Best ways to avoid Constipation when you Have Gastritis
Constipation, when you have Gastritis or any digestive issue, is very common, and affects most people at some point in their life. It’s more common among women, children and the over 65’s but anybody can suffer from it.
Suffering from constipation is not surprising when you have digestive issues, much of the time you need to change your diet to stop pain or to curb nausea. This often involves just eating anything that settles your stomach down and eating your recommended 5 a day fruit and veg often go out of the window.
Many people are also prescribed PPI’s and H2 blockers with Gastritis and one of the known side effects of these drugs is constipation.
I know from experience that a few days after taking any of these medications that I will develop constipation, but generally after a week or so of eating more fibre and drinking more water, my body will adjust.
Symptoms of constipation
- Bowel movements fewer than 3 times a week – Not everyone needs to go to the toilet everyday, but if your normal pattern changes you may need to change your diet
- Straining to move your bowels when on the toilet
- Painful bowel movements
- Abdominal pain
- Your poo is dry, large or lumpy
- Feeling bloated or sick
Causes of Constipation
- Not having enough fibre in your diet
- Ignoring the urge to go to the toilet
- A side effect of medication, such as PPi’s or H2 blockers
- Not getting enough exercise or sitting still for long periods of time
- Not drinking enough water/fluids
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Having iron supplements
Complications of constipation
Complications can arise if Constipation is ignored. Haemorrhoids (piles) can become an issue, these are caused by straining to have a bowel movement.
Anal Fissures too can be a problem, this is where a hard stool causes a tear in the skin around the anus. This may result in bleeding from your bottom, its always a good idea to get this checked by your GP to rule out anything more serious.
So what can you do to avoid Constipation when you have gastritis?
Drink more water
I know this is always mentioned on any advice about health but its so very important with constipation.
Constipation happens when the colon absorbs too much water and becomes dehydrated. The colon (large intestine) absorbs water when forming a stool as food moves through. The stool is pushed towards the rectum by muscle contractions. Generally, as the stool reaches the rectum, the stool will be solid as most of the water will have been absorbed.
So keeping hydrated is very important and its recommended that you drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day. I fill up a large glass or bottle each morning and keep it near me so I don’t forget to drink plenty.
Drink warm water on an empty stomach
I was told by someone to try and have a warm glass of water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, and I have certainly found this helps.
As a gastritis sufferer coffee is not an option for me and my stomach won’t tolerate it, so before my breakfast, I have a mug of hot water. It definitely helps with my constipation
Eat more gastritis friendly fibre
A good way to get more fibre into your diet is to eat a high fibre cereal for breakfast. If you can tolerate oats, these are great for constipation.
I will often have porridge oats with almond milk, sliced banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon to Start my day, occasionally if my bowels are sluggish I will also sprinkle on a spoonful of Chia seeds.
Many people find high bran cereals beneficial, but just be careful when you first start having them, having a small portion and building up the amount you have is a good idea, otherwise it can lead to bloating, gas and feeling uncomfortable.
Choose Granary bread and wholemeal bread rather than white. Also Brown rice and pasta is a good choice.
Try and go for potatoes with their skins on, such as baked potatoes or boiled with the skins left on.
Eat Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is vital too, you may not be able to tolerate all of them, especially some fruits but there are usually some vegetables that don’t aggravate gastritis. I’m fine with things like Courgettes, green beans, broccoli and Brussel sprouts for my Gastritis in moderation, even when I am having a flare-up.
Vegetables that are generally tolerated with Gastritis sufferers
- Brussel sprouts
- Green beans
- Fresh asparagus
Fruit is a little more tricky, especially if you are following something like the Acid watchers diet, but Im ok with watermelon and bananas (when not on a flare-up). Everyone is different though, so you will need to figure out what are your own personal trigger foods.
Eat Seeds & Nuts and seeds
Seeds and nuts are usually tolerated well with Gastritis and contain a good amount of fibre, they can be enjoyed on their own as a snack or sprinkled overs meals or breakfast.
- Brazil nuts
- Chia seeds
- flax seeds
- pumpkin seeds
- sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Prunes or prune juice
I know prunes ( dried plums) are a well-known cure for Constipation, but for some reason, I just thought it was an old fashioned remedy that my Grandparents used and, to be honest, I didnt really like the look of them.
But I thought I would give them a try and wow, it’s made a huge difference. I have probably never been so regular in my life. One study also showed that they may prevent colon cancer as well as controlling diabetes and obesity.
I have 4 prunes mixed with my oatmeal in the morning and then have another 4 in the evening as a snack (yes I have actually begun to enjoy them!). I am definitely sticking with them on a regular basis.
If you struggle with constipation regularly, this are great to have, I have a spoonful of this on my breakfast in the morning or sprinkled in a smoothie. It recommends two spoonfuls but if I am not suffering with bad constipation I find one is enough to get things moving. You can also buy capsules which are useful if you are going away, or are not eating anything that you can sprinkle to husks onto. This is the one I use, which lasts ages. Psyllium husks
Kefir is a fermented probiotic milk drink. Research has shown kefir helps increase the number of bowel movements and helps keep your poo soft in people with constipation
I find probiotics really helpful in keeping me regular and just helps my whole digestive system in general. I use these Biocare ones as I was advised from a local Healthcare shop that these are one of the best, they certainly have helped me and I haven’t had any side effects with them, which is something I have had trouble with before.
People who exercise regularly tend not to suffer from constipation less. It’s important to fit some exercise into your routine. It doesn’t have to mean you need to hit the gym every morning, but a brisk walk around the block each day will help get things moving. If you can manage 20 mins or more that’s even better.
Listening to your body
Dont ignore your body when you have the urge to go. You may be in a hurry to get ready for work or just pop that extra load of washing on, but you do need to make time to go to the toilet. Set aside a time in the morning, where you can relax and not get disturbed. When you sit on the toilet raise your feet off the ground if you can, on a small stool or box.
Hormones, periods and Constipation
Sometimes I may be eating all the right things but I will still suffer from constipation a week before my period. Apparently just before a period progesterone builds up in your body. This causes your digestive system to slow right down and may result in constipation. Apparently, it’s more common for women that have painful periods to suffer from constipation. So it’s definitely a good idea to bump up your fibre intake around your time of the month.