A lot of people experience some pain when doing ‘major’ business in the bathroom. Here are a few reasons behind painful poops and what you can do about it.
- You’re not drinking enough water
The body requires a certain amount of water to be absorbed before it eliminates excess in stool, so if you do not drink enough water bowel movements can become very hard and brittle.
This lack of water leads to difficulty with stool passage and common symptoms of constipation including straining, cramping, abdominal pain, and bloating,
What you can do about it: Drinking enough water (or eating foods with high water content, like cucumbers) can help you stay hydrated and ensure your bowel movements are easy to pass.
- You have a food intolerance
Sometimes abdominal discomfort and painful pooping may be caused by food intolerances such as lactose, fructose, or gluten. These can lead to abdominal distension and discomfort.
What you can do about it: Some of these intolerances can be tested for, which can help you avoid problematic foods. Others require trial-and-error elimination diets to determine the offending agents.
- You’re not eating enough fibre
Soluble fibre helps stool retain water and keeps stools soft while insoluble fibre helps bulk stool and makes it easier to pass. Both are important for your gut health and should be consumed daily.
What you can do about it: If pooping is painful, try increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- You’re not getting enough exercise
Physical activity not only stimulates your muscles, it also can make your gut move, change the way your stool absorbs water, and beneficially alter important hormone signals that regulate gut health.
What you can do about it: Incorporating aerobic exercise into your daily routine may alleviate the uncomfortable side effects of constipation. Any activity that gets your heart rate up counts.
- You’re taking meds that cause constipation
Some commonly prescribed medications can alter the way your bowel movements are passed by changing water absorption, hormone secretion, etc. Culprits include antacids, pain medications, blood pressure medications, etc.
What you can do about it: Understand the common side effects of your medications, and if there is a concern they may be causing your constipation, talk to your doctor about trying something else (or even using a stool softener).
- You have IBS
Irritable bowel syndrome commonly causes abdominal pain and bloating, but there are many ways for IBS to present. Some people with IBS may have bowel spasms and diarrhoea while others have constipation.
What you can do about it: Treatment is based on the symptoms you exhibit. Besides lifestyle changes like diet, stress management, and exercise, there are also some medications approved for IBS treatment.
- You have a more serious medical problem
If none of these other scenarios sounds familiar, it’s possible you could have an underlying medical problem that’s decreasing your ability to pass stool easily and effectively.
These include blockages in your intestines from twisting or masses, damage to the muscles in your gut from surgery or childbirth, or inflammation in the colon from several causes.
What you can do about it: Talk with your doctor about your symptoms. Any gastrointestinal bleeding (in the stool, in the toilet, or on the paper) should be evaluated by your physician.
Likewise, other alarming features—such as unintentional weight loss, fevers or chills, nausea or vomiting, and abdominal pain that is severe and unremitting—should be evaluated right away.
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