Myths and Facts about Constipation

Constipation affects almost everyone at some point in their life. But there are many myths surrounding this common gastrointe

Constipation is common and affects people of all ages. You can develop the gastrointestinal symptom from many causes and you may wonder at what point should you seek medical help for your constipation.

At GastroMed in Miami, Florida, our team of gastroenterology specialists has helped many people struggling with constipation and we find that many people have misconceptions about the common condition. We’re sharing some of those constipation myths with you and the correct facts so you know how best to proceed when you’re struggling to go. 

Myth: Constipation is a disease

Fact: Constipation is a symptom, not a disease. 

Though very common, constipation isn’t a disease. Your inability to go to the bathroom is a symptom of some underlying issue, such as diet choices, lifestyle, or a health condition.

You should schedule an appointment with us if your constipation doesn’t improve with at-home care. You also need to schedule an appointment if you’re constipation includes bloody bowel movements or you have a family history of colon cancer

Myth: I need to have a bowel movement every day

Fact: Everyone’s bowel habits are different. Some people go several times a day, others only a few times a week. 

Not having a bowel movement every day doesn’t mean you’re constipated. In general, you may be suffering from constipation if:

While we follow these general guidelines when defining constipation, your usual bowel habits are always taken into consideration. 

Myth: My diet is causing my constipation

Fact: Yes, your diet may contribute to your constipation, but there are other potential causes for the gastrointestinal symptom.

When it comes to managing constipation, diet is a major player and one we look at as a cause of your symptoms, as well as a treatment. However, constipation can develop from many causes and adding more fiber to your diet may not help. In fact, it may worsen your condition.

Your constipation may be caused by:

Your age may also be a factor that contributes to constipation. According to the National Institutes of Health, 33% of adults 60 and older suffer from constipation. 

Myth: It’s OK to hold it in until I reach my home bathroom

Fact: Holding in your stool worsens constipation.

We understand your desire to get to your preferred bathroom when you need to go number two. But holding your stool in until you get home may make things worse. To keep things moving and on schedule, it’s always best to go when your body tells you it’s time to go. 

Myth: Any high-fiber food can help my constipation

Fact: Not all fiber alleviates constipation.

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate your body can’t digest. There are two primary types, including:

Insoluble fiber

Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool and helps keep things moving through your digestive tract. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are good sources of insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber

Soluble fiber absorbs water as it moves through your digestive tract. Oats, barley, nuts, seeds, and beans are good sources of soluble fiber.

Both types of fiber are essential for gastrointestinal health. However, when you’re trying to alleviate constipation, soluble fiber works best, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

When adding more fiber to your diet, be sure to increase your fluid intake to keep your stools soft and easy to pass.

If you’re struggling with constipation, call GastroMed or request an appointment online today at one of our six convenient locations in Miami.  

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