19 Facts and Myths About Constipation

Constipation can be a very problematic issue to deal with. It arises when your bowel movements become less frequent or change in quantity and volume. Many things contribute to constipation, the biggest issue being diet. When this arises, it is best to consult your doctor.


Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 9th Dec 2021.

19 Facts and Myths About Constipation

You do not have to be shy if you are experiencing constipation. The truth is, you are not alone if you have constipation. Constipation is one of the most frequent gastrointestinal complaints in the United States. At least 2.5 million people see their doctor each year due to constipation. However, many factors contribute to you developing constipation, including people of older age, those who do not have enough high-fibre foods and many more. This article will tell you more about the myths and facts on constipation. 

You Should Have a Bowel Movement Every Day

Myth. Everyone is unique. Some individuals use the toilet three times a day, while others use it three times per week. You could be using the toilet once a day, sometimes even fewer times could be normal for you. Please consult your doctor is you notice a change to your bowel habits.

It Creates Toxins

Myth. Some think that constipation leads the body to absorb harmful chemicals from faeces, resulting in arthritis, asthma, and colon cancer. There’s no proof that toxins are produced in the faeces or that colon cleansing, laxatives, or enemas may help prevent cancer or other diseases. Constipation isn’t a sickness in and of itself, rather it is a symptom of something underlying.

You Just Need More Fiber

Myth. Most people indeed fall short, so eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and other plant foods, as well as drinking more water, is generally a good idea. Fibre should be introduced gradually so that your body becomes used to it. If you are still constipated after that, other factors may be at play, such as a medical condition or a medication side effect.

Swallowed Gum Can Get Stuck

Fact. True, but only in rare instances, mainly in young children who don’t know any different. When you swallow a lot of gum or pieces in a short period, it may cause a blockage in your digestive system, mainly if you consume it with other indigestible items like seeds. Constipation may result from obstruction. On the other hand, gum passes through and out of most people’s bodies in the same way other meals do.

Your Vacation Could Be an Issue

Fact. Your daily routine and nutrition will be altered as a result of your travels. Drink lots of water while you're travelling, preferably bottled if you can't drink the tap water at your location. Maintain your level of activity as well. While waiting for your flight, go for a walk and stretch your legs on a road trip. Limit your alcohol intake and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables prepared if you can't consume salads or raw foods in the region you're visiting.

Your Mood Matters

Fact. Constipation may be triggered by depression or made worse by it. Meditation, yoga, biofeedback, and relaxation methods may all assist with stress reduction. Acupressure or shiatsu massage may also be beneficial. Massaging your stomach relaxes the muscles that support your intestines, which may aid with your regularity.

Holding It Won’t Hurt

Myth. Are you too preoccupied with work to go? Ignoring the urge may create or exacerbate constipation. Setting aside time after breakfast or another meal for a bowel movement may assist some individuals when these signals are most significant. But, if nature calls, don’t ignore it.

Your Meds Could Be a Cause

Fact. Constipation has been related to certain medications to treat pain, depression, high blood pressure, and Parkinson's disease. Tell your doctor about your symptoms. You may be able to take something else. Calcium and iron supplements may also create issues, particularly if you're taking anything else that affects your faeces.

All Fiber Is the Same

Myth. They are divided into two categories. Insoluble fibre bulks up your faeces, enabling them to go more rapidly through your intestines. Bread, pasta, and cereal made with whole grains are excellent sources. Soluble fibre dissolves in water. Beans, peas, and other plant foods may contain it.

Prunes Are Powerful

Fact. This small dried fruit has a well-deserved reputation as “nature's constipation cure." Prunes (also known as dried plums) are high in insoluble fibre and sorbitol, a natural laxative. Children who dislike prunes may make ice pops out of them or drink prune juice blended with another liquid to mask the flavour.

More Water Helps

Fact. Constipation may be relieved by drinking plenty of water. It may be obtained through beverages or meals that are high in water, such as fruits and vegetables. Caffeine and alcohol should be consumed in moderation or not at all.

Workouts Get You Going

Fact. Constipation is more likely when you have too much downtime. After a large meal, wait at least an hour before exercising to allow your body to digest your meals. Then get started! Several times a day, go for a 10- to 15-minute stroll. More difficult workouts are also acceptable. Your whole body will reap the benefits.

Colon Cleansing Helps

Myth. Body waste is removed via enemas and colon irrigation (high colonics). However, they are ineffective in preventing or curing constipation. For elderly individuals who take enemas regularly, they may induce constipation. Colonic irrigation, which colonic hygienists or therapists often perform, can harm the colon and cause other issues. Consult with your doctor beforehand.

Coffee Is a Good Fix

Myth. Caffeine may indeed cause your digestive system's muscles to spasm, resulting in a bowel movement. Caffeine (especially excessive caffeine) dehydrates the body; therefore, it's not advised. If you're constipated, stay away from it or switch to decaf.

Laxatives Work Immediately

Myth. It is conditional on the kind. Within an hour, a suppository or enema may help. A bulk-forming product may take many days to develop; a stimulant product might take only a few hours. If you use them for an extended period, they may create additional stomach issues. If you need to take laxatives for longer than two weeks, see your doctor.

Stool Softeners Are Laxatives

Fact. They prevent stools from becoming constipated by enabling them to absorb more water from the colon. Softer stools are simpler to pass. Unless your doctor tells you differently, you should only use them for a limited period.

Castor Oil Is a Cure-All

Myth. This potent laxative is a tried-and-true treatment. However, see your doctor first. It, like other laxatives, should not be used for extended periods since it may make it difficult for your body to absorb nutrients and certain medicines. Overdoing it may cause injury to your gut muscles, nerves, and tissue, resulting in constipation.

It Naturally Happens WIth Age

Myth. Constipation is more common in older individuals. However, it is not a natural aspect of ageing, and it may occur at any age. It's a commonplace, doesn't last long, and the majority of instances aren't severe. However, if it doesn't go away after you eat more fibre, drink more water, and move more, see your doctor.

It’s Normal to Have Bloody Stool

Myth. Blood in the bowel movement isn’t usually a cause for concern. However, if this occurs, you should contact your doctor immediately. Haemorrhoids or tears in the anal lining are the most common causes of bright red blood. It may be caused by constipation or straining during bowel motions. Blood or clots that are maroon or tarry black indicate that bleeding is occurring higher in your digestive system. If this happens, seek immediate medical attention.

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