What is Constipation?
Constipation is irregular, infrequent or difficulty in passage of feces. It is the common disorder of the alimentary tract. It is characterized by evacuation of hard, dried stools. It occurs commonly in children, adolescents, and adults age 65 and over who take low fiber diets and patients confined to bed. It is a condition in which fewer than 3 stools per week are passed. If more than 3 days go by – without the passage of a stool and stool passed in one day amounting to less than 35 grams, it can be called Constipation.
Why is it common that the fiber is missing from the diet? How does fiber help to avoid Constipation?
People who eat a high fiber diet are less likely to become constipated. The most common causes of constipation are a diet low in fiber or a diet high in fats, such as cheese, eggs, and meats.
Fiber – both soluble and insoluble-is the part of fruits, vegetables, and grains that the body cannot digest. Soluble fiber dissolves easily in water and takes on a soft, gel-like texture in the intestines. Insoluble fiber passes through the intestines almost unchanged. The bulk and soft texture of fiber help prevent hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass.
Our food is generally low in fiber. Both children and adults often eat too many refined and processed foods from which the natural fiber has been removed.
Glucose, simple sugar is the main source of energy for the body’s cells. It is extracted from starches and sweet foods.
A low-fiber diet also plays a key role in constipation among older adults, who may lose interest in eating and choose foods that are quick to make or buy, such as fast foods, or prepared foods, both of which are usually low in fiber. Also, difficulties with chewing or swallowing may cause older people to eat soft foods that are processed and low in fiber.