There are ample reasons to be dissatisfied, but nothing beats the dissatisfaction of not experiencing complete stool clearance. Last week as I was suggesting medicines to one of my Kidney transplant patients, he happened to ask me for tips about dealing with constipation. His wife felt uncomfortable at the discussion which made me understand that it was about her. I asked her if she is willing to share. She had been to the hospital before in her life once when she was unable to go to the bathroom for 3 weeks. Her experience was so painful, traumatizing, and shameful that the memory still haunts her, and she is scared to seek help from doctors at all. Her concern was genuine, people really underestimate how difficult and debilitating the problem of constipation can be. I suggested her home remedies that I would like to share with you too.
Constipation is a major problem. Almost 60 to 70% of the patients that I come across regularly are having the common problem of improper stool clearance. Studies show that women are more prone to constipation than men.
So today let’s discuss tips that would come in handy to cope with constipation be it for kidney patients, diabetic patients, or people dealing with chronic constipation in general.
It can be said that you are healthy if you are having a healthy stomach. If the food that we are having gets digested properly and passes as normal stool then it can be considered one of the most vital indications of good health. Do you know that our stomach is the source of most diseases? Our intestine is an extremely intelligent instrument. Whatever we consume, gets converted by this instrument into various requirements of our body and lastly, the waste is excreted in the form of stool. Thus if the separation of nutrients and waste from the food that we consume does not occur properly then the effect is definite to be reflected in our body. In case of constipation, the waste usually gets stored in the body. Thus the bacteria in the gut slowly get along in the blood.
What are the diseases that begin in our stomach?
1. Heart diseases
2. Neurological diseases
3. Kidney Disease
4. Liver disease
5. Stomach disorder
6. Sleeping disorder
7. Skin problems
Not only that, the balance of diabetes, immunity, and health, in general, all change if a person is having constipation.
With age, the problem of constipation eventually increases. But for the patients that I deal with usually, say for those with renal failure on long-standing diabetes, the opacity for constipation is much higher. Thus it can be said that having constipation is considered a poor indicator of overall health. Those with chronic constipation (more than 3 months) must be aware of being subjected to chronic diseases.
Best ways to avoid constipation-
1. Improper diet and inadequate fluid intake
If an individual’s diet is high on protein or food that takes longer to be digested then they have higher chances of constipation. On the contrary having a diet that, is rich in fiber and roughage can highly help in resolving constipation.
Consult a dietician to know what is needed 👉
One is often suggested to consume Bananas if suffering from irregular stool, as it is high in fiber.
Note- it is important to remember that among all the fruits and vegetables rich in fibre, there is also a portion that is rich in potassium. For those who are having kidney problems or have high content potassium in their blood, it is not advisable to increase your dietary fibre without consultation. It is recommended to consult a dietician in this case before taking any further steps.
2. Consumption of Brown rice-
Brown rice is rich in fibre. Thus consumption of brown rice automatically eradicates the problem of constipation. Switching a rice meal with multigrain Atta can also help in dealing with constipation.
3. Avoid going to sleep immediately after having a meal-
A walk of 15 or 30 minutes after having dinner can be extremely helpful in terms of digestion and also avoiding constipation.
4. Chewing the food properly-
Do you know that 30% of a food’s digestion occurs in the mouth itself? Henceforth it is very important that we have a meal with all our attention and chew it properly so that it easily gets digested. Proper digestion is the key to avoiding constipation.
5. Less than 100% is beneficial-
When it comes to your stomach and digestion it is best if we don’t fill it 100%. The ratio must be 50% food, 1/3 water, and the rest one-third empty for air. For digestion, it is important for the enzymes to properly mix with food, air, and water. Thus it is always advisable to not stuff oneself with food and keep some empty room to avoid constipation.
Habits one must practice to get rid of constipation:
1. Have water in the morning when your stomach is still empty.
Having 2 glasses of water can effectively help you reduce the problem of constipation.
Note- for kidney patients with restriction to water drinking or undergoing dialysis are recommended to get consulted with their doctor before starting this practice.
2. Exercise and practices Yoga to get relief from constipation.
Know all the yoga practices to get rid of constipation. Avail personal training for your specific problem or if you have constipation symptoms.
3. Medicines– such as iron tablets, and calcium channel blockers (medicines for controlling blood pressure) usually have a common side effect of constipation. Although iron is highly efficient to increase blood in the body, especially taken by pregnant women and renal failure patients suffering from anemia, it can also be a cause of constipation.
Note- it is advisable to take injectable iron instead of consuming it orally under proper doctor consultation to avoid constipation.
4. Intake of antacids– sucralfate or aluminum-containing antacids used to treat acidity is one of the reasons for constipation. Few other medicines such as anticholinergic drugs, a few antidepressant medications might also lead to constipation.
Thus if you are among those who are already suffering from constipation, must visit your doctor with a list of those medications that you usually consume.
Diseases that add up to constipation:
1. Diabetes- diabetic gastro paresis might be one of the reasons for constipation.
2. Thyroid- people suffering from Thyroid or hypothyroidism might also suffer from constipation due to the imbalance in the dosage of medicine
Another helpful procedure to get rid of constipation is using an Indian-style toilet. This is considered one of the best practices to prevent constipation. The manner in which it is required to sit in the Indian-style toilet helps relax the anal muscles. Practicing this since childhood also prevents obesity. This natural posture is very much helpful in passing the stool normally and does prevent constipation.
Few exceptions have to be made for people with knee or heel pain and problems and also for people with obesity. If you are using a western style of toilet, it is advisable to use the toilet footstool. Using a footstool can be highly helpful to pass feces normally and prevent constipation.
Nowadays we are more dependent on medicines whenever we face constipation. Medicine such as Duphalac, Softovac, etc. are no doubt helpful but regular use of such medicine might also result in loose motion.
The first few things that one must progress with to avoid constipation are changes in their diet and lifestyle, food habits, exercise and yoga, morning water drinking, followed by toilet modification. Even after all this, if chronic constipation prevails then one might take the help of medications under proper doctor consultation. As water consumption is an issue for kidney patients or renal failure patients with restricted water intake they are prone to constipation. Often for them, medicine is the only solution. The safest for them would be dietary fiber (Isabgol), bulk-forming purgatives, but that too along with other medicines has to be taken under a doctor’s advice.
Constipation is not to be taken lightly since it is the source of many chronic diseases. Remember regular stool clearance can prevent many diseases.