A new study published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia has found that people who experience constipation, defined as having a bowel movement only every three or more days, are more likely to experience cognitive decline later in life. The study analyzed data from over 1,000 people over the age of 65 and found that those who were constipated had lower scores on cognitive tests, such as memory and attention.
The researchers believe that there are several possible explanations for the link between constipation and cognitive decline. One possibility is that constipation can lead to inflammation, which can damage the brain. Another possibility is that constipation can disrupt the gut-brain axis, a communication pathway between the gut and the brain.
The study’s findings suggest that constipation may be a risk factor for cognitive decline. If you are experiencing constipation, it is important to talk to your doctor. There are several treatments available that can help relieve constipation and reduce your risk of cognitive decline.
Here are some tips for preventing constipation:
- Eat a high-fiber diet. This means eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fiber helps to keep your stool soft and easy to pass.
- Drink plenty of fluids. This means drinking at least eight glasses of water per day. Fluids help to keep your stool soft and prevent dehydration.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise helps to keep your digestive system healthy and can help to prevent constipation.
- Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge. Don’t wait too long to go to the bathroom, or you may become constipated.
- Avoid straining when you have a bowel movement. Straining can make constipation worse.
- If you are experiencing constipation, talk to your doctor about possible treatments. There are several medications and other treatments that can help to relieve constipation.
It is important to note that the study was observational, which means that it cannot prove that constipation causes cognitive decline. However, the findings are consistent with other research that has shown a link between inflammation and cognitive decline. The study did not look at the effects of short-term constipation, so it is possible that constipation only becomes a risk factor for cognitive decline if it is chronic.
There are several other factors that can contribute to cognitive decline, such as age, genetics, and lifestyle choices. If you are concerned about your risk of cognitive decline, talk to your doctor. There are several things you can do to reduce your risk, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress.