|Probiotics for constipation
Question : My sister, 20, has
had difficulty moving her bowels since childhood. She usually does so once a
week. The excreta is large and hard, resulting in pain. She takes fruit and
Answer : Constipation is characterised by difficulty in passing stool or
an absence of the urge to eliminate. In general, if the bowel movement is
less than three times in a week or the bowel movement is regular but the
stool is hard or difficult to pass, it is defined as constipation.
Symptoms include bloating, loss of appetite, mild nausea, indigestion,
headache, coated tongue, tiredness and bad breath. Chronic constipation can
affect one's health as waste remains in the intestines for excessive
periods, causing toxins to be absorbed by the body.
Constipation is the common ailment that happens in all age groups. The
underlying causes include lack of dietary fibre, high intake of refined
carbohydrate, inadequate fluid intake, sedentary lifestyle and the
unnecessary usage of laxatives.
Your sister may supplement her diet with probiotics which are friendly
bacteria that play a role in preventing the growth of undesirable
microorganisms, including candida yeast and bacteria that cause diseases by
maintaining healthy intestinal flora necessary for the proper digestion and
assimilation of food.
Increase intake of whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruit which are
rich in fibre. Dark green leafy vegetables, papaya, prunes, wheat bran, oat
bran and psyllium husks are all the effective natural sources that enhance
Limit the intake of refined and processed foods which have been stripped
of their fibre content. Foods high in sugar and fats tend to stay in the
body for a longer period of time and slow down the bowel transit rate.
Drink at least eight glasses of water daily. Two glasses of water are
recommended after each serving of fibre. This helps to soften the stool and
make the stool bulky and easy to move through the gastrointestinal tract.