Constipation seems to be one of those things that we live with. Mostly because it doesn’t stop us from getting out of bed and going about our business, so what’s the big deal?
But it is really important to understand that constipation is a sign that things aren’t right in our digestive process and left unchecked for a long time, it will eventually lead to other complications which may well have been avoided had the initial discomfort of constipation been checked and addressed in the first place.
To understand the consequences of long-term constipation, it is important to understand the body’s excretion process. Your body must get rid of what it does not need along with toxins that may be consumed along with food. And there are plenty of those found in processed/pre-packaged foods because they must undergo chemical processing to give them a shelf life. But even fresh foods can have toxins that we should get out of the body during excretion.
Imagine what happens when all these toxins are jammed in your colon and going nowhere. The toxins are left to lie in your digestive tract, and the dangers can be many, the most common is colon cancer. The body can literally absorb toxins into its tissues when our colon’s movement is stuck.
Long term constipation can also obstruct the colon and any food you eat will not get anywhere past these obstructions. This is serious condition that usually requires medical attention, and may even lead to surgery.
Constipation will affect your general health too – you are often full and don’t feel like eating so optimal nutrition is unachievable. Unfortunately for most people, when this happens, they reach for a laxative pill, which can lead to what is known as lazy bowel syndrome. Your bowels become so addicted to laxatives that they cannot move without one.
Laxatives should never be used on a long term basis for constipation. They can actually lead to chronic constipation due to dehydration, complicating the problem and leading to a never-ending cycle.
These are some healthier ways to get a handle on constipation:
- Drink at least six to ten glasses of water to help hydrate your body. You should also avoid caffeinated beverages because caffeine promotes fluid loss and your body needs fluids to prevent constipation.
- To help get your bowels back on track, participate in regular physical activity.
- Eat at least three meals per day and try to space them out throughout your schedule. Also, choose high fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain breads. Keep in mind fiber works by absorbing fluids in the digestive system and loosening the stool while simultaneously providing it with bulk. Therefore, it is particularly important to increase water intake to help prevent constipation.
Remember that though you may consider constipation a nuisance, it can actually become a serious medical condition and the use of excessive laxatives over long periods can lead to serious metabolic consequences.