Importance of drinking water in avoiding constipation
Once you understand the importance of water, you are well on your way to get rid of constipation. How?
Because, shortage of water in your body (dehydration) is one of the prime causes of constipation. But how will you know about it?
Your body gives warning symptoms
You body gives warning symptoms of any upcoming health problem, so that you can initiate remedial measures.
Dehydration is indicated by
- Urine yellow, hot, burning, foamy, small in quantity and smells pungent.
- Burning eyes, eyes strain while reading.
- Skin very sensitive and burns when you go out in the hot Sun.
- Dry mouth and thirsty feeling.
How does dehydration cause constipation?
Water is essential for the movement of food right from your mouth up to the small intestines and later for the movement of food waste as it enters your colon.
As you chew food, saliva is produced in the mouth for initiating digestion of carbohydrates. When saliva mixes with food, food gets lubricated for easy swallowing and later easy passing through esophagus (connecting tube between mouth and stomach).
You won’t produce enough saliva without enough water in your body.
Let us come to the specific case of constipation:
After the absorption of nutrients in the small intestines, the leftover waste enters the colon. This waste, called stool or feces, consists of undigested food, fiber, dead bacteria and dead cells. It consists of enough water when it enters the colon.
If your body is dehydrated, it tries to replenish by absorbing more water from the colon than normal. This makes stool harden much faster. Hard stool is difficult to move.
Stool moves in the colon towards the rectum by the peristaltic waves (contraction and relaxation of muscles) of the colon walls. This peristaltic movement slows down in the absence of enough water in the body, causing ‘slow transit constipation’.
Water and fiber
Fiber (non-digestible fiber) absorbs good amount of water to increase its bulk and helps the stool to move easily in the colon. If you don’t have enough water, fiber can’t absorb water to increase its bulk. Stool movement becomes sluggish, causing constipation.
Water and colon lubrication
The importance of drinking water is once again highlighted when we consider the lubricant produced by colon walls to keep smooth movement of stool. In the absence of enough water, this production of lubricant also gets affected.
By this, two things will happen:
- Stool movement becomes sluggish, making the stool stay longer in the colon. This causes more absorption of water from stool, making it hard and black balls.
- Stool sticks to the colon walls and becomes hard much faster. It forms a thick layer along the walls of the colon, making it almost impossible to remove.