The Rude Truth: Constipation Isn't Funny
Isn't it just a little weird? Sixty-second commercials for ED run on family television channels.
But we don't talk about constipation--a problem that is so common almost everyone suffers it occasionally.
Chronic constipation affects 15% to 20% of Americans—42 million people according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institute of Health.
That should give you a clue that those dry runs in the bathroom are not just uncomfortable and embarrassing. It's serious enough for the government to study.
Most of the time, constipation has innocent causes: too little exercise, the wrong food, not enough water, a medication that binds you up, pregnancy, and just plain bad habits like resisting the urge when it's not convenient to go.
It can be a sign something more serious is wrong. You should see your doctor if you have blood in your stools, excessive pain, unexplained weight loss or this is new and unusual for you. But for the rest of us, constipation is usually a problem we can solve ourselves.
Constipation really isn't funny. It's miserable. Fortunately, there's a lot you can do. Here is some of the best and most respected advice, with a little extra insight.
1. Hydrate—Why this matters: not what you probably think. As we get older, our bodies hold water. Also, our thirst signals become less reliable as we age. So drink plentifully whether you feel thirsty or not. You may not be as well hydrated as you think you are. You don't have to glug down a quart of pure water at a time to stay healthy. Multiple small additions of beverages that you like throughout the day are ideal. It will make all your systems function better. Proper hydration benefits your skin, blood pressure, heart rate and metabolism. And helps soften stools, too.
2. Move—exercise helps speed up your digestive system and supports the muscles involved in pushing food through your system. Your colon is a muscle. Although doctors often advise constipated patients to exercise more, there is surprisingly little actual research on the topic.
• Strain #1 prevents harmful pathogens from entering your bloodstream
• Strain #2 promotes lactose intolerance, a very common problem
• Strain #3 gets past the stomach to prevent loose stools—AND CONSTIPATION!
• Strain #4 promotes regularity and overall immune system strength
• Strain #5 encourages your gut to produce lactase again, to naturally aid in digesting dairy products (including things like whey found in cookies and protein bars)
• Strain #6 seeks out and destroys toxins and helps maintain the correct pH in your gut
But the star of the show—Strain #7—is Saccharomyces boulardii... It's a powerful agent in restoring a healthy balance of gut bacteria. And this is the missing ingredient you won't find in cheap, grocery store products.