There is nothing worse than feeling puffed up and bloated. Your clothes that once felt comfortable and looked good on you, take on a new look of bursting at the seams, resulting in others thinking you have put on the pounds. At the same time, you can’t enjoy eating like you once did because, even a little food makes you feel like you have over eaten and the bloating increases. If this sounds familiar to you, the chances are you may well be suffering with constipation.
Constipation affects everyone at some point, and more so as we age. No doubt you have heard you should be eating more fiber rich foods, such as whole grain breads and plenty of fruit and veges. But many people find no matter how much more fiber they add to their diet, the constipation persists.
This is Largely Due to a Few Factors…
We are all different, so what may work for one person, may not necessarily work for you. The following tips below will give you some idea to what may be creating your bloating and constipation.
(1) Balance in what you eat is crucial to get your body back into a more regular bowel function. Maybe you are eating too many grain based fiber foods, and not enough fiber rich fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts. You may need to experiment with these food groups to see what works for you.
(2) You may have a condition called Irritable Bowel Syndrome – This condition is very common and is renown for causing bloating and constipation. In some people it can have the opposite effect by creating bouts of diarrhea, or give you diarrhea one minute and constipation the next. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is caused by your body getting sensitive and unable to tolerate various foods.
(3) You may be intolerant to gluten – Gluten is the main binding protein in wheat, rye and barley. If you have been taking wheat based laxatives or eating more grain based foods, but haven’t been able to alleviate the constipation, you could well be gluten intolerant. Processed foods are also high in gluten. Eliminating all wheat/gluten products from your diet is a good way to test for a possible gluten intolerance. If you do have the gluten intolerance, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to keep off gluten products forever. It may mean your body can only tolerate small amounts of gluten. Adding small amounts of gluten back into your diet, and keeping note of how you bowel reacts will give you some idea how much gluten you can tolerate.
(4) You have Celiac disease (be allergic to Gluten) – Celiac disease is hereditary. When people with celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. If left untreated it can lead to more serious health problems. For more information see the Celiac Disease Foundation. If you think you do have Celiac Disease it is crucial you seek a diagnose from your health care professional.
(5) Stress & Anxiety – Stress and anxiety can cause an imbalance in the bodies natural chemical system, resulting in everything that passes through the body and stomach being affected.
(6) Ignore the urge to go – If you are someone that ignores the urge to go because you don’t like using public toilets, the toilet at work or any other toilet away from home, constipation can soon become a problem. Many people don’t like using toilets away from home because they are worried about smelling out the toilet, and others noticing. One way to avoid this type of embarrassment is to keep a small tube of perfume or deodorant spray in your hand bag or pocket, and use it if you have a smelly moment in the toilet.
You may be tempted to take laxatives. While laxatives can be effective with short-term use, they can make the bowel become lazy when used long-term, resulting in the body no longer being able to produce a bowel movement without the laxatives. If you have been constipated for more than 3-5 days or are thinking about taking laxatives, it is best to seek advice from your health care professional.
It is important to note that whenever you change your diet, to do it gradually, as it takes time for the body to adjust.
Article written by Wen Dee
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