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Dietary Treatment for Slow-Transit Constipation

Constipation is characterized by having fewer than three bowel movements a week, although it can affect people differently.

Slow-transit constipation is a variant condition in which enteric nerves within the colon have abnormalities that leads to impaired function. An article from “Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery” published in 2008 reports that this condition causes the person suffering from this condition to have less than three bowel movement each week. A fiber-rich diet is the recommendation to treat this extreme constipation, but a doctor should be consulted before any major dietary changes are made.Dietary Treatment for Slow-Transit Constipation

Fiber Amounts

Dr. Frattini and Juan Nogueras of the Cleveland Clinic in Florida state that the fiber recommendation for slow-transit constipation is 25g – 30g each day, although the exact amounts will depend on age and gender.

Women under 50 years of age need 25g of fiber; women over 50 years old need 21g. Men under 50 years of age need 38g of fiber; men 50 years and older need 30g.

Increasing fiber should be gradual over several weeks to allow the body to adjust to the dietary changes. Failure to do so could result in severe gastrointestinal discomfort.

Quality Fiber Sources

Fiber can be found in all natural produce, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes.

Here are some foods containing around 4g per serving:

  • Lentils
  • Kidney beans
  • Cereals
  • Raspberries
  • Hubbard squash
  • Artichoke

Foods containing around 1g – 3g per serving:

  • Whole-grain bread
  • Apples
  • Dietary Treatment for Slow-Transit ConstipationCherries
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Carrots
  • Plums
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts

Fiber and Fluid Intake

Fiber will absorb lots of moisture in the colon so consuming plenty of water is critical.Without sufficient water intake, the body will become dehydrated and won’t be able to give the fiber the water it needs to digest optimally. If this happens the fibrous feces will dry out and may make constipation symptoms even worse.

Dietary Treatment for Slow-Transit ConstipationThe amount of water needed is based on several factors, including gender, age, climate, and activity levels. A general rule is to drink at least eight 8oz glasses of fluid each day. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach People state that individuals diagnosed with slow-transit constipation may need to double that amount, consuming a massive sixteen 8oz glasses each day.

Other acceptable fluid choices include unsweetened teas, coffee, 100% fruit juices, and reduced-sodium broth. Some vegetables and fruits,  such as cucumbers and watermelon, contain high levels of water and can help with hydration as well, but these do not count towards needed fluid amounts.

Add Fibrous Foods

There are several fibrous foods that can be added throughout the day to promote  healthy digestion.

Eating fiber at breakfast is important to get your digestion moving early in the day. Choose whole grain cereals and breads paired with fresh fruit to start your day. Keep digestion moving along by including fiber-rich foods at lunchtime. A fresh salad and some soup with beans will do the trick. Finish the day strong by including steamed vegetables and whole grain rice with dinner. Getting additional fiber is easy with snacks comprised of berries, dried fruit, and popcorn.

Together these fiber-rich food choices will help people with slow-transit constipation consume more than enough soluble and insoluble fibers to get their digestive health back on track.

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*The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the Editor. Results may vary from person to person and cannot be guaranteed.

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