Bad intestinal transit is one of the most common digestive problems among the Spanish population. In fact, it represents 20% of the total number of queries that reach Primary Care in this area of health. Between 12% and 20% of Spaniards suffer from constipation, according to data from the Spanish Digestive System Foundation, a symptom that is twice as frequent in women as in men. Likewise, it affects more people over 65 years.
Despite being so well known, constipation is a symptom — not a disease — that is not easy to define, since there is no common criterion for normality when talking about intestinal transit. Dr. Aurora Garre, Cinfa’s medical advisor, clarifies that «the normal range for attending the service ranges from three times a week to three times a day. When the frequency is less than three stools per week or there is difficulty to expel the stool, being these dry and hard, it is spoken of constipation. In addition, it may be accompanied by intestinal discomfort, cramps, exaggerated effort, little stool, or an incomplete feeling of evacuation.
Diet, cause and solution
The type of diet we follow can be both the cause and part of the solution for constipation. According to this expert, “constipation is a consequence of the absence of exercise, obesity, psychological factors and bad dietary habits, marked by a diet that is poor in fruits, vegetables or vegetable fibers and by insufficient fluids.”
In addition, there are other factors that may also favor the appearance of this problem in a timely manner, such as «immobility due to an accident or operation, travel and changes in habits, or the ingestion of some drugs. Nor should we forget, “says Dr. Garre,” how little it benefits to avoid the desire to go to the service, since if we habitually repress ourselves, the body will stop warning us. ”
Therefore, by modifying daily habits and incorporating guidelines for eating and healthy living, such as quitting smoking or moving away from sedentary lifestyle, we will make our intestinal transit quicker and we will feel better.