Understanding Constipation & Its Effects

· 2 min read
Understanding Constipation & Its Effects

If you’ve been living on this planet and in this country for quite some time, chances are you are well acquainted with the term ‘constipation’. If not, then let us first tell you what it means. Constipation refers to having a hard and dry bowel movement. It could also mean having a bowel movement less than three times a week. This could result in straining or a sensation of pain when you go to the loo. One could also feel a rectal blockage.

If you’ve ever had constipation, you might be well aware of how it not only affects one’s physical health but also other spheres in one's life. For instance, it can cause changes in your mental health in the form of feelings of fatigue and irritation. Your work will not stay unaffected for long. And let’s not even get started about how your social life might be affected - talking might seem like a draining task, the idea of eating anything can cause a scare.

People say, “You are what you eat.” In the case of constipation, “You are what you pass out.”

What leads to constipation?”  Well, think of your colon like a hard-working fellow whose job is to absorb water from residual water and then create stool from it. If the stool remains with this fellow for too long, the stool can become hard and difficult to pass.

The following are some of the causes that might make one feel constipated:

  • Low fibre diet/diets high in milk, meat, or cheese
  • High-stress levels
  • Change in routine
  • Lack of exercise
  • Holding your bowel movement
  • Certain medications
  • Pregnancy

Not to worry, the phenomenon of constipation is as old as the human digestive system itself. So the treatments available are comprehensive! Here are a few of them:

  • Drink at least 2 litres of unsweetened water every day
  • Limit your alcohol or consumption of caffeinated drink because they cause dehydration
  • Populate your diet with fibre rich foods like whole grains, raw vegetables and fruits, or beans. Your daily fibre intake should be between 20 to 35 grams.
  • Cut down on meat, milk and cheese.
  • Incorporate moderate exercise into your routine like bicycling, walking, or swimming, 30 minutes of daily activity is an excellent place to start.
  • If you wish to pass a bowel movement, do not hold it. The more you wait, the harder your stool turns out to be.
  • Avoid overusing laxatives. Your doctor might prescribe them for a short time for some relief. If you wish for your colon to recover and not become dependent on these medications, then use laxatives sparingly.
  • Add probiotics to your diet, like those found in yoghurt. The healthy bacteria found in them can help with constipation.


If you continue suffering from constipation, your doctor might one - prescribe medications to help, and two - stop medicines that might be causing the condition. More severe cases might require cleaning of the colon via a surgical procedure. Good news is that most cases are mild and can be managed with changes in diet and exercise.