Constipation affects a large portion of the population. Left untreated, it can impact on your overall health, with serious consequences.
Regular constipation affects at least 12% of the world’s population!
Constipation, the inability to pass often hard and dry stools, affects everyone at least once in their life, and lifestyle is often the culprit. In our fast-paced, stress-filled days health often falls to the bottom of the priority list as we make poor food choices and lose track of our water intake.
Travel and changes in routine can also slow down the digestive system as a result of eating and sleeping cycles that are different to your usual routine. Inactivity and lack of exercise contribute to constipation as it takes longer for the stool to move through the digestive system, allowing for more water absorption and drier stools. In addition to common side effects such as bloating and cramps, if left untreated or if recurring frequently, constipation can cause a range of additional complications, or can indicate a more serious
The inability to pass waste regularly creates a build-up in the colon and large intestine. Bad bacteria, normally eliminated from the body through stools, accumulates within your system. These toxins can travel back through the
bowels and stomach, leading to an imbalance between good and bad bacteria in the gut, often manifesting in bad breath and skin problems. The largest organ, the skin is usually a tell-tale that something is amiss in the body. If you’re seeing an increase in blemishes, discolouration and breakouts while struggling with regular tummy habits,
constipation could be the problem, as your body attempts to deal with more toxins.
Keep constipation at bay by making healthy food choices and meeting daily fibre requirements. Exercise and
keeping your body hydrated play a vital role in digestive health and are a great place to start if your bowels are
Weakened immune system
An increase of toxins in the digestive system and gut has a knock-on effect in your immune system. Largely dependent on the healthy bacteria in the stomach to break down pathogens entering the system through your mouth, an increase in internal toxins means that your immune system is working extra hard, making you more susceptible
to common colds and viruses. Constipation coupled with an overworked immune system can make you feel tired and sluggish with low energy levels, as the body attempts to fight and correct the imbalance of harmful bacteria.
Urinary tract issues
A build-up of waste in the colon can place unwanted strain and pressure on the urinary system. As the colon fills up with hard faecal matter, it presses against the bladder and urethra, making it difficult to empty the bladder completely and creating the urge to urinate frequently. Urine left in the bladder can harvest bacteria like E.coli, which is responsible for urinary tract infections.
The colon takes the most strain in cases of frequent or chronic constipation. Straining when constipated, and impacted hard stools, can lead to a range of uncomfortable issues, from painful anal fissures or tears, which can take some time to heal, to haemorrhoids and, in extreme cases, even prolapse of the colon.
While having the ability to affect the body on a large scale, constipation can also be an indicator of underlying health concerns. Certain neurological, endocrine, metabolic, systemic diseases and cancer can result in constipation. If recurring frequently or difficult to treat with over-the-counter medicine, a doctor’s visit is recommended to discover the
cause for your tummy troubles, and to root out any serious concerns.
FEATURE: TARYN DAS NEVES PHOTO: FOTOLIA.COM