It’s happens to most of us at one time or another. That tight, bloated feeling, signaling a bout of constipation. Although constipation may not seriously affect your daily routine, it can make you feel uncomfortable.
Constipation can be defined as: infrequent, fewer bowel movements than normal; hard pellet like stools that are painful to pass; or difficulty in evacuating stool. Passing one or more soft, bulky stools every day is a desirable goal. The frequency of bowel movements amongst healthy people varies greatly, ranging from three movements a day to three a week. As a rule, if more than 3 days pass without a bowel movement, the intestinal contents may harden, and a person may have difficulty or even pain during elimination. Stools may harden and be painful to pass even after shorter intervals between bowel movements.
While troublesome, constipation is not usually a serious disorder. However, there may be other underlying problems causing constipation, therefore, testing is often recommended. Fortunately, in most cases constipation can be easily treated by making a few lifestyle changes. The most important of these are eating a diet high in fiber; drinking plenty of fluids and exercising.
Many false beliefs exist concerning proper bowel habits. One of these is that a bowel movement every day is necessary. Another common fallacy is that wastes stored in the body are absorbed and are dangerous to health or shorten the life span. These misconceptions have led to a marked overuse and abuse of laxatives.