constipation

When You Can’t Go: What Black People Should Know About Constipation

constipationMost people visit the bathroom to have a bowel movement at least once a day without giving the process a second thought; after all, it’s as natural as breathing. However, if your bowel movements are infrequent or occur with pain and difficulty, you might be suffering from chronic constipation.

According to one study, more African Americans than Caucasians suffer from constipation, and while some may think that this problem isn’t that serious, it can actually lead to other more problematic health conditions.

What Causes Constipation?

Some causes of constipation include lack of fibre in the diet, use of medications such as opioids, antacids, antidepressants and blood pressure medications. Dehydration, pregnancy and diabetes can also be underlying causes of constipation.

What are the Complications?

Health problems that can occur as a result of chronic constipation are kidney disease, diverticulitis, ischemic colitis,  colorectal and gastric cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. Difficulty having bowel movements should be reported to your doctor as soon as possible to avoid further complications.

Treatment

Treating chronic constipation, or even occasional constipation, can be as simple as making a few lifestyle changes. Foods such as spinach, Swiss chard, kale and other leafy greens can boost you fibre intake, which will in turn promote regularity. Prunes, olives and avocados are also helpful. Exercising and drinking more water can assist in your digestive system functioning as it should.

These simple diet and lifestyle changes can prevent constipation and relieve its symptoms.

The information in this article should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice.

By: Danielle Dixon

Follow her on Twitter: @tooprettydani

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