“We are falsifying in a completely unnatural way” | Right away
constipation, constipation and constipation. All terms for the same condition: not able to defecate. According to gastrointestinal liver doctor Daniel Keszthelyi, about one in five Dutch people sometimes suffer from it. Helemel during the holidays. “Long sitting is not conducive to the intestinal motor.”
When is there constipation?
“There are many fables about constipation. Many people think they are clogged when they only have to go to the toilet once every two days. That’s not true. We poop on average once a day. Some need three times a day, others once every three days. Although different definitions are used, in practice you are clogged if you still can’t after three days.”
“We started to poopen in an unnatural way when the English introduced the modern toilet in Western Europe.”
Daniel Keszthelyi, gastrointestinal liver doctor
How is it that it is so many people suffer from constipation?
“There are several causes. First, the pelvic floor plays a major role. A lot of people don’t know. The pelvic floor is a type of muscle with connective tissue around it, on which the organs rest. Among other things, it regulates the chair. To defec, you need to be able to relax this muscle properly.”
And a lot of people can’t?
“No. This is because we started pooping in an unnatural way when the English introduced the modern toilet in Western Europe. In countries where they have squat toilets, they suffer less from constipation. This is because you automatically relax an important pelvic floor muscle in the squat.”
“Sitting is more difficult. Taking laxatives makes no sense if you cannot relax this muscle. Finally, the door remains locked. What can help is to put a stool in the toilet to mimic the stool position.”
“When you stop the stool, the large intestine absorbs even more moisture from it, which dries the cue, the stool gets harder and shrinks.”
Food also matters, doesn’t it?
“That’s right. Especially a lack of fibers can lead to constipation. Fibers provide mass, stimulate intestinal movement and provide food for the intestinal bacteria. So eat enough whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes.”
“Research on yellow kiwis has shown that they work just as well as laxatives. Not only are they high in fiber, but they also contain certain enzymes that help break down food. Flea seeds and other seeds also help.”
Why do we often suffer from it on holiday?
“On the way, a different chair pattern often emerges. We often don’t drink enough water for fear of peeing. In addition, we sit in the plane or in the car for a long time, which is not conducive to intestinal motor skills.”
“When we arrive at the holiday address, we often move less than at home. And we eat differently. Delicious French baguette, for example. Very low fiber. That is the question of anger. Especially if you are prone to constipation.”
Squatting, moving, eating fiber and drinking water. What else do we need to do?
“Listen to your body. Go when you feel urge. If you stop the stool, the large intestine absorbs even more moisture from it, which dries the cue, the stool becomes harder and shrinks. As a result, the urge decreases. But the next time you get perseverance, it will be harder to get him out. With all consequences: constipation, but also a higher risk of hemorrhoids due to pressing.”
Daniel Keszthelyi is mDL doctor at mumc+ in Maastricht.