There are many ways, other than food, to manage constipation. On Instagram @AndreaHardyRD, I talk all about the helpful tools you can use to help manage your constipation.
I know a thing or two about constipation…
For those of you who are new around here, I became SO interested in digestive disorders not just from my acute care background, but because I have IBS!
I started off with IBS-D (diarrhea), I believe due to picking up a GI bug in University. That lasted for about a year, and transitioned into IBS-M (mixed), and finally ended with me landing squarely in the IBS-C (constipation) category for the last 10 or so years. (FUN!)
Regular bowel moments are considered 3x per day to every 3 days. But you know your body best – so having a game plan to nip in the bud is KEY when there’s changes in your typical routine. (I always thought the saying was nip in the butt which would be more suitable here LOL).
Many times I see people just pile on the fibre, which can help at times, but can also worsen symptoms too. So some other key takeaways I have for patients in making their game plan include:
1) Don’t panic. If you miss a day of BM’s, recognize it’s NORMAL to have fluctuations in bowel habits. Many of us panic and catastrophize missing a day. Instead of panicking, think about how you can get back on track.
2) Focus on adequate hydration – especially alongside your fibre! Alcohol and hot weather are both big factors in dehydration & slowing bowels down – be sure to hydrate, ditch the alcohol!
3) Gentle movement! Get out for a walk, or do some yoga to help get those bowels moving.
4) Talk with your doctor/dietitian/pharmacist about a plan for if you miss too many days of BM’s.
I see a big ‘anti-medication movement’ on Instagram that makes me want to tear my eyeballs out because let me tell ya – I can eat all the fibre and drink all the water, and do all the movement and at times, I need medication – it’s nothing to panic about or be ashamed over – its a tool in your toolkit! 🧰
Develop a plan that works for you. Is it something to soften the stool? To help evacuate hard stool? To stimulate movement in the gut? There are SO many helpful tools out there – you don’t have to go a week without a bowel movement and hope that fibre cuts its.