Constipation - A Modern Epidemic
by Tarilee Cornish, Nutritional Consultant
Today's stressful, sedentary lifestyles and highly-processed, low-fiber diets predispose us to constipation. Since good statistics on the prevalence of the problem don't really exist, medical and holistic health professionals have widely differing views as to what defines constipation.
The time it takes for food to pass from the mouth to elimination through the rectum is generally referred to as "transit time". In the view of holistic practitioners, transit time should be somewhere between 12 and 24 hours, and that anything longer than a 24-hour transit time indicates constipation. However, many conventional medical professionals consider even longer transit periods perfectly normal. According to the Physician's Manual for Patients, "Daily bowel movements are not essential to health".
Even if the statistics available were not skewed by contradictory opinions within the medical community, their accuracy could be affected by a public somewhat shy to discuss the issue. Let's face it; bowel function is not a subject that many folks feel comfortable talking about. Instead, let's consider some of the symptoms that holistic practitioners believe could be due to constipation. When looking at the following list, we begin to get a sense of how many people may be suffering from this unpleasant condition.
SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH CONSTIPATION
According to holistic practitioners, symptoms that may be due to constipation include the following:
- abdominal pain
- bad breath, body odor
- fatigue, low energy
- depression, irritability
- mental sluggishness
- skin eruptions, sallow skin, dark circles under eyes.