Woah there! Don’t even bother reaching for those laxatives!
If you regularly find yourself being, well, not regular, it’s crucial to remember that laxatives are not a long term solution.
In a recent chat with HuffPost UK, Dr Karan Rajan (who you’ll no doubt recognise from his health education TikTok) explained that one thing he’d never do when it comes to constipation is immediately reach for laxatives.
“They shouldn’t be the first port of call – what you should do is look at natural things which you can do,” he says.
So what does this involves? “Increasing your fluid intake, exercising and you can even eat certain fruits that’ll act as natural laxatives,” he advises.
The fruits in question? Plums and pears.
“They’re high in a sugar, alcohol and crucially, sorbitol. Sorbitol is an osmotic laxative – they draw water into your stool and help to stimulate your guts and can be quite effective.”
However, if you are ending up on laxatives, Dr Rajan warns that constantly relying on the medication can actually worsen your gut health and worsen the musculature in your gut – which in turn can make you more constipated and more reliant on increasingly high doses of laxatives as time goes on.
When it comes to making to make things move smoothly for the long-term, Dr Rajan recommendeds eating at least 30g of fibre a day in order to make pooing easier.
“This needs to be a mix of soluble fibre, which helps to bulk and soften the stool, and insoluble fibre, which acts like a rake to sweep your intestines,” he shares.
And when the time comes to pass the poo itself, you need to get into a better position.
“Decrease the angle between your torso and thighs - you can do this by leaning forward or using a stool under your feet to get you into hip flexion,” he advises.
According to the doc, this relaxes your puborectalis muscle and straightens the rectum – meaning less straining and much better pooing dynamics.
The more you know, eh?