Everyone has probably suffered from constipation at some point. But how can you remedy it? And what about after a stomach reduction? Read on and find out.
What is constipation?
Constipation is very common in both adults and children. One third of the Dutch population suffers from obstipation (at least once). 1/10 of this group even resorts to laxatives to remedy constipation. But what exactly is constipation? And when is constipation present?
Constipation is also called clogging of the bowels. In case of obstipation the stool is hard and dry. This makes bowel movements more difficult. Officially, constipation is only diagnosed if you have fewer than three bowel movements a week. A normal bowel movement is three times a day to three times a week.
What is the cause of constipation?
Constipation can have several causes. It does not always have to have one conclusive cause; it can also be a concurrence of circumstances. These are the most common causes of constipation:
A diet rich in fibre will ensure that you have a better bowel movement. Do you suffer from constipation? Then try to eat more fibre! Examples of fibre-rich food: wholemeal bread, crispbread, vegetables, fruit, nuts, etc.
Not enough fluids:
Not drinking enough water can also be a major culprit. Our digestive system needs moisture to digest everything properly. So try to drink 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day.
Do you find it hard to drink that much? Then vary it! Drink e.g. tea, coffee, water, sugar-free lemonade, soup, … .
Too little exercise:
Exercise is very important for our body and also for our bowels. When we move, our bowels also move. This can ensure that the stool improves. So try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every day. Walking is especially good for our bowels.
On a trip to another (foreign) country, the diet is usually different. This can already cause constipation. But for some people it is also very difficult to defecate in a foreign toilet. These factors can also cause constipation to occur frequently when travelling.
Constipation after bariatric surgery
Constipation is common after bariatric surgery. Bowel movements can change dramatically after gastric reduction. They are less frequent and smaller in size. Of course, here too there are several factors that can cause constipation.
Constipation during the liquid phase:
In the first few weeks after surgery, people do not eat much and mainly eat liquids. It is also very difficult to get enough fluids and nutrients in the first days/weeks. This already results in a lot less stool.
With a Gastric Bypass, there is also an internal change for the intestines. Take the anaesthetic into account and then the bowels sometimes have a harder time getting going. This can also cause constipation and pain during defecation in the first few weeks.
It is therefore important to try and get enough fluids in the first days/weeks after bariatric surgery. Also, never drink too much at one time. In order to get enough to drink, it may be useful to have a drink handy everywhere.
Also try to absorb enough fibre. Examples of fibre-rich food during the liquid phase
Constipation during the solid phase:
Here too, moisture remains one of the most important elements. To repeat: try to drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres a day. High-fibre food also remains important. Here you can switch to the following solid foods:
As a snack, you can choose fresh/dried fruit, dairy products, crispbread, muesli bar, oat biscuits, etc. All these foods should make bowel movements much easier. Always try to chew well and, above all, eat slowly.
What can you do (yourself) in case of constipation?
Here are some tips you can do yourself to make bowel movements better:
The above tips do not help?
Then switch to osmotic laxatives. These are powders that have to be dissolved in water. They attract moisture and hold it in the intestines. In this way, the stool becomes thinner and fuller. These medicines are also available in the form of pills for people who are unable to drink sufficiently.
Always consult your family doctor or doctor who treats you first. Do not just go and investigate, ask for medical advice! Do not just take laxative tablets from the pharmacy/drugstore. These only provide a temporary positive result. Also be careful with lactulose (syrups). These can contain a lot of sugar and cause dumping in people with a Gastric Bypass.
Do you have any questions/comments about this blog? Please let us know!