Constipation self-help, laxatives and dietary fiber

Self-medication is an increasingly popular trend, especially given the waiting times for doctor’s appointments. Prior knowledge of symptoms allows sufferers to treat constipation on their own, and indeed constipation is one of the most common self-treated problems.

Plants can provide a natural laxative and the role of dietary fiber is well known.

Please be advised, however, that there can be risks and dangers involved with self-medication.

OptiFibre® does not present any of the risks associated with self-medication using other dietary fiber supplements. It is not addictive and has a high fiber efficacy due to its composition of particularly fermentable guar fibers . There are also no additives or contraindications.

The risks of self-medication in constipation

Stimulant laxatives such as castor oil, senna and aloe vera should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women without consulting a medical professional.

Children under the age of 6 should also not be given laxatives without a doctor’s advice.

Some over-the-counter laxatives can lead to dependency and decreased bowel function if used every day in the long term. Caution also needs to be taken around interaction with other medications. Laxatives can react with somentibiotics and certain heart and bone medications. Laxative use can be dangerous if constipation is caused by a serious condition such as appendicitis or bowel obstruction.

Dietary fiber risk and side effects

Dietary fiber comprises soluble and insoluble fiber and the digestive system requires both to function well. Soluble fiber can be found in oats and oatmeal, rye, chia, barley, legumes (peas, beans, lentils), fruits (figs, avocados, berries prunes, ripe bananas, and the skin of apples, quinces and pears) vegetables (broccoli and carrots,) root tubers, flax seeds and nuts. OptiFibre® can provide a boost to your soluble fiber intake.

Insoluble fiber can be found in bran layers of cereal grains, whole grain foods, plants including legumes (beans and peas), nuts and seeds, potato skins, vegetables (green beans, cauliflower, courgette, celery etc) some fruits such as avocado, unripe bananas, the skins of some fruits such as kiwi fruit, grapes and tomatoes.

Fibers can partly trap some minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. They can easily ferment in the colon causing bloating and flatulence.

When the fibres are too hard and not softened by cooking, they can be irritating to the digestive tract.

Guar fibre and constipation
Guar is a fiber that softens the stool in constipation. Guar fibers are used in OptiFibre®, a very fine powder that dissolves in drinks and mixes easily with food such as yogurt and soups.

With excessive consumption, fibers in general can lead to some bloating effects.

That is why it is important for fibers to be consumed progressively and at the appropriate dose. As for OptiFibre, it has minimal side effects and is very well tolerated.

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