Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Prevention is better than cure!

Indians are very reserved when it comes to speaking out about their health problems in public, or for that matter even in sharing it with their own family members. However, the comfort of expressing about most kinds of health issues is now becoming easier than what it was earlier. A few years ago, on a family table, conversations on sex, depression, psychological issues, constipation, etc. would immediately make each one of us feel awkward and shy. But people have realized that these things are as important to know and understand about, as other things, as well as be dealt with maturely. While constipation happens to be a very common problem among people around us, the word constipation still creates an uncomfortable vibe and thus people suffering the same still hesitate in talking about it openly. With movies being made to create social awareness on various health problems, Piku as a movie did throw some light on the problem of constipation, which could help people who suffered from the same discuss the issue with their family or consult doctors well in time. However this is just a small move in the positive direction.

When I was in my early 20s, a strict gym regime along with a regulated diet caused me constipation. Initially I never spoke about it to anyone letting the problem persist for a few months, but after it became a more severe issue, I went to my parents. My parents tried to tell me to have Isabgol(Psyllium Husk) but hell no, I till then thought it was only meant for old people since I had only seen them use it, and I in anyway was not old. Their next suggestion was to consult a doctor/general practitioner but again that wasn't something I was ready to do as I found it embarrassing and made me feel like I was making a big deal out of the issue. So then the only remedy for me left was to go to my gym physician. When I went to the gym physician, the solution given to me was reduction of certain foods containing high levels of fiber, which on following seemed to make some difference but still not cure me completely, and so I was finally put on medication which helped. But this whole process to finally resolve the problem took months, only because of my inability to discuss it with people and deal with it smartly. When I look back at it today, it seems like such a huge mistake! Something that I would totally advise you guys not to follow. Instead discuss with and listen to your family, and check up on remedies with a doctor instantly if you are suffering from constipation.

Constipation has various definitions but according to a medical personnel, constipation is defined as a condition where a person has fewer than 3 bowel movements a week. Other factors that can help you detect constipation can be hard or dry stools, difficulty in passing stools, the need to strain while passing stool and an incomplete feeling after a bowel movement. These are the signs that help you detect the problem of constipation. 

A few reasons that trigger the problem of constipation which can be easily avoided if you streamline your diet and lifestyle are:
  1. Lesser intake of fluid 
  2. Eating oily and junk food
  3. Excess tea or coffee intake
  4. Eating less fibre
  5. Eating more fibre than required by the body
  6. Ignoring the urge for motion
  7. Regular use of painkillers
Things that can help you prevent constipation:
  1. The intake of fibre foods like whole wheat grains, nuts, seeds etc is very important for regular bowel movements.
  2. Water is the cure of most problems in the body and hence you must must drink enough water from time to time to provide your body, be it in terms of soups, beverages or juices. Adequate water intake will avoid the stool to be hard or dry. 
  3. Be aware of your bowel movements and have a fixed time every day to empty your bowels. 
  4. If your job doesn't allow enough physical movement, make sure you go for a walk whenever you have the time or exercise regularly as physical activity helps the bowel muscles to contract during a movement. 
  5. Never control the urge to empty your bowels. 
  6. Use a footrest when you sit on the commode which can help you lean forward because a correct posture will help passing the stool easily. Here is a link for you to understand about the posture in a detailed way -
While these are the things that can help you detect the problem and things that you can follow to avoid the problem of constipation, there is still a lot of awkwardness to speak openly about it. Any physical problem or illness will also have an effect on your mood and mental health which is what worries me most. Hence I urge all those reading this, if someone is sharing their problem of constipation with you, help them by listening to their problem and advising them to go to the doctor immediately. Each person might have a different trigger point for constipation and home remedies could only worsen the case. Encourage your friends and family to also share and communicate if at all they are facing any kind of difficulty in bowel movements or while passing stool and feel they are suffering from constipation.

Constipation Conversations panel discussion with cricketer Virender Sehwag to tackle the problem of constipation.
As it is said, Prevention is always better than cure and it is time we break the ice and start addressing our daily problems that can indirectly affect our mental health. #ConstipationConversations

Disclaimer : I attended a panel discussion on constipation awareness facilitated by Abbott India Limited. Any opinion expressed in this blog is my personal opinion and not the opinion of Abbott India Limited. Abbott India Limited does not assume any liability for the content of the blog. The blog post is not meant to be a replacement for a doctor consultation, nor is it a medical recommendation or prescription of treatment for people having constipation problems. Any reader of this blog suffering from constipation problems should specifically consult his/her doctor for the same and follow the suggested course of treatment.

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