Can high fiber diet, drink more water and exercise cure constipation? I’m afraid this is not the case.
Let’s talk about common misconceptions about constipation:
Myth 1: Constipation is not caused by soft defecation every day?
With the improvement of the quality of life requirements, people’s requirements for defecation are also higher. They often hope that they can defecate every day, and the defecation process is very smooth and effortless. Once there is an abnormality, or one day there is no defecation, they will think: Well, am I constipated?
Many people, especially women who love beauty, have incorrect understanding of constipation.
For doctors, constipation has diagnostic criteria:
- Refers to the reduction of defecation frequency (< 3 times/week); Feces are dry and hard; Defecation is time-consuming and laborious, with insufficient defecation or manual assistance. Symptoms last for at least 6 months.
Myth 2: Constipation is not a big problem?
Both doctors and patients tend to despise constipation.
In fact, eating, drinking, pulling and scattering are the basic components of one’s life, and defecation problems have a great impact on the quality of life and happiness.
Suffering from constipation for a long time will seriously affect the quality of life, some even affect normal work and social intercourse, and will also lead to psychological problems such as anxiety. At the same time, psychological problems will in turn affect intestinal health and form a vicious circle.
Myth 3: Will you be constipated when you get old?
Although constipation is more common among the elderly, it does not mean that people will definitely suffer from constipation as they get older.
After entering old age, people’s colon peristalsis will be slightly slower than when they were young, but if they always adhere to a healthy diet and lifestyle, [aging] cannot directly lead to constipation.
On the contrary, some neglected basic diseases and drugs taken at ordinary times are the main causes of constipation.
For example, patients with the following diseases are more prone to constipation:
- Stroke, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes
The following drugs have side effects that lead to constipation:
- Some anti-inflammatory drugs, some antihypertensive drugs, narcotic and sedative drugs
This is why elderly patients with constipation need to do many tests to rule out the existence of underlying diseases that cause constipation. Sometimes, changing the medication plan or treating underlying diseases can significantly improve constipation.
Myth 4: Constipation Caused by Low Fiber Diet?
There is no doubt that many constipation patients lack cellulose in their daily diet.
However, some studies have shown that there is no difference in cellulose intake between constipated and non-constipated people. A healthy diet cannot be separated from cellulose, but constipation will not occur just because of low cellulose intake.
Myth 5: Can these methods cure constipation?
1. Drink more yogurt to treat constipation?
Although probiotics in yogurt can enhance the vitality of intestinal flora, in order to improve constipation with yogurt, sufficient probiotic viable bacteria are needed.
This means drinking at least twice as much yogurt as usual every day.
For patients with severe constipation symptoms, doctors often recommend probiotic drugs. This method is more effective than yogurt to supplement probiotics. However, for people without severe constipation symptoms, drinking yogurt every day does help defecate.
2. Can drinking more water treat constipation?
Drinking more water can indeed promote intestinal peristalsis. However, for patients with anorectal incongruity, constipation cannot be cured, but can only improve symptoms.
It is not enough to treat constipation just by drinking more water.
3. Can more exercise treat constipation?
Doctors often advise constipation patients to exercise moderately.
For some patients with slow colonic peristalsis and uncoordinated anal muscle movement, moderate exercise can improve symptoms to a certain extent and cannot fundamentally solve the cause.
However, exercise is beneficial to one’s overall health, and everyone should exercise.
Myth 6: To treat, you can only change your living habits and take laxatives?
Doctors usually advise constipation patients to add more fruits, vegetables and grains to their diet, exercise more, drink more water and defecate regularly. However, for some patients, besides changing their lifestyle, more targeted measures are needed.
Now, there is already treatment for the causes of constipation.
Step 1 Stimulate colonic peristalsis
Patients can take osmotic laxatives, which can carry more water to the intestinal tract, increase stool volume and promote intestinal peristalsis.
If conventional osmotic laxatives are ineffective, prokinetic drugs can be considered. These drugs can directly stimulate the intestinal tract and increase the intestinal peristalsis of patients. For constipation patients with slow colon peristalsis, these drugs can bring great improvement.
In some rare cases, surgery can also be performed to remove most of the colon, reduce the walking distance of stool and make stool reach the rectum faster.
2. Coordinate anorectal movement
For patients with anorectal incongruity, there is also a new treatment method: behavioral therapy, also known as biofeedback therapy.
The reason for constipation in these patients is that their defecation movements are wrong, but their anus, which should have been relaxed, is abnormally contracted. Behavioral therapy can let them intuitively see their defecation movements are wrong, and through continuous practice, they can learn the correct defecation movements, thus treating constipation.
According to statistics, this kind of therapy has an effective rate of 70%, which can greatly improve the quality of life of half of the patients. However, this kind of therapy is not yet popular in China.
Defecation is still a relatively private topic. Many people often feel that it is not necessary to seek medical treatment when they have this problem, or that it is a problem that they are ashamed to say and embarrassed to seek medical treatment.
However, if constipation is not solved in the early stage and allowed to develop, it will often have a great impact on the quality of life in the end.
Sometimes, constipation is still a manifestation of some diseases, such as rectal cancer and endocrine system diseases. It is very important to seek help from doctors in time.
Therefore, once you feel that your defecation is not smooth and laborious, please see a doctor in time and seek professional help.
Responsible Editor: Zhang Jingyuan