Bowel movement is something that is really not a part of our normal conversation. I know, I wrinkle my nose when my kids do potty talk whether it is at the dining table or otherwise. Call it my prim and proper upbringing, as kids we kept topics below the belt (pun intended) under close wraps meant only to be spoken in whispers. Constipation for us was a term most often used for someone with an uptight expression rather than the organic problem that it is. Also, doesn’t it only affect adults? I must tell you that I don’t really recall having any episodes of constipation as a kid and hence thought this is not really a common issue. It only affects those who have a really terrible diet or aliens. How wrong was I! Come to think of it, I had a pretty vague idea about constipation before I became a parent. I mean do children really have trouble passing stools? Apparently they do as I discovered when I became a mother.
My son used to have a tough time when he was a baby as he was unable to poop. Poor little baby could only cry as he strained hard, but the stool would just not come out. The husband and I would have to insert suppositories to help him pass bowels. It was an experience which was both stressful and painful. To see the child suffer so much really made us helpless and mad. I felt a bit awkward approaching the elderly ladies in the family with the problem as ‘such’ issues were generally, not discussed. A couple of other moms of my age group I spoke to also were equally clueless.
Finally, we reached out to a doctor and understood what we could do to help our child have normal bowel movements regularly. Now I wonder why I took so long and endured months of misery.
We got to know that going less than 3 times a week is what the doctors consider constipation. But for most of us, constipation is the discomfort when we haven’t either emptied our bowels adequately, needed to strain or just had not had a bowel movement in a day. It is not a nice feeling to experience as it affects everything you do and your demeanour. It weighs heavily on your mind. I know now because I have had several bouts of constipation especially in the time period after my deliveries. I had to slowly nudge my system back to health and also remember to have extra water and more fibrous food.
What I mostly do is to increase my water intake immediately to 3-4 litres daily. Remember that tea, coffee and colas do not count as fluids. Actually they dehydrate you further. I also pay special attention to include fibre in the diet at home, things like whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds etc. And since I exercise regularly and generally go at the same time daily, I haven’t had too much trouble with constipation. Many women will find that they may feel constipated around their periods. Follow the steps mentioned above.
The worst part is that there is not enough conversation around us about this problem that is very common. ‘Potty talk’ especially when not of the funny kind makes most of us uncomfortable. A few digs aside, we need to talk regularly about constipation and share experiences as well as solutions with each other. The taboo, as with many topics of health, needs to go away completely. Since bowel movements and constipation are not generally considered as savoury conversation topics, most times help is not sought and the issue may get aggravated leading to painful haemorrhoids. Do you remember those ads about piles consultation that one would see plastered on walls and bill board hoardings especially during train journeys. I remember my parents filching and turning their faces aways and we followed suit. I never had any clue about what piles was and any attempts to get answers were gently and firmly nudged away.
So next time when someone says potty, don’t screw your nose and walk away. Participate in the dialog. It may help you maintain good bowel health. And never shy away from discussing this with your doctor, whether you have a child or an adult who is suffering from this issue.
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Disclaimer: Any opinion expressed in this blog is my personal opinion and not the opinion of Abbott India Limited. Abbott India Limited does not assume any liability for the content of the blog. The blog post is not meant to be a replacement for a doctor consultation, nor is it a medical recommendation or prescription of treatment for people having constipation problems. Any reader of this blog suffering from constipation problems should specifically consult his/her doctor for treatment and follow the suggested course of treatment.