The more you know about it, the less you worry about it. This is most certainly true for a taboo issue like digestion: It simply describes the processing of ingested food in the digestive tract and the excretion of unusable material. In humans. Digestion primarily takes place in the mouth, stomach, duodenum and small intestine. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are broken up with the help of digestive enzymes as part of the process. This results, among other things, in low-molecular sugar compounds, fatty acids and amino acids, which are partly converted into energy and partly used to modify and regenerate the body’s cell structures. The length of time needed to completely digest food, from eating to excretion, depends greatly on the individual, but the normal range varies from eight hours to three days.
Having difficulty in emptying the bowels or only being able to do so too infrequently (fewer than three times a week) is known as constipation (or obstipation). There are many possible causes: alongside pathological changes in the bowels, the main catalysts are high levels of fat and sugar in addition to a lack of fibre in the diet and a lack of liquids. A lack of exercise also makes constipation more likely to develop.
If you suffer from constipation, you’re in huge company. It is one of the most widespread disorders of the digestive tract throughout the world. Official figures show that 20% of all people suffer or have suffered from it at least once. However, because many people prefer not to discuss digestion problems and do not seek treatment, scientists assume the actual number is considerably higher.
If you’re worried about something or have a problem, talk to your family and friends about it and work out a solution. If you often find yourself under a lot of pressure, consider learning one or more relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga or autogenic training. And always remember: no work is more important than your health.