Constipation is the symptom of an underlying health problem, usually related to diet, although often associated with stress, general weakness or a sedentary lifestyle.
It is defined by a prolonged period of time (over 48 hours) between bowel movements, or difficult and painful bowel movements with hard, dry stools. Daily bowel movement is generally considered healthy and normal, but when the body fails to rid itself of waste products, sufferers may experience headaches, lack of energy, sleep deprivation, acne and other skin conditions, appendicitis, and diverticulitis.
Constipation also predisposes to and can be a sign of the development of bowel cancer, and aggravates other diseases such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
Sufferers of constipation should make the following changes to their diet and lifestyle:
- ensure adequate consumption of fluids (water/juice/herbal tea), fruits, vegetables, whole-grain cereals (fibre), nuts and seeds
- avoid consumption of ordinary tea, refined carbohydrates such as white sugar and white flour (and foods containing them)
- develop regular habits in eating, exercise and going to the toilet when required (don't hold on)
- avoid the overuse of laxatives - try natural options such as molasses or flaxseeds.