Understanding The Basics Of Constipation

Going to the loo? And, finding it difficult to poop or feeling heaviness even after pooping out. It may be happening due to constipation. So, you are not alone who is suffering from constipation. Almost 2.5 million people visit the doctor annually with gastrointestinal problems, especially Constipation. It is a common problem that affects people irrespective of age. Everyone goes through constipation somewhere in their life. So, let’s start by knowing about constipation.

What is constipation?

Constipation is defined as having an infrequent bowel movement less than 3 times a week, getting hard and lumpy stools which can be large or small, a feeling of unclear stools, and difficulty or pain while passing stools.

Constipation affects our health in both mental and physical ways. Every person has a different bowel movement, some go three times a day while others go three times a week. It is normal and unique depending upon your body and your bowel pattern if it’s not too far from your regular bowel movement.

Constipation is not considered a disease but a symptom that is of two types such as acute and chronic. Acute constipation is short-term constipation that usually occurs due to an unhealthy lifestyle, dietary habits, or the use of certain types of medications. Whereas, chronic constipation is having an irregular bowel movement that stays for several weeks.

What are the causes of constipation?

Our gut is responsible for the removal of food residue. Sometimes, it gets altered due to certain reasons which makes food residue stay in the colon for a long. The main function of the colon is to absorb water from the remaining food.

The longer food stays in the colon, the more water will be absorbed by the colon. Thus, makes it hard and difficult to pass during bowel movement.

There is various cause of constipation such as lifestyle factor, dietary habits, medicine, and medical conditions.

Lifestyle and dietary habits include

• Dehydration

• Low-fiber diets such as meat and dairy products

• Stress

• Delaying the urge for bowel movement

• Changes in the routine such as eating, traveling, and sleeping pattern

• Overuse of laxatives

• Low physical activity

• Older age


• Antacids,

• Diuretics,

• Pain medication

• Anti-depressants

• Iron pills

• Allergy medicines, etc

Medical condition

• Pregnancy

• Irritable bowel syndrome

• Diverticular disease

• Colorectal cancer

• Hypothyroidism

• Diabetes

Food to eat in constipation

Food that is rich in fiber such as fruits and vegetables is quite helpful in relieving constipation.

There are two types of fiber found in the food.

  1. Insoluble fiber – It adds bulk to the stool and makes it pass quickly through the body.
  2. Soluble fiber- It helps to absorb water and form gel-like consistency which softens the stool.

The high fiber food is

  • Fruits


One of the widely used dried fruit to relieve constipation. It is also known as dried plums. The insoluble fiber, cellulose in the prunes helps to add bulk to the stool whereas soluble fiber increase the stool weight.


It contains a good amount of fiber which helps to improve stomach discomfort and promote regular bowel movement.


It is a rich source of fiber. The pectin present in apples helps to increase the frequency of bowel movement and softens the stool. One may eat whole apples or in the form of salads to get the fiber in the diet.


It is one of the best fruit to add to the diet to get rid of constipation. As it contains a high amount of fiber which leads to healthy digestion.

Additionally, pear, kiwi, blackberries, raspberries, and grapes also give an adequate amount of fiber.

  • Olive and flaxseed oil

These oils are rich in antioxidants and contain antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties. The compound present in the oil helps in digestion. It has a mild laxative effect which can be used sometimes to relieve constipation. One may also include flaxseed and chia seeds to get enough of fiber in the diet.

  • Vegetables

The insoluble fiber in the vegetables adds bulk to stools and promotes regular bowel movement. For example, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, broccoli, beets, green peas, and so on.

  • Pulses

The fiber content of pulses is very high, especially in beans, peas, and lentils. It also contains other nutrients such as potassium, zinc, folate, and many more which help to relieve constipation.

  • Water

As a fiber, water is also one of the important components to ease constipation. It is essential because the dehydrated body couldn’t able to add water to stools which lead to form hard and lumps stools. So, drinking plenty of water is necessary to avoid constipation.

  • Probiotics

It is the beneficial live bacteria or yeast which is essential for the health of the gut. Sometimes, infection or certain disease condition alters the presence of good bacteria in the gut. The regular use of probiotics helps to maintain the good gut flora in the digestive tract which leads to improves gut health.

A healthy gut means good digestion so the body becomes free from all types of gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and constipation. Food sources of probiotics are yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and so on.

One may add probiotic supplements as well in the diet if unable to take them through the food sources. The probiotics supplements come in both tablet and gummies form. Gummies have more acceptance among people due to their candy form and fruity flavor.

Arechar’s Vitagoli is one of the trusted brands that sell pre and digestive probiotics gummies. It contains various ingredients such as bacillus coagulans, chicory extract, apple cider vinegar, cranberry extract, and omega 3. These ingredients together help to promote digestion. The main ingredient of gummies is bacillus coagulans which is a probiotic that plays an important role in relieving constipation. Hence, one should include probiotics in the diet to get the proper digestive advantage of gummies. Now, let’s talk about metabolism and its effects on constipation.

Also Read: A Healthy Gut: Way To Digestive Delight

What is metabolism?

Metabolism is a series of chemical reactions which is essential to sustain life. There are two types of metabolic processes involved in metabolism.

  1.  Anabolism – The building up of larger molecules from simpler substances is known as anabolism. This process requires a high amount of energy.
  2. Catabolism – The breaking down of larger molecules into smaller molecules is known as catabolism. This process releases a high amount of energy which is required by our body to function properly.

How metabolism affects digestion?

Having a high metabolism is crucial for proper digestion. A slow metabolism takes a long time to move food through the GI tract which leads to slower digestion hence constipation occurs. Poor diet and sedentary lifestyle is the major cause of slow metabolism. Slow metabolism also makes the body dehydrated which is again responsible for constipation. Constipation and slow metabolism work visa versa.

Additionally, the metabolism slows down with age. As we age, our body has to work more to get rid of waste accumulation. The type of food consumption plays an important role in slower metabolism and constipation. Such as a low-fiber diet, less hydration, and so on. Thus, one must include more fiber in their diet to ease constipation and should gradually increase the amount of fiber to avoid gas and bloating. Also, stay hydrated as much as possible for a regular bowel movement.

Food to avoid during constipation

In the above paragraph, we have discussed the food that helps with constipation. Now, we will discuss the food that needs to be avoided during constipation. As it is equally important for us to know about the food that causes constipation.

Low-fiber food is the major culprit of constipation. It includes

• Meat

• Dairy products

• White flour

• Fried food

• Processed food

Due to less fiber, this food slows down digestion which hardens the stool and causes constipation.

In conclusion,

Constipation is not a disease but symptoms that can be cured by following proper diet and lifestyle. It is important to find the cause of constipation for better treatment. Observe yourself properly and find out what triggers you most. It can be anything in food, physical activity, stress, changes in routine, and so on. Find out the cause and act accordingly. If you are suffering from chronic constipation then talk to your healthcare professional for personalized treatment as soon as possible.

FAQs ( Frequently asked questions )

1. How many bowel movements a week is a sign of constipation?

A person who is having a bowel movement less than three times a week is considered constipated.

2. How do I know if I am constipated?

Getting an infrequent bowel movement, hard or lumpy stools and a feeling of heaviness in the stomach after poop is a sign of constipation.

3. How to get rid of constipation during pregnancy?

Due to hormonal changes, constipation is a common problem which is experienced by females during pregnancy. Following a healthy diet and lifestyle helps to treat it. So, eat food that is rich in fiber and drink plenty of water. Also, proper sleep at night and a bit of exercise help even more.

4. What to do if constipation is not cured?

Talk to the healthcare professional as soon as possible if you are suffering from constipation for a long. As they will guide you according to your condition and help you to treat constipation more effectively.

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