Healthy Eating

Spicy Potato Skins

Both crispy and hearty, potato skins are a yummy snack food or appetizer. Try this reduced fat version with turkey bacon and low-fat cheddar cheese. It is sure to become a favorite.

Myth or Fact

If you don’t have a bowel movement daily, you are abnormal.

Myths and Facts about Occasional Constipation

We know that people don’t like to talk about constipation. Did you know that more people say they are willing to talk about sex than constipation! It’s a fact, according to a survey conducted by the makers of Senokot® and Colace® products.

It’s unfortunate because as a condition that many people experience, keeping silent about it leads to continued discomfort that can keep people from finding out the facts they need to get back to their normal lives. It’s time we brought constipation out of the closet and started to treat it as the common condition it is—like a head cold—unpleasant to have but usually short-lived and easily relieved. There is lots of misinformation about constipation out there, largely because it’s been a taboo subject for far too long.

To help remove the stigma of constipation and bring some of the facts to light, here are some of the most common myths about constipation.

MYTH: If you don’t have a bowel movement daily, you are abnormal.

FACT:

Not true! Frequency of bowel movements is an individual thing. For some people, going every day is normal, while for others, going only a few times a week is the norm. If you feel bloated, gassy, find going to the bathroom difficult or have hard, dry stools, you may be experiencing constipation. Don’t suffer in silence. Consult with your doctor to discuss your own situation and determine if your frequency of bowel movements is right for you.

MYTH: Infrequent bowel movements are bad for your health. There are toxins that build up in your colon that can lead to bigger problems.

FACT:

There is no widely accepted scientific evidence that “toxins” accumulate in your colon when you have infrequent bowel movements. However, you do want to feel more comfortable and to help get you there, you should first add more fiber and water to your diet and see if that improves your situation. You should also consult with your doctor to get advice on the best way to treat your constipation.

MYTH: Constipation is an old person’s condition.

FACT:

Actually, lots of people of all ages experience constipation at some time. Babies, children and adults of all ages can have occasional constipation. 66% of women and 51% of men in a recent survey conducted by the makers of Senokot® and Colace® products report they have occasional constipation. Elderly people do have a greater tendency to have constipation, sometimes related to food choices and inactivity. Older people tend to have more medical conditions and also take more medications, both of which can contribute to constipation.

MYTH: Constipation is caused by poor nutrition alone.

FACT:

There are many contributing factors that can cause occasional constipation. While diets low in fiber and insufficient fluids are important causes, things like medications, medical conditions, and lifestyle choices can also contribute to the condition. Of course, you should work on eating the right foods and avoid fatty, overly processed foods, but diet alone is not the only cause of constipation.

MYTH: Constipation is not a common problem.

FACT:

Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints in the United States. More than 4 million Americans have issues with constipation6. It often can be combatted through diet, exercise and commonly used over-the-counter products that can help with relief.

MYTH: Constipation is just unavoidable and you just have to live with it.

FACT:

Constipation does affect many people throughout their lives. Like the common head cold, constipation happens. You get a head cold, you may take something for help to get through it. The same is true of constipation. You experience a bout of it and you can find relief. The main thing is to not ignore it and suffer. Constipation can be addressed through diet, lifestyle changes, increasing your intake of fluids, and exercising. If your constipation lasts more than a few days or is accompanied by other symptoms, consult with your doctor to get advice on treatment and how to prevent constipation.

MYTH: If you are suffering from occasional constipation you should stay inside and rest.

FACT:

Exercise does more than tone your heart and muscles; exercise also promotes regular bowel movements. In fact, inactivity or a lack of exercise can contribute to occasional constipation7. So get up and stay active! A regular walking regimen -- even 10 to 15 minutes several times a day -- can help your body and your digestive system function optimally. You should check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

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