How long Will This Take?
Getting food from our mouths to our stomach, digesting it and then emptying our colon is something we humans spend a lot of time doing. When we suffer from constipation that whole process can seem like an eternity. Have you ever wondered how long the whole process takes?
Since we eat different foods at different times and come in all shapes and sizes, the average transit times (like commuting to and from work!) are only estimates scientists have reached, when studying digestion.
The estimates are that it takes about 21/2 to 3 hours for the stomach to be at least 50% emptied, with total emptying times about 4-5 hours. Then there is the small intestine transit time of another 2-3 hours, with colon transit times between 30 and 40 minutes.
It would be impossible to get exact transit times because food doesnât move through the digestive process all together. Foods donât always get processed in the same order as they came in- some of the food from the same meal will be in the colon, while another portion remains in the stomach.
A meal is a mixture of several types of chemicals and materials. Itâs a miracle the body knows what to do with everything, but it does. Sometimes the choices we make will effect the transit time unpleasantly, and that can mean problems with constipation. One of the best foods to get the journey back on track is fruit. Enjoying at least two fruits a day can keep the transit police happy. (Is that the sound of happy peopleâs toiletâs flushing?)
Top Ten Fruits
Fruits are made by nature- a perfect food. They are easy to digest and absorb. Fruits are your colonâs friends. If you ever suffer from constipation, youâll want to reach for fresh fruit. Hereâs a look at the top ten fruits that help improve constipation.
Fruits offer many health benefits, including providing vitamins and nutrients, but this list have added benefits for sluggish bowels. Can you guess what these fruits pack a punch with? Did you answer fiber? Thought so!
These fruits are packed full of fiber. Letâs take dried figs. 5 figs will supply 237 calories, with 8.5 grams of fiber for every 100 of those calories. One cup of raspberries, at 60 calories will help get things moving with 8 grams of fiber.
Most of us have already been told how fiber is so good for us. Itâs great to know that you donât have to down bowl after bowl of bran to get rid of constipation. In fact, if you arenât used to a lot of fiber in the diet, it can make you feel bloated, gassy and more uncomfortable than being constipated did in the first place.
More Fruits to the Rescue
Donât worry if the fiber-rich fruits on the top ten lists donât appeal to you. Most fruits are naturals at gently relieving constipation. Hereâs a list of other fruits you might want to add to your diet:
The combination of fiber (which is usually provided by the skin, so donât peel that apple!) and sugars that are harder for the body to digest, makes fruits a good bet for clearing bouts of constipation. Since the body canât break down the sugar, it pushes it out. You might say that fruit are natureâs laxative. They also act as toners to the stomach and intestines.
Other Transit tips
Need some other suggestions to get traffic flowing again? First of all, if youâve suffered from constipation for a while and it doesnât seem to be getting better, it may be something more than just a nuisance. Itâs wise to have it checked out by your physician. Here are some other tips for relieving constipation:
- Itâs not only what you eat; itâs how you are eating. Be sure that you are not rushing to eat meals and eating at odd times. Make sure you chew your food. Digestion starts in the mouth. Saliva has enzymes that work chemically on your food before you even swallow. Each mouthful should be chewed at least 15 times.
- Stay away from foods that contain white flour and sugar.
- Drink lots of water- just not with your meals, as it dilutes gastric juices needed for digestion. A cup of hot water with some lemon can help with constipation.
Youâll find that making a conscious effort to add fruits to your diet will make a lasting difference in helping you avoid constipation.
The Colon Cleansing & Constipation Resource Center
Constipation can be a difficult IBS symptom to deal with, but so can diarrhea. People who suffer from diarrhea-predominant IBS experience frequent bowel movements of watery and/or loose stool. Other diarrhea-related symptoms include abdominal pain or discomfort, cramping, bloating, gas, nausea and dehydration.
The following are 5 treatment options for relieving IBS related diarrhea:
1 – Diet Control
Before resorting to medications or alternative remedies, you should always consider your diet first. Although diet changes may not entirely cure you from diarrhea, it may help reduce the frequency of attacks. Therefore, you should monitor your diet by keeping a food diary and recording the symptoms you feel after eating different foods to determine which ones cause diarrhea and which ones don’t.
For instance, avoiding/limiting foods high in refined, artificial or natural sugar can help alleviate diarrhea symptoms. This doesn’t only include chocolate, caffeine, alcohol and sweets. It also means foods containing fructose such as honey and a variety of fruits. Foods high in sugar can act like a laxative to your body, especially for an IBS sufferer who already has a sensitive stomach.
You should also ask your doctor to test you for lactose intolerance, as an inability to properly digest milk sugar can cause diarrhea.
2 – OTC Antidiarrheal Drugs
Over-the-counter (OTC) antidiarrheal medications can be effective at providing diarrhea relief when used as short-term treatment. There are two types of antidiarrheal drugs.
- Stool thickeners -these contain fruit pectin and clay which absorb toxins and bacteria in the intestine to help thicken stool (I.E. Kaopectate)
- Antispasmodic – these slow spasms that occur in the intestine (I.E. Imodium).
Although, antidiarrheals are usually effective, they may not help other symptoms such as bloating or abdominal discomfort. Furthermore, prolonged use of antidiarrheals can result in dry mouth, constipation, and other symptoms.
Consult your doctor about OTC antidiarrheal meds for IBS treatment before taking anything. In addition, you shouldn’t resort to antidiarrheals until at least 24 hours after experiencing diarrhea, as you don’t want to stop your body from expelling toxins in the event your diarrhea is a result of bacteria such as food poisoning.
3 – Prescription Medications
Low doses of tricyclic antidepressants are commonly prescribed to IBS patients for abdominal pain. These meds effectively block pain signals to the brain and don’t cause diarrhea. However, they can cause other symptoms including constipation.
Another medication that may be prescribed is Lotronex. This particular drug is designed to block the effect serotonin (chemical produced by the body) has on digestive system, and in so doing, soothes the colon and slows bowl movement frequency. Lotronex has been found to be successful at alleviating IBS symptoms including diarrhea, stomach discomfort and urgency.
Note: Lotronex has only been approved for women who suffer from severe cases of diarrhea-predominant IBS ad have not responded to previous treatment methods.
4 – Alternative Therapy
Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, probiotics and herbal remedies can effectively reduce and alleviate diarrhea and its related symptoms in some IBS sufferers. Each of these methods is designed to assist the body in healing itself by providing it with stimulation (acupuncture), healthy gut bacteria (probiotics), or herbs. All work to aid in normal digestion.
If you are interested in learning about alternative treatments, talk to you health care provider first, and be sure to seek treatment from qualified practitioners.
5 – Behavioural therapy
Stress can actually trigger your IBS symptoms and make diarrhea worse, by causing your stomach to tense, leading to cramping and overall stomach upset. You can help reduce the regular stress in your life, and the stress you feel towards your IBS condition by engaging in:
- Meditation exercises (I.E. Yoga)
- Relaxation therapy
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
It’s also a good idea to distract yourself by taking part in regular activities you enjoy.