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Decoding Digestive Health: 7 Habits That Can Lead to Constipation

4 minute read

By Ryan Pratt

Key Takeaways

  • Everyday habits, such as craving dairy foods or forgetting to drink enough water, can contribute to constipation.
  • One’s approach to stress, laxatives, and physical activity can likewise have serious repercussions on your digestive system.

Understanding the intricacies of digestion is pivotal for maintaining our overall well-being, yet we tend to neglect this aspect of health. Our digestive system is a delicate balance and any disruptions can lead to discomforting and often serious conditions, one of the most common being constipation. If you’re eager to know which daily habits can lead to digestive distress, you can find seven key causes of constipation with an online search right now – before it’s too late!

1. Inadequate Hydration

Hydration is critical for optimal body function, and the digestive system is no exception. Water helps to soften stool, promoting regular bowel movements. Besides drinking water, hydrating fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers and watermelons can help keep you hydrated.

Conversely, inadequate hydration can lead to hard, dry stools, often resulting in constipation. Ensure you’re consuming enough fluids daily, with water being the healthiest choice.

2. A Low Fiber Diet

Fiber is a key player in maintaining healthy digestion. It adds bulk to your stool, making it easier to pass. Diets low in fiber may result in harder stools, straining during bowel movements, and, ultimately, constipation. Incorporate fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet to keep your digestive system on track.

While there are two types of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble, both are important for preventing constipation. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and can help soften the stool. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not dissolve, and adds bulk to the stool. Foods such as oats, beans, and apples are rich in soluble fiber, while whole wheat, nuts, and many vegetables are good sources of insoluble fiber.

3. Lack of Physical Activity

Regular exercise can help keep your digestive system active and healthy. Physical activity helps stimulate the natural contraction of intestinal muscles, assisting in moving stool through your colon more quickly. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to a sluggish bowel, increasing the likelihood of constipation.

Engaging in moderate physical activity regularly can alleviate and prevent this issue. Aerobic exercises like walking or swimming can stimulate your intestines. Even non-aerobic exercises such as strength training or yoga can have positive effects on your digestion.

4. Ignoring the Urge to Go

Responding to your body’s signals is crucial for maintaining regular bowel movements. Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement can lead to a buildup of stool in the colon, which can cause constipation.

Make it a habit to heed nature’s call promptly to avoid disrupting your bowel regularity. Consistently ignoring the urge to defecate can cause the body to “forget” its natural signals. Reserving dedicated time each day for this purpose can help maintain regularity.

5. Over-reliance on Laxatives

While laxatives can provide short-term relief from constipation, overuse may lead to dependence. Some laxatives work by drawing water into the bowel from nearby tissue, while others stimulate the muscles of the intestines.

The overuse of these types of laxatives can cause dehydration and disrupt normal muscle function, leading to chronic constipation. Natural alternatives like increasing fiber intake or regular exercise could be safer ways to relieve constipation.

6. High Intake of Dairy Products

While dairy products are an important source of calcium and protein, excessive intake can lead to constipation in some people. This is particularly true for those who have difficulty digesting lactose, the sugar found in milk. Limiting your intake of dairy and exploring lactose-free options may improve your digestion.

Besides often being high in fat and low in fiber – a combination that can contribute to constipation – many dairy products also contain A1 casein. This protein can potentially trigger inflammation and digestive issues in certain people. Alternatives like plant-based milks and cheeses may be easier on the digestive system.

7. Stress and Mental Health

The gut-brain axis is a complex relationship where mental stress can manifest physically, affecting digestive health. Chronic stress, anxiety, and depression can lead to slow gastric emptying and decreased bowel motility, contributing to constipation.

Engaging in stress management practices, such as mindfulness or yoga, can help manage these symptoms. Additionally, activities like meditation, deep breathing, and regular exercise can help improve mental health and in turn, digestive health.

Boost Your Gut-Brain Axis!

Maintaining digestive health is a multi-faceted endeavor, requiring thoughtful attention to our daily habits. From the food we consume to our physical activity levels and mental well-being, every aspect intertwines to create a balance that promotes healthy digestion.

Remember that your body is unique, and it may respond differently to these strategies compared to others. So take your time and be patient. While implementing changes can be gradual, each step will bring you closer to optimal health!

Shutterstock: Tutatamafilm

Ryan Pratt



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