Almost all of us have gone through a situation of constipation.
This problem can occur in all age groups.
In fact, different cases appear to me in the pharmacy every day: either it’s Rita’s baby, Joana’s grandmother, or even my friend Raquel. I will not tell you about any particular case, but about this problem in general, highlighted even on television (by people who usually have clocks on their belly).
The first question I ask is, “How long have they not had a bowel movement?”
Each person has their own rhythm. There are those who do it every morning at the same time, there are those who do it three times a day, and there are those who do it three times a week.
What is the minimum limit?
Evacuating less than three times a week is a sign of constipation, especially if it involves a lot or considerable effort. In these situations, abdominal discomfort is frequent.
This problem can occur for two reasons: either the feces that the intestine produces are too solid, or the bowel movements to remove them are insufficient.
If the stool stays in the intestine for too long, they usually dehydrate and solidify even more, so it will be more difficult to expel them.
So it is necessary to find a SOLUTION.
To vary slightly, the first steps taken include some changes in lifestyle:
1- Choose foods with a high fiber content: these foods have the ability to increase the volume of feces and make them softer, facilitating their progression. Fruit, vegetables and cereals are examples of these foods. Cheese and rice can harden the stool, so they should be avoided.
2 – Drink plenty of fluids: since they have the ability to make stools softer and help in their movement. Here, I mean water, fruit juices, and even soups.
3 – Exercise: to stimulate the intestinal muscles. Walk, swim, run or pedal!
Often, people go to the pharmacy in search of a laxative. These medicinal products should only be used exceptionally and when advised by a doctor or pharmacist.
There are different types of laxatives, so the most appropriate depends on the characteristics of each situation and each person.
In addition, side effects, such as stomach pain, gas, nausea, and changes in the absorption of nutrients or even medicines, may occur.
WARNING: When used inadequately, our intestines can become lazy.
So think twice before taking a laxative! Despite this, some of them are quite safe to use, even for longer periods.
If in doubt, your pharmacist is there to advise you about the situation 😉
Text written by Filipa.