Constipation is one of the most common digestive complaints we get asked about. It’s estimated that about 10 million people in the UK experience constipation at any given time, leaving us feeling bloating, nauseous, and miserable. Follow these science-based steps to get rid of constipation for good.
1. Take a fibre supplement
The recommended intake of dietary fibre for a typical adult is 30g each day. Getting our fibre intake exclusively from whole foods (vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and wholegrains) is ideal. But for those suffering from chronic constipation, using a fibre supplement is an effective way to provide long-term support.
Aim for a natural supplement with a diversity of different fibres, including prebiotic (fermentable fibres) that feed the beneficial microbes in your gut. Learn more about precision fibre mixes here.
2. Water Intake
Aim for 2L minimum of fluid each day from water and de-caffeinated tea. Fibre absorbs water and helps to improve the bulk (weight) and consistency of stools. Beware, if you increase your fibre intake without increasing water, this may exacerbate your constipation further.
3. Get the digestive system moving with exercise
Research has shown that low to moderate intensity aerobic exercise can help stimulate the muscles that contract the gut walls, helping to move the contents of the gut.
4. Schedule time to use the toilet
This one might sound strange, but set aside time to go to the toilet every day, even if you don’t think you can go. However, try and limit this to 10 minutes or less to reduce the risk of haemorrhoids or prolapsed rectal tissue.
5. Sit on the toilet properly
Make sure you are sitting in an optimal position when going to the toilet. This means:
- Sitting with your knees higher than your hips (a foot stool or flat object can help)
- Lean forward and put your elbows on your knees
- Relax your stomach
- Straighten your spine
6. Stress management
Often, stress and constipation go hand in hand. If you are experiencing stress and anxiety, it can make it very difficult for your digestive system to move effectively. If you think this might be influencing your bowel movements, try yoga, meditation, or other stress-relieving activities.
7. Know when to seek help
If you’ve tried the above and it’s not getting better, it might be time to talk to your healthcare professional. While natural solutions are always best, listen to your body and know when it’s time to seek help.