Constipation is a common digestive problem that affects millions of people worldwide. It can be uncomfortable and even painful, but there are several ways to prevent and manage constipation. In this post, Dr. Sumana Moole from Merus Gastroenterology in John’s Creek, GA near Atlanta shares her expertise on constipation prevention and management.
What is Constipation?
Constipation occurs when bowel movements become difficult or infrequent. Symptoms may include straining during bowel movements, hard or lumpy stools, and a feeling of incomplete evacuation. While constipation can be caused by a variety of factors, including medications and medical conditions, dietary and lifestyle factors are often to blame.
Preventing constipation involves making changes to your diet and lifestyle to promote regular bowel movements. Dr. Moole provides her expertise on practical steps to prevent constipation:
- Eat a High-Fiber Diet: Incorporating fiber-rich foods into your meals can help prevent constipation. For example, you could add a serving of berries or sliced almonds to your breakfast oatmeal, include a side of roasted Brussels sprouts or carrots with your lunch, and have a bean salad as a side dish for dinner. Snacking on fresh fruits or vegetables throughout the day is also a great way to increase your fiber intake.
- Drink Plenty of Water: To make sure you’re getting enough water, carry a reusable water bottle with you and aim to refill it several times throughout the day. You can also incorporate other hydrating fluids into your routine, such as herbal teas or infused water. If you struggle with drinking enough water, try adding some fruit slices or herbs to your water to add flavor.
- Get Regular Exercise: There are many ways to incorporate exercise into your routine, even if you have a busy schedule. You could try taking a brisk walk during your lunch break, doing a quick yoga routine before bed, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. If you have a sedentary job, try standing up and stretching for a few minutes every hour to keep your body moving.
- Take Time to Go: When you feel the urge to use the bathroom, it’s important to listen to your body and take the time to go. If you’re in a public place or at work, try to find a private and comfortable restroom where you can relax and take your time. Some people find it helpful to establish a regular bathroom routine by setting aside a specific time each day to use the bathroom.
If you’re already experiencing constipation, there are several practical steps you can take to manage symptoms:
- Increase Fiber Intake Gradually: When increasing your fiber intake, it’s important to do so gradually to avoid worsening constipation. Start by incorporating one high-fiber food into your diet each day, such as a serving of berries or a side of roasted vegetables. Then, gradually increase your intake over several days or weeks. Some other high-fiber foods you can add to your diet include whole grain bread and pasta, lentils, and chia seeds.
- Try a Mild Laxative: If dietary and lifestyle changes don’t improve your constipation symptoms, a mild laxative may be helpful. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any laxatives. They can recommend the best type of laxative for your individual needs and provide guidance on how to use it safely. Some types of mild laxatives include stool softeners, lubricants, and osmotic laxatives.
- Use the Bathroom Regularly: Establishing a regular bathroom routine can help stimulate bowel movements and prevent constipation. Try to use the bathroom at the same time each day, preferably after meals, as this is when your digestive system is most active. If you’re having trouble using the bathroom, try some relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation to help your body relax and release any tension.
Dr. Moole’s Experience and Expertise
As an experienced gastroenterologist with a focus on gut health, Dr. Moole has helped many patients manage their constipation symptoms. She provides practical advice on how to prevent and manage constipation by making dietary and lifestyle changes. Her dedication to providing personalized care and building strong doctor-patient relationships has made her a trusted expert in the field of gastroenterology.
Constipation can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition, but it is possible to prevent and manage symptoms by making dietary and lifestyle changes. By eating a high-fiber diet, drinking plenty of water, getting regular exercise, and taking time to go when you feel the urge, you can prevent constipation and promote regular bowel movements. If you’re already experiencing constipation, gradual increases in fiber intake, the use of mild laxatives, and regular bathroom habits can help manage symptoms.
Dr. Moole’s expertise and commitment to personalized care make her a valuable resource for those seeking to manage their constipation symptoms and improve their overall gut health. If you are struggling with constipation or other gastrointestinal problems, Dr. Moole and the team at Merus Gastroenterology are here to help. With their collaborative approach and dedication to patient care, they can help you manage your symptoms and promote your gut health.