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Exercise relieves constipation

Regular exercise relieves constipation in people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Exercise relieves constipation

Regular exercise relieves constipation in people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder affecting up to 30 percent of the population. Symptoms may include chronic abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea, and constipation. Researchers from United Kingdom studied 56 adults (mostly women) with IBS for 12 weeks to examine the feasibility and effects of an exercise intervention upon quality of life and irritable bowel symptoms. The participants were randomly assigned to usual care (i.e. control group) or to an exercise programme, consisting of two 40 minutes one-on-one exercise consultations designed to provide exercise skills, knowledge, confidence and motivation, with an objective to give 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 days a week. The researchers chose this type of intervention because it has been found to boost exercise in other patient groups, and can be more easily integrated into current healthcare practice than supervised programmes. The study showed that the pragmatic exercise intervention led to a significant increase in the amount of exercise IBS patients engaged in, especially considering that people with IBS avoid participating in exercise because of their abdominal symptoms. After 12 weeks, the exercise group chalked up significantly more weekly exercise than the control group and they reported significant declines in symptoms of constipation. It was concluded that exercise is an effective way for people to manage their IBS symptoms, particularly constipation.
International Journal of Sports Medicine
September 2008
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