Constipation and weight loss – how to deal with both?

I know that constipation is not the most glamorous topic, but it certainly is an important one. Actually I have been approached by a couple of people who follow the blog who have asked me to deal with this topic. One lady in particular suffers from constipation; bloating and is having difficulty in losing weight as she is unable to stick to a proper diet due to the heavy feeling caused by the constipation itself. I am quite sure this problem is common as ive dealt with it often at the pharmacy.

Over 25% of the population suffer from constipation. Doctors write thousands of prescriptions for constipation per year, and lots of money is spent annually on laxatives. Clearly this is a significant topic, even if we don’t want to talk about it much!

So what is constipation, anyway? If you ask different providers, they very well may give you different definitions. The classic criteria for constipation (which can vary by person) will include two or more of the following: Fewer than 3 bowel movements per week, hard stools, feeling as if you are not done, a sensation of obstruction and bloating, and hard stool without the use of laxatives. Constipation is three times as likely in women as in men, and more common in people over 65.

Most of us have gone through this phase sometime or other in our life. Have you ever wondered why? Well, I know this topic is not something that will come up in daily conversations but for people who suffer from constipation it’s important to be informed as it affects their life significantly.

Constipation can results in symptoms like abdominal discomfort, feeling of incomplete evacuation, hard stools, rectal or anal bleeding.

Constipation occurs where the food in the stomach and intestine is taking an inconsistently long time to be digested. The contractions that push the food forward is called the peristalsis movement. When the semi-digested food is not pushed forward but remains in the intestine it starts fermenting, causing gases and bloating to occur.

When we travel our eating, sleeping habits become irregular, bringing with it changes in our digestive system which can sometimes cause constipation. It can also happen due to some medications, low fibre diet, hormonal disorders, stress, pelvic disorder, less water intake and imbalances in the flora in our gut. When that happens we must increase our water intake immediately so as to keep the colon well hydrated to make sure that the contents doesn’t dry out.

Another reason could also be a sedentary lifestyle. It is important to keep up with moderate activity as we grow older our metabolism gradually slows down and with it the digestive process. Our body is like a machine that we need to keep well-oiled in all departments to keep working properly.

Here are Simple solutions that can help to prevent and cure it.

1. Good Fibre: Increase fiber intake so that there is sufficient fibre for bile to mix with and digest the food. Soluble fibre softens the stools and insoluble fibre adds bulk and roughage to the stools. Eg Legumes, Oats, rice bran, whole fruits, green vegetables , and prunes

2. Adequate hydration is must: Increase your water intake makes possible for the insoluble fibre in the colon to move forward more effectively.. Water ensure a good production of digestive juices in the stomach and intestine and smooth passage of food thorough the intestine. It even makes stools softer to ensure they are passed out easily. Drink about 3-3.5ltrs per day to keep cells hydrated.

Use the bathroom as and when needed. Do not hold back.

3. Regularize lifestyle and eating and sleeping patterns. Have good sound sleep and avoid stress. Destress yourself with some meditation or deep breathing techniques

4. Avoid all the packaged foods, and foods loaded with refined flour. Trans fat, sodium and other preservatives are low in fibre or lack fibre completely.

5. One of the best home remedy is to soak 2 prunes or 4-5raisins overnight and then have it in the morning with a glass of luke warm water.

6. Exercise about 30-45min daily. This improves blood circulation which promotes better digestion and hence clear bowel movement. Avoid exercise immediately after meals.

Sometimes unfortunately all of the above are not enough to help with constipation in those cases you can resort to the use of vegetal extracts that promote or encourage the evacuation of stools. You can speak to your pharmacist/doctor about trying out Erbalax which is a range of herbal products that deals with this problem.

Since the ladies who have approached with this problem complained of not only constipation but bloating and difficulty in losing weight due to this problem Im going to mention Erbalax Slim. Erbalax slim has a dual formulation it will help deal with constipation and at the same time promote metabolism of fat. It contains Senna which will have a laxative effect as well as Bromelain (pineapple extract) which will help with bloating and cellulite and finally Fucoxanthin that will help in metabolism of fats and promote weight loss. So if you are having this problem a 6 week course of erbalax slim might be just what you are looking for. Erbalax slim is also perfect for those who are travelling since they are easy to carry with you – all you need to do is mix the stick with 150ml of water and drink it before you go to bed.

How many of you readers suffer from this problem?