Have you suffered from constipation before or is being constipated a way of life? Chronic constipation is a condition where an individuals intestine doesnt function as it should, causing bowel movements to be delayed or difficult to pass.

Constipation differs from other forms of the illness, where the intestine itself functions well and is healthy, and the blockage is a temporary one caused by environmental factors such as poor diet or dehydration.

Being constipated is certainly made worse by environmental factors such as diet, dehydration, changes in life or routine, or stress, but the actual cause is the malfunctioning of the intestine.

Constipation causes pain, bloating and can point to other illnesses that require your immediate attention. To get some ideas and information on how to identify and treat constipation check

Medicine cant say for certain what causes this form of what is usually a temporary illness - a symptom, rather than an illness unto itself. However, given that it doesnt respond to standard treatment, its believed to be associated with problems with the functioning of the intestine, difficulties with hormone levels, and problems with the nerves, muscles, colon, rectum and anus.

It also may be a symptom of another illness, such as hypothyroidism, neurological disorders, Parkinsons disease or diabetes. The diagnosis is usually made if the individual has experienced straining during bowel movements, hard stools, a feeling of blockage, and fewer than three bowel movements a week for at least 12 weeks a year.

After your diagnosis, your GP will discuss a variety of treatments you can undertake. Sometimes medication such as laxatives will be prescribed. Sometimes changes will be made to your diet and exercise regimes.

If the condition fails to clear, your GP may conduct a physical examination, or a barium enema x-ray to check for obstructions or muscular malfunctions. The good news is that for most people, this is not a life long condition, and if suffers receive the proper attention and treatment, they can live normal lives.

Does Diet Affect Constipation?

Following a constipation diet is an effective way to deal with this condition. Most people find that following a constipation diet is quite easy - indeed it incorporates some basics of good nutrition that will improve several aspects of your health.

While some might think this is just a minor inconvenience, for those who suffer from it, it is not only painful, but can also have serious health implications. Left untreated, this problem can ultimately contribute towards diverticular diseases, haemorrhoids and even an increased risk of bowel cancer.

Why is a constipation diet so effective? Because this affliction is almost always due to what you eat - other contributing factors can include lack of exercise and stress.

The constipation diet focuses on a couple of main areas:

The first area to deal with is fluid intake. Your body needs lots of water in order to function properly - this includes effective digestion. While estimates vary, you should aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day in order to help your body digest and pass food easily.

The other area you need to address is fibre. Fibre is essential for good digestion. Although you can by processed fibre, it is best if it comes from the foods you eat. Fibre is found in all fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds, but not in animal products. However, it can easily be removed from plant foods by refining, so you need to aim to eat a good mix of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Sources such as white rice, white bread and pasta contain much less fibre than the unrefined versions.

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