Constipation is one of the most common digestive complaints and it has many causes. Insufficient dietry fibre (roughage), dehydration, drug side effects, pregnancy, stress, not enough exercise and back pain are all major contributors to constipation.
To properly understand the importance of regular bowel movements it is important to consider what your bowel is supposed to do which is getting rid of the worst of what your body contains.
It is not common for most of us to trade notes about our excrement with one another so what you think as being normal may not be normal at all. I have met people who only pass feces once every three weeks and thought everybody else did too. For the average person once or twice a day is a good regularity and the stool should have the consistency of soft clay.
People who do not eat enough fruit and vegetables run a high risk of constipation and get a lazy colon if this eating habit continues for a long period of time. When your colon becomes flaccid constipation is not the only, nor the worst thing that can happen to you. Diverticular disease can be a very distressing condition to suffer from and it can shorten your life, it is more likely to happen to you if you suffer from chronic constipation.
For many constipation sufferers their stool will be dry and hard, if there is not enough water entering your body it may be part of the cause. Lower back pain sufferers often find that when they get acute pain, bearing down can be painful and they might hold back because of it. If you take pain killers that have opiates (codeine, morphine) in them these will slow your bowel down too. Heroin addicts can have a devil of a time with constipation.
When you move about alot your internal organs tend to rub against each other and massage one another and this helps your digestion. If you are usually sedentary and worse still if you sit in a hunched position your entrails get cramped for room. Inactivity does not help your blood circulate throughout your body and this includes circulation to your intestines.
If you are a big drinker of fruit and vegetable juices but do not eat fruit and vegies you get vitamins but no roughage. Whole fruit and vegetables are a much healthier option than their juices alone.
Constipation (along with child birth, heavy lifting and anal sex) can give your hemorroids, this happens because of straining too hard. Learning to use your abdominal muscles in a downward wave-like motion like belly dancers do will put way less strain on your rectum if you need to do some pushing. Getting therapuetic massage can help alot too especially if your massage therapist shows you how you can do it for yourself.
Laxatives can assist constipation but taking them long term can cause problems with over excitation of the bowel wall. Prevention can be way less drastic than cure.