EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CONSTIPATION AND INTESTINAL TRANSIT
While constipation is usually not a sign of an underlying disease, it can nevertheless have a negative impact on quality of life. Bloating, gas, abdominal pain, haemorrhoids... This functional disorder can cause significant discomfort on a daily basis.
What is constipation?
Constipation is defined as a decreased frequency of bowel movements that is insufficient to preserve gut flora and maintain normal intestinal function. We generally talk about constipation when stool volume is no more than 50 g per day, when stool has an abnormally hard consistency and/or when it is passed less than three times per week. In the long term, an accumulation of stool in the colon leads to intestinal disorders. Constipation can be chronic or occasional.
What are the causes of constipation?
There are many possible causes for constipation. It is important to know that intestinal transit is a mechanism that is particularly sensitive to external factors. In particular, diet is one of the factors most often mentioned as part of digestive disorders. In most cases, constipation is brought on by a low-fibre diet. Dehydration is another factor often reported by specialists. It is a fact that what we ingest on a daily basis has a real impact on our bowel movements. To increase your intake in soluble fibre, you can count on OptiFibre®, which effectively relieves constipation thanks to its laxative properties and its effect of rebalancing gut flora.
What are the symptoms of constipation?
In most cases, constipation is accompanied by bloating and gas, which can cause mild or severe abdominal pain. Moreover, slow transit time can lead to the development of haemorrhoids. It is even the main risk factor for haemorrhoidal crisis because excessive activity of the anal sphincters can lead to abnormal dilatation of the veins in the anal canal. In case of such symptoms, it is essential to consult a general practitioner.
How to relieve the symptoms of constipation?
Signs of intestinal laziness are often very uncomfortable to deal with on a daily basis, especially for women who are a population at risk (two in three women are affected). Osmotic laxatives and digestive lubricants are among the treatment options most often used by people who suffer from constipation. However, such treatments can have side effects (sometimes serious ones) because the former can cause addiction whereas the latter can, in the long term, negatively affect the absorption of vitamins and certain nutrients. To avoid such problems, OptiFibre® is the perfect solution because in addition to improving intestinal transit, it is easy to mix into drinks and meals without affecting their taste.
CHRONIC CONSTIPATION: SYMPTOMS, SOLUTIONS AND TREATMENTS
Unlike occasional constipation, chronic constipation is a long-term disorder. Constipation in this more complex form is usually referred to as chronic when the functional disorder lasts longer than six months. As it is a source of significant digestive discomfort, chronic constipation requires lifestyle and dietary changes for which OptiFibre® can be an effective ally.
How to identify chronic constipation?
The main signs for diagnosing chronic constipation are a reduced frequency of passing stool and a prolonged duration of symptoms (at least six months). People who are severely constipated usually pass stool less than once a week. However, stool consistency and difficulties passing it are also factors that doctors take into account to diagnose a chronic disorder. Difficulty passing stool is usually associated with a significant digestive discomfort that translates into bloating, flatulence, haemorrhoids and abdominal pain.
What are the treatments for chronic constipation?
In most cases, the first line of treatment for people suffering from chronic constipation is taking osmotic laxatives. However, these medications, which soften stool, tend to cause addiction when used in the long term. In such cases, other types of laxatives can be tried, such as bulk-forming laxatives, lubricant laxatives or stimulant laxatives. While they can be effective against occasional constipation, they can also cause medication-induced constipation.
What to do in the event of chronic constipation?
If there is no organic cause, chronic constipation can usually be attributed to a functional cause, which means that intestinal transit is slow. In most cases, lifestyle and above all eating habits are to blame. Changing your lifestyle and eating habits to focus on a high-fibre diet and regular physical activity helps restore a more balanced gut flora and ensure more effective peristaltic movements.
What natural remedies are there for chronic constipation?
In addition to a high-fibre diet and sufficient daily hydration, OptiFibre® is an indisputable ally to help relieve constipation in a natural way. OptiFibre® contains dietary fibre that works by increasing the frequency of passing stool and gradually rebalancing gut flora. Available in a box or as sticks, this Food for Special Medical Purposes can be easily mixed into your meals and drinks without affecting their taste or texture.
IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENTS
Irritable bowel syndrome, sometimes called irritable colon syndrome or functional colopathy, is a functional disorder. Though benign, it causes digestive discomfort that can be debilitating to deal with on a daily basis. This disorder affects almost 5% of the population in France, predominantly women.
What are the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?
This intestinal function disorder is characterised by a triad of the following clinical signs:
• Abdominal pain: It is usually located in the right and left iliac fossa, sometimes in the umbilical region. It can last from several hours to a few days and is usually relieved by passing stool.
• Intestinal transit disorders: They manifest as severe constipation, diarrhoea or a combination of both.
• Bloating: It is a source of significant discomfort and can be associated with relatively loud rumbling sounds.
What are the causes of irritable bowel syndrome?
The exact causes of irritable bowel syndrome have not been formally established. However, some risk factors have been clearly identified. Diet is one of the main ones, even though it is of course not the only one. Psychological factors such as stress, anxiety and burnout, as well as advanced age, can all aggravate the symptoms. Most patients with irritable bowel syndrome have intestinal hypersensitivity, most often associated with abnormal bacterial flora and intestinal motricity dysfunctions.
How is irritable bowel syndrome treated?
There is no medical treatment that completely cures irritable bowel syndrome. Only its various symptoms can be subject to specific treatment if they are severe (antispasmodics, antidiarrheals, etc.). In most cases, however, doctors recommend that their patients first try changing their lifestyle and diet. Diet is the main catalyst of this functional disorder. As such, certain products should be eliminated from one’s diet, while others should be prioritised. For example, it is important to get a sufficient fibre intake, especially in the event of constipation. Moderate exercise (i.e. around 30 minutes two to three times per week) and psychological techniques (such as meditation or yoga) can both help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Lifestyle and diet recommendations vary depending on the symptoms.
What natural remedies are there for relieving irritable bowel syndrome?
In addition to following an appropriate diet, it is important to keep your body well hydrated. To do so, it is essential to drink plenty of water every day while avoiding, whenever possible, beverages that irritate the digestive tract (e.g. coffee, alcohol and fizzy drinks). In some cases, it is possible to resort to natural or plant-based remedies to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Some dietary supplements and probiotics help restore gut flora. OptiFibre® can be an effective ally because this dietary fibre concentrate acts naturally, gradually and physiologically to prevent intestinal imbalance.
CONSTIPATION AND PAIN: WHAT IS THE LINK?
Apart from being a significant source of digestive discomfort, both chronic and occasional constipation can cause abdominal, back or even cerebral pain. How do you identify pain linked to constipation? What can be done to relieve it?
Constipation: What are its characteristics?
Constipation is an intestinal function disorder that is primarily defined as insufficient bowel movements. As stool remains within the intestines for too long, it becomes dry and hard, which makes it difficult or even painful to pass. In general, we talk about constipation when stool is passed less than three times a week. Constipation is considered “severe” when stool is passed once a week. Stool consistency is also an important part of the diagnosis. You could be passing stool every day and still be constipated if defecation is painful.
Constipation: What type of pain do people experience?
Apart from classic symptoms that constipation causes in most cases (bloating, gas, etc.), it can also incur different types of pain:
• Abdominal pain: It can be more or less intense depending on how severe the disorder is and the faecal matter retained. Usually, the pain is located in the iliac fossa and can radiate to all the abdominal cavities. Be careful not to confuse it with stress-related epigastric pain.
• Low back pain: In the long term, the accumulation of stool in the colon puts excessive pressure on the lumbar vertebrae. This particular pain tends to be resistant to painkillers. It can even be aggravated by the need to pass stool.
• Pelvic pain: Constipation mainly affects women. As such, they are the ones who mainly suffer from this type of pain, located in the lower abdomen.
• Anal pain: It can be explained by excessive activity of the anal sphincters, the formation of lesions as hard stool is passed and the development of haemorrhoids.
• Headaches: Constipation, and more generally intestinal transit disorders, can also cause headaches.
Constipation: What painkillers can be used?
To relieve these different types of pain, you must eliminate the cause. To overcome constipation, the most effective way is to change your diet. If there is no obvious organic, iatrogenic or pathological cause, intestinal laziness is usually functional in nature. To restore peristaltic action to a natural state, it is essential to watch what you eat. A low fibre intake is often responsible for constipation. You can increase your fibre intake with OptiFibre®.
As a product that is 100% plant-based, it naturally and gradually improves intestinal transit.
THE BRISTOL STOOL CHART: A CLASSIFICATION OF STOOL BY TYPE
Are your bowel movements normal? Using the Bristol Stool Chart, a classification of stool into 7 different types, you can easily identify constipation or diarrhoea.
What is the Bristol Stool Chart?
The Bristol Stool Chart is a diagnostic tool that helps assess your intestinal transit and determine whether you are suffering from constipation or diarrhoea. It was developed in 1992 in England and is used by gastroenterologists to this day.
How is the Bristol Stool Chart used?
It contains seven types of profiles, from constipation to diarrhoea to normal intestinal transit.
Each type on the Bristol Stool Chart corresponds to an exact description of stool.
Stool classification according to the Bristol Stool Chart
The scale uses clear language without any medical jargon, which makes it easy to use as a tool to self-diagnose your bowel movements. A special version of the Bristol Stool Chart has even been developed for children!
Type 1 and type 2: Constipation
Type 1 corresponds to very hard stool in the form of small lumps, comparable to nuts.
Type 2 is characterised by sausage-shaped but hard and lumpy stool.
If you find that you fall under one of these two types, it means that you are suffering from constipation.
Type 3 and type 4: Normal intestinal transit
You fall under type 3 if your stool is sausage-shaped but with cracks on the surface... and type 4 if your stool is sausage- or snake-shaped but smooth.
These situations reflect normal bowel movements.
Type 5: Tendency towards diarrhoea
In type 5, stool comes out as soft blobs, but they are easy to pass. Strictly speaking, it is not considered as diarrhoea, but the stool contains more liquid than normal.
Type 6 and type 7: Diarrhoea
As with type 5, type 6 on the Bristol Stool Chart corresponds to fluffy, mushy pieces, but this time their edges are ragged, and the stool contains a lot of liquid.
Lastly, in the case of type 7, stools are entirely liquid.
These last two situations correspond to diarrhoea, which goes hand in hand with a risk of dehydration.
The Bristol Stool Chart can help you asses your bowel movements on a daily basis. If you find that you are constipated, OptiFibre® can help you restore your gut flora.
Made from 100% guar gum with naturally laxative properties, OptiFibre® helps restore a balanced intestinal transit in two to three days... without depriving you of the pleasure of eating. As it has no smell, texture or taste, it can easily be mixed into your usual food.
To make digestion easier, ensure that you drink plenty of water and do physical exercise. Of course, if your constipation persists, you should speak to your doctor. The Bristol Stool Chart can help you easily describe your symptoms so that you can regain your well-being and feeling of lightness as quickly as possible!