Alleviating constipation

Alleviating symptoms

Shirley Webber - Research Dietitian, 19 July 2016

We’ve all eaten something that just doesn’t sit well and resulted in symptoms. Most frequently when we are eating out and have had less control over what we are eating. Following a low FODMAP diet can help manage symptoms but what can you do when you’re in the middle of experiencing those symptoms? Symptoms vary from one person to the next including bloating, abdominal pain, distention, constipation, diarrhea, altered bowl habits, excessive gas and intestinal noises, or any combination of these. Each symptoms has its own management strategy.

We are going to bring you some tips to help alleviate symptoms over the coming weeks, including ideas to help with acute symptoms which occur quickly after you have eaten a trigger food, as well as ideas to help prevent symptoms from occurring in the future. We will start the first blog of the series with some information for those that suffer constipation as a major symptom.

Constipation can be alleviated by:
  • Ensuring that your diet includes foods rich in insoluble and soluble fibres. Insoluble fibre gives bulk to your stool and soluble fibre forms a gel in the gut that helps stools to move through the gastrointestinal tract. Introducing these fibres gradually will help to avoid exacerbating your symptoms.
  • If constipation is severe and laxative medication is required, take this as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Exercise regularly to help to get things moving. Try going for a walk, taking the stairs instead of the lift or escalator, join a yoga or Pilates class or go for a jog. It doesn’t have to be intense exercise but any little bit of physical activity will help.
  • If you have the urge to open your bowels, GO - even if it means using a public toilet or the toilet at work or school. You may also need to make time to open your bowels by getting up a little earlier in the morning and leaving time for a drink and breakfast.
  • Fibre supplements may be recommended by health professionals for those struggling with constipation. Use these as prescribed.
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