constipation or diarrhea or both.
6-Surgical Removal of the Gall Bladder
If you have had your gall bladder surgically removed, this will affect your normal digestive process. The bile flow into your duodenum will be irregular, either too little or too much. Bile is essential for digesting fats and also it acts as a disinfectant for the gut. With too little bile you can expect bloating and constipation problems.
What’s wrong with laxatives?
Overuse of laxatives is not a good solution to chronic constipation as it can cause dependence (lazy bowel syndrome), loss of vitamins and minerals (especially potassium), dehydration and damage to the intestines. Long-term use will only worsen constipation and make it a bigger problem.
If you have tried everything to overcome chronic constipation and nothing seems to work or if you have other accompanying chronic health issues such as chronic fatigue, migraine headaches, allergies or skin problems, I highly recommend that you seek help of a holistic nutritionist to get to the root cause of this problem as it can compromise your health and cause over-toxicity and other unwanted serious complications.
If you need help with your health or nutrition,contact Oakville nutritionist Maha Nasr at 416 876 4634 to book an appointment or sign up for a FREE Clarity Session to learn more about how we can help you.