For people with constipation type IBS, the low FODMAP diet alone is often not enough to relieve or prevent symptoms. Here are some very simple tips to get your bowels moving and relieve constipation quickly.
Easier said than done a lot of the time, however, more and more research is proving the inextricable link between the gut and the brain. If the mind is happy the gut is happy and vice versa. Incorporating yoga into your day even just for 10 minutes when you wake up or before going to bed is a great way to do this. There are even certain poses that promote digestion.
2. When you need to go – GO
The obsession that most people have with only using a toilet that is 10km out of earshot (ruling out most public toilets and toilets at work or school) is plain silly and can actually be damaging to the bowel muscles if ‘holding on’ continues over a long period of time. Get over this fear and your bowels will thank you.
3. Stay active
Exercise is AMAZING for regular bowel movements and relieving constipation. It speeds up your metabolism and quickens the whole digestive process. This means the food you eat travels more quickly through the large intestine, giving it less chance to absorb too much water and make the stools dry and hard. My number one tip is to choose a physical activity you love and not something you dread. If you don’t like running then don’t put yourself through it. The main thing is getting your body moving – whether it’s walking, yoga, cycling, gym classes, rock climbing, boxing. Find what you love and do it every day.
4. Drink plenty of water
Water is absolutely key for constipation prevention and management. The main cause of constipation is a dehydrated colon. When the colon is very thirsty it will draw lots of water out of the stool. This leads to a dry, hard and difficult to expel bowel movement. If the body stays properly hydrated the colon won’t have to do this and the stool will stay soft and easy to pass.
5. Eat high fibre foods
As a dietitian, this is my favourite recommendation! Not only is fibre an essential ingredient in regular bowel movements but it has too many other health benefits to count. It is common to think that getting enough fibre on a low FODMAP diet is challenging as many of the obvious high fibre foods are also high in FODMAPS. Below is a great list of high fibre, low FODMAP foods and serve sizes within some of the essential food groups.
FIBRE TARGET = 25 – 30g per day.
Bread and cereals
|Spelt sourdough bread||2 slices||5g|
|Brown rice boiled||1 cup||3g|
|Brumby’s Bakery Quinoa and
|Carmen’s Original Fruit Free Muesli||¼ cup||4g|
|Oats (porridge)||¼ cup||4g|
|Boiled Potato with skin||1||3.5g|
|Green Beans boiled||½ cup||2g|
|Corn Boiled||1 large cob||3g|
|Eggplant, cooked||½ cup||1.5g|
|Kiwi Fruit||2 small||5g|
Nuts, seeds and snacks
|Chia seeds||2 tablespoons||8g|
|Popcorn, air popped||1 cup||1.5g|
|Gluten free, fruit free muesli bar||1||2g|
|Pine nuts||1 tablespoon||6g|
Tip: Track your daily fibre intake to make sure you are meeting your target.
If these strategies don’t work for you there are other options like fibre supplements which should be discussed with a trained IBS dietitian.