Publish on: 27 June 2015

Constipation is a common illness in modern Western society. Between 10 and 12% of the adult population are affected, this figure increasing to between 20% and 30% among the elderly.

Constipation is a condition affecting the movement of the intestine, which slows down the passage of stools, causing them to harden, and making it more difficult for them to pass through.

The bowels usually open with a frequency of between three times a day and
three times a week. When bowel movements take place less than three times a
week, or when less than 35 g/day of faeces are passed (although in women,
between 5 and 35/g day is thought normal) a person is said to be suffering from

Physiologically, the faeces are stored in the colon until defecation. When they reach the rectum, the rectal relaxation reflex triggers the desire to open the bowels. For correct distension, a quantity of between 150 g and 200 g is required. If this quantity is not present, the defecation reflex is not produced, which has the following consequences:
- Stools take longer to move through the bowels.
- Water absorption increases.
- The stools become dry, hard and smaller.
- The defecation reflex is inhibited, and
- Defecation becomes infrequent and difficult.

There are many factors that can lead to constipation:
- Unbalanced diets poor in vegetables and fruit, which limit the intake of
sufficient quantities of fibre. The daily dose of dietary fibre should be
around 30 g.
- Fast-paced living, stress and paying little attention to meals.
- Specific metabolic conditions: Metabolic disorders, intestinal tumours,
side effects of some medications (cough medicines containing codeine,
analgesics, sedatives, oral iron, antidepressants, etc).
- Pregnancy
- Age: It is very common for people over the age of 65, because
sometimes their bowel movements are affected by immobility, the
multiple medications they take, and mental deterioration.
- Diseases such as irritable colon syndrome, diverticulitis...

People suffering from constipation can also sometimes present symptoms such as headache, irritability and poor appetite.
However, this health problem can be prevented in most cases by just following a little advice:

- Diet The main change involves increasing the amount of fibre-rich
foodstuffs, such as fruit (kiwi, orange, cherry and fig) as well as raw and
cooked vegetables (spinach, chard, peppers, aubergines, onions, which
stimulate the digestive system very well), whole cereals and boiled
legumes. It is also important to avoid high-fat food. It is recommended
this fibre be gradually introduced into the diet, as the body needs to
become accustomed to it, otherwise other uncomfortable situation such
as meteorism, flatulence and diarrhoea. It is also good to know that fibre
prevents constipation, and because of its structure it is able to help
eliminate cholesterol from the digestive system, although it does also
remove other nutrients necessary for the body with it, such as vitamins
and minerals.

- Water. Eating larger amounts of fibre requires increasing water intake to
more than two litres a day, as it helps the components of the foodstuffs to
dissolve. Drinking Vichy Barcelona, with its well-balanced mineral profile,
helps replace the vitamins the fibre takes from the body as it passes
through the digestive tract, and which are eliminated in the stools. What's
more, because it is naturally sparkling water, it is useful for specific
problems affecting the digestive system, one of which is constipation.

- Habits. Try to open your bowels at the same time every day, training your
digestive system and having enough time available for your bowel movements.
- Stress. Try to keep stress in check and get the rest you need. Avoid
burdening yourself with too much work.

- Try to eat at regular mealtimes. Eat in an orderly fashion (starter, main
course and dessert), in a quiet atmosphere, without interruptions. Chew your food well and eat and drink slowly.

- Do not get into the habit of taking laxatives without first finding out what
is causing the constipation.

In summary, constipation can be avoided by improving your diet and choosing to drink Vichy Barcelona.