The Movement.

I have a confession --- and it's not a pretty one. I have an irregular bowel movement -- also known as constipation.

Wikipedia says:

Constipation, costiveness, or irregularity is a condition of the digestive system in which a person (or animal) experiences hard feces (faeces) that are difficult to expel. This usually happens because the colon absorbs too much water from the food. If the food moves through the gastro-intestinal tract too slowly, the colon may absorb too much water, resulting in feces that are dry and hard. Defecation may be extremely painful, and in severe cases (fecal impaction) lead to symptoms of bowel obstruction. The term obstipation is used for severe constipation that prevents passage of both stools and gas. Causes of constipation may be dietary, hormonal, anatomical, a side effect of medications (e.g. some opiates), or an illness or disorder. Treatments consist of changes in dietary and exercise habits, the use of laxatives, and other medical interventions depending on the underlying cause.

I've had this problem for a long time and I'd like to share how I'm coping up with it. I know that it's not a pretty subject to talk about but just like sunscreen, this is one health problem many are ignoring. Simply put, constipation is a major block in having the body dispose all the wastes. Imagine not being able to properly dispose the trash at your home --- the same happens with the body and the mental image is kinda nasty.

Aside from that though, constipation may lead to even more complicated health issues -- one of which is colon cancer -- which is incredibly scary. To me, beauty does not end in the skin. There's your heart and other internal organs, too! Hence, some helpful tips if you're dealing with the same health issue as I am. If you know more, please share it with me as I'd love to add it here.

  • Fiber-rich Fruits. Initially, I thought that only fiber-rich fruit that there was is the pineapple. When my officemate received a shipment of pomelo from Davao, we devoured  it for 10 minutes and it sent me straight to the little girls' room. I know prunes are incredibly inducing, too, but frankly, I don't like the taste. Even the juice one. On the subject of bananas, stay on the lacatan variety as it's the latundan and saba that causes the hardening of bowel.
  • Fiber-rich Food. Oatmeal, wheat and bran products belong to this category. I used to hate oatmeal as a kid, as I am much more of a champorado person [sticky rice with chocolate] but when I was a kid, my mom tries to inject oatmeal into my diet every now and then for the fiber. When I started living away from my parents, my normal breakfast consist of coffee and the occasional pancit canton [what can I do, I don't cook.] Upon my discovery of the flavored oatmeal from Quaker Oats,  my oatmeal-eating experience was never the same again. And I made my regular trips to the room.

My favorite: Quaker Oats Apple and Cinnamon

  • Lots and lots of water. Really, need I say more?
  • Tea. I noticed that whenever I drink tea, which is quite often but less often than coffee, my movement is getting a wee bit regular. Of course, on a normal basis, tea [alongside coffee and soda] dehydrates the body and hinders movement --- something I have to exert effort on because I'm a hardcore coffee fiend.
  • Taho or Soybean Curd and other Soy products. Back in 2006, in an effort to make me laugh [I was dealing with a heartbreak then], the BFF and I went to a Soybean Stall and bought soy products. We had a contest: we had to drink the soymilk and we had to restrain ourselves from going to the bathroom to move. It was a silly contest, of course. But I was laughing my heart out in the middle of the road as I was driving then. The story still gives us a laugh everytime it gets brought up but soy as a natural laxative stayed in mind, too.
  • Lessen your meat intake. Red meat, most of all. And while on the subject of avoidance, include MSG-laden food, too. Like I've said, I once lived on a pancit-canton diet and it was the worst time of my life -- rare bowel movement, dull skin and hair and perennial crabby mood.  
  • Move, literally. Lack of exercise and physical activity causes the body organs to be lazy, including the colon. 
  • De-stress. Stress causes so much health problems and these days' lifestyle can be a bit overwhelming. I myself have been may times a victim of my own worries. So take time to read a book before sleeping, sleep at least 8 hours and leave work matters when you go out the door.

I could have added laxatives to the list but I'm not really a fan since I experienced stomachaches when I tried it -- so I'm just sticking with the natural ones. Oh and I'm sharing a really funny but true quiz I saw on Tumblr:

Click image for larger version.

Do you have the same problem as I do? What do you do about it? Share them here :)