Five Constipation Frustrations - #3
"Are you doing everything you're supposed to for constipation, but nothing is working?!"
Well, first of all, take a deep breath, relax, and realize that you're not all alone here - and you're definitely not helpless, even if it sometimes feels that way. Constipation tends to be one of the more frustrating IBS symptoms, and it does take longer to resolve through lifestyle changes than diarrhea. But - there are many, many ways to help alleviate constipation successfully, it just takes a little patience and persistence.
What's the best way to take control of IBS constipation? Just make sure you avoid The Five Constipation Frustrations.
We'll tackle number three today:
3. I don't eat anything at all when I'm constipated, because I don't want to make things worse.
As counter-intuitive as it may seem, you actually need to keep eating in order to help resolve constipation. The very act of eating, in and of itself, triggers your gastrocolic reflex, which in turn signals your colon to start contracting. The rhythmic waves of contractions - called peristalsis - are necessary to produce regular bowel movements. If you simply stop eating, your bowel will lose its signals to contract, and constipation will worsen.
What's most helpful is to eat small amounts frequently, making sure that you safely incorporate insoluble fiber foods. Try to keep to a regular schedule of light meals and snacks, so your body becomes accustomed to (and expects) food at predictable times. This will help get your gut in tune with a regular schedule of elimination as well.
As an aside, making sure that you're also on a consistent bedtime/wakeup routine will also help constipation. Your gut normally "wakes up" with you, and peristalsis increases shortly after you get out of bed and start moving around in the morning. Keeping to a set schedule of sleep (and getting enough of it!), plus following the same wakeup time every morning, will help your gut stay in a properly functioning pattern.
With IBS, you're waging a daily battle against bowel dysmotility, so your goal is try and make every factor that influences bowel function - diet, stress, sleep, exercise - a gentle but persistent nudge towards regularity, in every sense of the word.
Next Time ~ More of the Five Constipation Frustrations!
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