By Halima Gladys
Many of us, sometimes when ânature callsâ and there is no toilet nearby, usually postpone bowel movement. The urge to pooh goes away and does not return until after eating another meal.
While occasionally postponing bowel movement does no harm, doing it regularly can contribute to irreversible abnormal bowel movement and cause conditions like haemorrhoids.
The longer body waste matter remains in the colon, the drier it becomes and, therefore, the harder it is to pass without straining. Repeated postponing of the urge to defecate can also result in weaker signals to the rectal muscles to pass stool. Eventually, it may be difficult to pass stool naturally without some straining.
Also, a colon filled with faecal matters is heavy and exerts pressure on the blood vessels and veins of the anus and rectum. This can cause these veins to swell and become haemorrhoids.
Diseases that lead to the development of haemorrhoids include:
Rectal cancer: Can cause a false need to pooh, thus encouraging the patient to go to the bathroom and strain unnecessarily.
Liver enlargement: Often found in people who abuse alcohol. It can create extra pressure on the haemorrhoid veins.
Intestinal tumour and irritable bowel syndrome: Can interfere with normal elimination or cause constipation.
Refined or processed foods have little fibre content and a lot of animal fats, hence no roughage for the intestine to pass the stool easily, thus leading to straining on the toilet.Â Â
Avoid foods that may cause indigestion and gas. Drink more water to make the stool softer. To reduce straining, ensure your meals have more fibre fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.
The writer is a nutritionist practicing health promotion