Myths about constipation

In this condition the bowel movements are infrequent and is difficult to pass. Shying away from treatment may lead to serious problems. Despite this several myths have found their way in our society that are far from facts. Mentioned ahead are the popular myths about constipation.

Absence of a single bowel movement in a day is abnormal whereas less than 5-6 bowel movements in a week is a sign of chronic constipationThis is absolutely wrong. The definition of ‘normal’ varies from person to person when it comes to defecation. A person having three bowel movements in a day is as normal as a person having the same number of bowel movements in an entire week. In fact, less than 50 percent of people defecate once a day. A person may not visit the toilet for days and it may just be normal for him. Three to 21 defecation in a week is considered as normal and eliminates the chance of constipation. It has been found that around 95 percent of adults have bowel movements that range between 3-21 in a week. When you have less than three bowel movements in a week, have hard stools, have difficulty in bowel movement, or feel bloated or gassy, you may be suffering from constipation. To confirm the same, visit your physician.Constipation causes health problems and builds toxins in your bodyIt is often believed that infrequent bowel movements or constipation accumulates or builds harmful toxins in the intestine or colon. As per myths, constipation leads to absorption of poisonous stuff from stool. No scientific evidence has been found to support this myth. Often constipation is associated with diseases like cancer citing the infrequent bowel movement as the core cause behind the life threatening disease. But, there is absolutely no evidence or proof to prove this myth a fact. Even there is no proof that cleansing the colon, using laxatives or enemas, can prevent diseases like cancer. Having said that, there is no harm in cleansing the colon or using laxatives. Even if it doesn’t protect you from dangerous diseases, at least it would help you get freedom from the irritating discomfort of constipation.Constipation is a sign that you need more fiberFiber intake is important for regulating or having a clear bowel movement. But, considering the lack of it as the only reason or cause of constipation is not right. This means that if you have chronic constipation, that may not necessarily be due to lack of sufficient fiber in your diet. There may be other reasons behind the infrequent bowel movements too. Sometimes constipation is just a sign of some other and more serious health problem or disease. Constipation can be a sign of diseases like diabetes or thyroid. It can also be a warning sign of an autoimmune disease or colorectal cancer. It can also be an effect of a stroke or Parkinson’s disease, or the side effect of some medicine. Other things that can lead to constipation are vacations, mood changes or depression, lack of fluid intake, lack of exercise, etc.Coffee can help you fix your constipationCoffee can cause a bowel movement by stimulating and contracting the muscles in the digestive system. In spite of that, coffee is not only not advised for constipation, but it is always advised to stay clear off coffee along with alcohol or other caffeinated drinks like cola and tea. The reason behind it is coffee is diuretic, just like alcohol, and it takes out liquid out of stools. As a result, stool becomes harder making it difficult for an already constipated person to pass it. Therefore, coffee is not helpful, but harmful for constipation making the above mentioned myth an incorrect one.Constipation occurs to only older peopleConstipation is a very common problem that doesn’t see age before occurring in a person. Though, it is true that constipation does bother aged people more as with age the number of bowel movements of a person decreases. This may be due to lack of sufficient nutrition or physical activity, side effect of medications, or due to some other illness. But, constipation is a very common gastrointestinal problem among younger people too. It is particularly found occurring commonly in pregnant women, post child birth or post any surgery. It has been found that more than 4 million Americans face constipation problem, which includes large number of people who do not fall in the older age group.
Holding a bowel movement is not harmfulHolding a bowel movement is a very wrong idea and may introduce or aggravate constipation problem in a person. At certain times you may not be in a suitable position to answer nature’s call. You may not be in the right place to have a bowel movement or you may not have the time to clear your bowel. But, that might cause more trouble to you than utter physical discomfort during that particular time. If you keep repeating this matter of holding your bowel movement, over a period of time you will face weakening of signals and/or chronic constipation. Many people try to build a habit of having a bowel movement only at a particular time which may be early morning or after dinner. Not that trying to fix a particular time is bad, but not having a bowel movement or holding it to set that schedule is absolutely incorrect as in the long run it will lead to chronic constipation and bigger troubles.Laxatives affect instantly but are habit formingLaxatives are neither habit forming nor do they work immediately. The laxatives available over-the-counter might need a few minutes to a few days to show their effect. There are a number of over-the-counter laxatives and their effectiveness or the time they need to create a bowel movement differs from one to another. At the same time, laxatives are medications to help you fix your constipation problem and they are not addictive. But, even then the consumption of laxatives should be restricted as overuse of laxatives may result in various digestive problems.

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