Concerned about constipation in winter? Here’s why it happens and how to avoid it

Constipation in winter can be a sudden occurrence in people that are usually not suffering from it. It arises due to many factors like dietary and lifestyle change issues.
constipation causes
Know why constipation may happen more in winter. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Sharanya S Shastry Published: 26 Nov 2022, 10:30 am IST
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The first thing that most of us do after waking up is to attend the nature’s call, and do the big job! Generally it doesn’t take long, but there are times when some people find this easy morning task to be a difficult one. Don’t worry as constipation is an extremely common gastrointestinal problem among people. Constipation in winter can especially be agonizing, so here we are telling you how to avoid constipation.

Why does constipation happen?

Constipation can be a sudden occurrence in people that are usually not suffering from it. It arises due to dietary and lifestyle change issues. Insufficient dietary fiber and lack of proper fluid intake are the two main factors that cause constipation.

It occurs when the colon absorbs too much water from the body’s waste, causing the stool to dry out and become difficult to pass through the body. Every person has different bowel movements according to their lifestyle.

Why is constipation in winter more prevalent?

During winter, one’s appetite tends to increase, which can lead to overeating and can majorly contribute to constipation. One of the key causes of constipation in winter is the minimization of physical activities. During the chilly season, people become more inactive and this primarily induces changes in one’s lifestyle.

Constipation can lead to abdominal discomfort and gas, depending on the severity. A decrement in physical activities reduces blood flow in the muscles which also leads to constipation.

The struggle against constipation can be tough. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Common reasons for constipation during winter

Inadequate intake of water:

During winter, the body does not get easily dehydrated and it does not need water to cool itself down like in summer. But still, one needs enough water to keep their body hydrated. Staying hydrated is an important part of the plan to get things moving again. Water is necessary for digestion. It keeps the food moving through the intestines, and it keeps one’s intestines smooth and flexible also.

Not enough fiber in the diet:

Winter is the time when people usually crave comfort food rather than healthy rich-in-fiber food. Fiber deficiency occurs when one does not consume enough fiber in the diet. Fiber promotes gut and microbiome health and lack of fiber results in irregular bowel movements and constipation.

Frequent consumption of high caffeine like tea and coffee:

Caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea can cause constipation if consumed frequently. Caffeine dehydrates the body and leads to irregular bowel movements causing constipation. Also, during winter, people tend to intake less water which also leads to dehydration, and the chance of constipation gets increased.

High intake of sugar:

Winter is all about shrinking daylight and shifting sleep patterns. And during this time, one usually indulges in sugary confectionaries which leads to health issues. Consuming a high amount of sugar affects one’s digestive system and triggers digestive issues like constipation.

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control sugar intake
Sugar can affect your gut health! Image courtesy:

Excessive intake of milk also leads to constipation sometimes:

Dairy products like milk are another common cause of constipation for some people. This is most common in people who are allergic to the proteins found in cow’s milk.

How to prevent constipation in winter

1. Eat right

Some of the constipation prevention tips to reduce the problem are consuming plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as it provides the body with all the necessary nutrients which reduce the problem of constipation.

One should consume high-fiber foods for regular bowel movements and should consult a healthcare professional about taking fiber supplements.

2. Drink hot or lukewarm water

Consumption of hot water in the morning is also beneficial for constipation as hot water helps in body detoxification.

3. Avoid alcohol

One should avoid alcohol to avoid dehydration of the body.

Also read: An Ayurveda expert recommends 5 remedies for constipation

Avoid alcohol
Alcohol will only make you more dehydrated. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Exercise

Exercising on a regular basis also helps in treating constipation, exercise keeps our body warm and fit.

Constipation can be treated easily

In most cases, constipation can be treated easily with changes in lifestyle and diet. Regular exercise also helps in preventing constipation.

A healthy gut is critical for avoiding chronic and metabolic diseases such as PCOS, diabetes, constipation, and many others. If some people are experiencing severe constipation, they should visit the doctor.

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About the Author

Dr Sharanya S Shastry, Dietician at Apollo Spectra Hospital, Koramangala, Bangalore ...Read More

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