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Question
Posted by: | 2018/04/17

Constipation when drinking water with lemon in

Hi there i have noticed that i often constipated when i drink lemon water or tea with a lemon in. I have also noticed that when after i had popcorn that i am constipated.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageThe Dietitians
- 2018/04/21

Hi there,


Thank you for writing to us.

There would be no known reason for lemon water or tea to constipate you. In fact, this should do the opposite as you get in more water and hydrate the gut, making stools comfortable and easy to pass. So I don't think this is the cause of your constipation. 

This is the same for popcorn. Popcorn is very high in fibre and is great to manage constipation. Again, it may be something else you're including (or excluding) from your diet that is causing you the troubles. 

Perhaps consider a few other things you are eating or doing that may be contributing. Foods that lack fibre are what will constipate you, such as white bread, white rice, white wraps, sugar, sweets, chocolate, treats like cake and doughnut, Rice Krispies, Cornflakes, etc.

Constipation is a common problem, especially among women and children. While it isn’t a topic that people speak about much, diet and lifestyle really can play a role in treating and even preventing constipation.

 

Constipation occurs when bowel movements are difficult to pass and become infrequent. ‘Normal’ bowel movements vary greatly from person to person. Normal bowel movements are anything between 3 times a week and 3 times a day. If you fall within this range you are likely not constipated. The other concern is the stool consistency. Stools should be easy to pass, and hard, pebble-like stools are an indication of constipation, even if you fall within the guidelines of 3 times a week. The aim is for stools to be soft and sausage-like.

The most common cause is a poor diet. Here are some tips to help manage constipation with dietary and lifestyle changes. Following these tips after treating the constipation will help in preventing constipation in the long run.


1.    Drink more water.

·         It is important to drink lots of water to prevent constipation. Water really helps to bulk up the gut and move the contents along better.

·         Aim to drink at least 2L of water each day.

·         Purchase a few bottles of still water, and leave in spots that you visit often, such as your desk at the office, your gym bag, etc.

·         On cooler days, drink a cup of hot water with a squeeze of lemon. Rooibos tea (without milk) and hot water with lemon juice/slices or mint can be counted as water intake.

·         Caffeine-containing drinks like coffee, tea and soft drinks are dehydrating so should be limited. Also, the concern is that these drinks displace water intake which further worsens dehydration.

 

2.    Up the fibre intake.

Fibre acts like a broom in the intestines and helps sweep them clean. Foods that are high in fibre include:

·         Whole-wheat/ whole-grain products: brown or whole-wheat bread, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, oats, high fibre cereals e.g. All-bran flakes, Special K

·         Fresh fruits: eat 2 fruits per day

·         Fresh vegetables: 3 portions per day

·         Eat fruits and vegetables with edible skin, pips and seeds

·         Dried fruits (especially prunes and pears)

·         Dried beans, peas and lentils

 

3.    Eat less processed foods.

Avoid food products that are refined as these have the fibre taken out during processing. Rather chose wholegrain/wholewheat options of these foods. For example:

·         White bread à wholegrain bread, rye bread

·         White pasta à wholewheat pasta, couscous

·         White rice à brown rice, wild rice

·         Cornflakes and Rice Crispies à All bran flakes, Special K, muesli, oats

·         White cake flour à wholewheat flour

 

4.    Get active.

·         Exercise helps get the gut moving because you exercise the muscles of t he body you also exercise the muscles of the gut.

·         Aim for 3-4 days a week of physical activity.

·         Make exercising interesting and fun to keep you motivated.

o    Print out the timetable of your nearest gym and highlight all the classes that you could enjoy.

o    Google a running club in your area. Try the Nike Run Club in Rosebank (Wednesdays 5pm) and Centurion (Thursdays 5pm), or Wanderer’s Running Club (Thursdays).

o    Grab a friend for a workout at the gym.

o    Join an exercise program like Adventure Boot Camp, Transformhers, Run/Walk for Life, Cross fit, Sweat 1000, etc.

 

5.    Be wary of medication.

·         Some chronic medications may contribute to constipation so take note of the side effects of any medication you are on.

·         Iron supplements may cause constipation, as can calcium supplements. Also, antacids (to prevent heartburn) if used often may also affect bowel movements.

·         Try all these tips before using laxatives.

·         If you are on a laxative or any other medication for colon movements, slowly wean yourself off the medication rather than stopping abruptly. This may worsen the constipation. Always consult with your GP before doing so.

 

I hope this helps answer your question.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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