Ayurveda

Does Drinking Water Help in Constipation?

Constipation

is generally described as a strained bowel movement associated with hard and dry stools and the frequency is less than 3 times per week. A certain extent of pain can also be associated with the passage of stools. The passage of hard, dry and large stools may cause tears in the mucosal membrane of the anal cavity.

There are certain standard recommendations in such a condition. One of them would always be an increase in the amount of water intake.

In this article we will explore whether it is a fact or myth that drinking water can help with

constipation

.

  • The first fact that needs to be made clear is that the water content in stools is completely absorbed in the large intestine. Stools are about 75% water. The gastrointestinal tract is designed such that food and water ingested is absorbed and processed first in the small intestine before the wastes and by-products reach the large intestine. So, the amount of water drank by mouth hardly reaches the large intestine.
  • If the water is not absorbed properly in the small intestine, then diarrhea strikes. Intestinal malabsorption is caused by inflammation, excess intake of soluble fiber or laxatives. The large intestine allows only 100-150 ml of water to be passed along with normal stools. That is just a miniscule amount when compared to the 30-40 liters of water that is present in the adult body at any given time. In fact, the difference between hard stools and soft stools is only about 15 ml.
  • Next point would be dedicated to the common table salt. The large intestine absorbs sodium chloride from the fecal wastes. So adequate amount of salt in diet is needed. Besides salt helps to prevent edema, makes sweat, help avoid dehydration and synthesize hydrochloric acid which is the primary aid in digestion. In a low sodium diet, stools can get dehydrated if adequate amounts of sodium chloride are not absorbed in the large intestine.
  • Salt is also the primary source of iodine. Iodine is required for healthy thyroid function. The deficient production of the thyroid hormone as in hypothyroidism causes chronic constipation. Hypothyroidism can also affect the metabolism which can in turn affect the process of digestion, assimilation and elimination.
  • Excess water consumption can also worsen

    constipation

    in one more way. Excess water consumption can cause the potassium in the body to get washed away with excess urination. Potassium is an important mineral ingredient which can help retain water in the stools.

Hence, it is not always true that excessive water consumption can help prevent the passage of infrequent, dry, hard and large stools.

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