Constipation looks different to each person experiencing it. However, most agree that constipation is occurring when a person finds that it is more difficult to pass their stool or that they are passing must less frequently. How does this happen? Here are the 5 most common reasons you might be constipated.
- You Don’t Get Enough Fiber
Fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods. While the human body can’t break it down, the beneficial bacteria in our guts can! These bacteria use fiber as their fuel source, converting the fiber into Short Chain Fatty Acids, which assist with gut upkeep. The bacteria doesn’t break down all the fiber, however. Instead, it passes through mostly intake, adding bulk to the waste and making it easier to pass.
- You Don’t Drink Enough Water
Dehydration is one of the most common reasons why people suffer from constipation. Imagine for a second that you are trying to go down a waterslide, except there isn’t any water. You might get stuck or hurt during this situation. Your intestines are very similar to the waterslide. You need enough water to help move the food along and keep the intestines smooth and flexible. Additionally, a dehydrated body will pull water from the food it is digesting, which leaves solid, hard to pass stools. (1)
- You Eat Too Many Unhealthy Foods
According to NIDDK, chips, fast food, meat, and prepared foods, such as frozen meals and snack foods, pastries, baked goods, and processed foods, are notorious constipation causers. This is generally due to the high levels of fat and sugar, which are naturally difficult for the body to digest. (2)
- You Don’t Exercise Enough
Exercise expedites the digestion process. How? Exercising helps physically move the food through the digestive tract. This limits the food’s time spent in the intestines, limiting the amount of water the intestines can absorb. With more water in the stool, it will travel quickly down and out.
- You Are Anxious
Most people are aware of the gut-brain connection, but they may not know that these short term feelings can lead to constipation. When a person experiences stress, their body releases hormones and cortisol, which disrupts the gut bacteria, causes inflammation, and even physically slows down digestion.
One way to help relieve constipation, make sure that you are consuming enough dietary fiber in your diet!
Remember to always consult with your healthcare practitioner before starting any new dietary supplement.
- How Drinking Fluids Can Help You Manage Constipation. (2020, January 25). Retrieved 2020, from https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/water-a-fluid-way-to-manage-constipation
- Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Constipation. (2018, May 01). Retrieved October 12, 2020, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/constipation/eating-diet-nutrition