Constipation Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Our digestive health is absolutely paramount to our overall wellness, with research showing it has links to everything from mental wellbeing to immunity; did you know the gut represents almost 70% of the entire immune system? That’s why taking good care of our gut is really important, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic.It seems that a lengthy quarantine indoors has been massively impacting the nation’s gut health. Google’s most-searched gut health-related questions were: “why am I constipated”, “why am I so bloated”, and “why am I so gassy”, with their search volumes rising by up to a staggering 350% over one month.So what’s behind the boom in gut-related searches and a nation blighted by constipation? Nutritionist and author of The Low-Fad Diet, Jo Travers, says that extended periods of stress could have an impact on our overall gut health.
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“For many, this period of lockdown and extended time indoors has led to heightened stress levels and anxiety. Stress triggers the fight or flight response and the body diverts energy away from the gut to other areas where it might be needed more, like the muscles. This means the gut has less energy for digestion and everything slows done, which can often cause bowel movements to change and increase gas, bloating, constipation or even diarrhoea – everyone is different.”Likewise, spending more time indoors meant we were missing out on lots of that good bacteria you come into contact with when you go outside.Jo continues: “Going outside, and getting into nature in particular, is a really great way to come into contact with a variety of microbiomes that are good for your gut. Going to the woods for example allows you to come into contact with microbiomes of trees, soil, bushes etc that just aren’t present in a house. This can certainly affect gut health.”
Taking steps to change your lifestyle can help to prevent constipation and encourage a healthy digestive system. So what can you do to relieve them? Emily Rollason, nutritionist at Holland & Barrett, reveals her three top tips on how to fix your gut problems:Change your diet
For many people, the main cause of gut problems is due to their diet. Cutting down on foods known to cause flatulence and bloating, such as beans, leeks, sprouts, cabbage, garlic and onions. For some people, they can find that a high intake of fibre can also increase gas, especially if they’re not used to it and those with intolerances, avoiding those foods will also help to alleviate gas. Everyone is individual, so one thing doesn’t always work for everyone. Try to keep a food diary to see if you can link any foods to the gas before making any radical overhauls to diet.Fizzy drinks increase gas intake as the tiny bubbles are from carbon dioxide being pumped into the drink, causing the tummy to bloat, they also tend to be acidic which can also lead to heartburn. Replacing fizzy drinks with water and herbal tea can help to ease digestive problems.Relax your gut
Stress is another cause for concern when it comes to digestive health. This is because gut health is closely related to emotions so worry and anxiety can upset the stomach. Being stressed can speed up digestion which can cause diarrhoea or slow it down, which can cause stomach pain and constipation.

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In some cases, it can worsen stomach ulcers and aggravate irritable bowel syndrome. In order to avoid this, find ways to manage your stress levels. Take some time to practise self-care, exercise and cut back on unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol, which can further exacerbate these concerns.
Friendly bacteria
You may have heard of probiotics or friendly bacteria. These are found naturally in the gut, and have been found to ease digestive problems like diarrhoea and irritable bowel syndrome. Found in live yoghurt or supplements, these hold a number of digestive health benefits.

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“Holland & Barrett’s Gut Powered range helps to support digestive health and eases indigestion. Containing more than 10 billion live friendly bacteria, these formulated supplements supply the gut with the bacteria it needs to function and keep you healthy.”

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