Five Constipation Frustrations - What's #4?
"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 four today:
4. I drink eight glasses of water a day - that's plenty, right?
For most people without IBS, yep - this much water can be plenty. For people with IBS, it may take twice as much water - every single day - to help reign in constipation. It's not just your bowel, actually, but your entire GI tract, that needs water to function properly.
Soluble fiber, the foundation of the IBS diet and a terrific tool for managing all IBS symptoms, needs plenty of water in order to regulate bowel function. Soluble fiber also normalizes water levels in the gut, which in and of itself helps constipation. But, there has to be enough water in the gut in the first place for soluble fiber to work its magic. Together, fiber and water maintain gastrointestinal muscle tone, dilute toxic wastes in the GI tract, bind irritants, bring oxygen to the tissues, and help maintain the correct balance of intestinal flora.
With constipation, the slower your gut motility is, the longer it takes for the transit of matter through your colon. The longer this takes, the more time there is for the colon to absorb too much moisture out of the matter, and this makes constipation even worse. Drinking plenty of water (especially in conjunction with a soluble fiber supplement) will help alleviate this.
It's pretty difficult to drink too much water, so make it your goal to drink 16 full glasses of water each day, and if you can make it a little bit more, even better. It's easiest to just space out your water throughout the day, especially between meals. Keep a water bottle or glass at hand at all times when you're at home or work, carry a water bottle with you if you're out and about or at school, and keep water bottles in your car for when you're on the go.
If you're suddenly increasing your water intake, then yes, you will be running to the bathroom an awful lot. But hang in there, because it won't take more than a week or so for your bladder to adjust. The really interesting thing is that you'll likely find if you don't keep up with your new water increase once you've adjusted, you will suddenly find yourself very irritable and thirsty. Most people function better overall when they're drinking quite a bit more water than they may think they need.
Next Time ~ The Last of the Five Constipation Frustrations!
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