A healthy diet, including adequate fibre and fluid intake, is important to a healthy digestive system. The importance of bowel flora (good bacteria) and keeping physically active is also discussed.
Good fibre intake is essential for a well-functioning digestive system. A lack of fibre is one of the main causes of gut issues. Most Australian adults don't get the recommended intake of 30 grams of fibre per day.
Fibre is classified as:
Both are necessary for a healthy digestive system. More information on fibre and recipes to help you increase your daily fibre can be found in healthy living.
Fluids help to keep you hydrated if you have diarrhoea and help prevent constipation.
|Fluids||Drink 6-8 glasses of fluids per day (more if the weather is hot or if you are exercising), because not drinking enough fluids makes faeces (also called stools) hard, dry and difficult to pass, which increases the strain on the pelvic floor muscles.|
|Caffeine and alcohol||Cut down on caffeinated drinks, carbonated beverages and alcohol.|
The gut contains billions of good bacteria called bowel flora. Some of these bacteria may be destroyed by repeated antibiotic use, long-term oral contraceptive pill use, stress and poor diet. Yoghurt containing live cultures can help replenish these good bacteria. Some women may need a prescription for a supplement to help with replenishment of good gut bacteria.
To help keep the bowel regular and strengthen pelvic muscles, regular physical activity is vital. It is important for women to:
If you smoke, the chronic coughing associated with smoking can weaken your pelvic floor – for help to quit, call the Quitline on 13 7848 or visit quit.org.au.
This web page is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your health practitioner. The information above is based on current medical knowledge, evidence and practice as at August 2018.