Constipation is an incredibly common problem.
- It is thought to affect about 20% of Americans, resulting in 8 million doctor visits per year
- This may be due to the foods you eat or avoid, lifestyle choices, medication, or illness.
- For most people, the cause of their chronic constipation is often unknown. This is known as chronic idiopathic constipation.
- It is characterized by less than three bowel movements per week.
- However, it can also include other unpleasant symptoms, such as discomfort when going to the bathroom, flatulence, and pain due to stool hardening, dryness, and difficulty passing.
- Unfortunately, constipation can have a serious negative impact on your quality of life, as well as your physical and mental health.
- There are many natural methods to help relieve constipation. You can do these in the comfort of your home and most of these are supported by science.
Drink More Water
- Being dehydrated regularly can cause constipation. To prevent this, it is important to drink enough water and stay hydrated always.
- When you get constipated, you can try to get relief by drinking some carbonated (sparkling) water to help you rehydrate and regain things.
- Some studies have found that sparkling water is more effective than tap water for relieving constipation. This includes people with chronic idiopathic constipation or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- However, do not start drinking more carbonated beverages like sweet soda, as they are a bad choice for your health and may make your constipation worse.
Eat More Fiber
People who are constipated are often asked to increase fiber intake. This is because increased fiber intake is believed to increase the bulk and stability of bulk movements, making them easier to pass.
Fiber supplements are readily available and effective in inducing bowel movements if a low fiber diet is the cause of your constipation. They work by adding bulk to your stool. It helps push feces out of your intestines and out of your body.
While many studies have found that exercise does not affect the number of times people go to the bathroom, it does reduce some symptoms of constipation
Light exercise, such as walking or walking, can encourage bowel movements by increasing blood flow throughout your stomach.
For some people, coffee can increase the desire to go to the bathroom. It is coffee stimulates the muscles in your digestive system
In fact, a study has found that caffeine-rich coffee can stimulate your stomach in the same way that a meal can. The effect is 60% stronger than drinking water and 23% stronger than drinking decaffeinated coffee.
Coffee may also contain small amounts of soluble fiber that help prevent constipation by improving the balance of your intestinal bacteria.
Take Senna, an Herbal Laxative
Herbal senna is commonly used to relieve constipation. It is available OTC or online and can be taken orally or rectally.
The army contains many plant compounds called glycosides, which stimulate the nerves in your intestine and speed up your bowel movements.
It is generally considered safe for adults to use the military for a short period of time, but you should consult your doctor if your symptoms do not go away after a few days.
The military is not generally recommended for those who are pregnant, breast-feeding or have some health condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease.
Eat Probiotic Foods
- Probiotics can help prevent chronic constipation.
- People who have chronic constipation have an imbalance of bacteria in their stomachs.
- It has been thought that probiotic foods can help improve this balance and prevent constipation.
- They can help treat constipation by producing lactic acid and short-chain fatty acids. They can improve bowel movements, which makes it easier to pass stool.
- A recent review found that probiotics treat functional constipation by increasing the frequency of bowel movements and improving stool stability.
- Try to include probiotic-rich foods to include probiotics in your diet. Examples include yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi, which contain living, friendly bacteria.
- Alternatively, you can try a probiotic supplement. It is generally recommended to be taken daily for at least 4 weeks to see if it has any beneficial effects.
- There are many types of enemas that you can try. Animas work by softening stools by excreting stools. Some common types of enemas include sodium phosphate (Fleet), soap, and tap water enemas. Learn about appropriate ways to administer the enema.
- Rectal suppositories also help to soften stool and encourage bowel movements. Try a glycerin or bisacodyl suppository, which you can find at your local pharmacy.
- Get in a squat position to defecate
- Next time you need to defecate, bring a small footstool to your bathroom. Keep your feet in front of the toilet while defecating — so your body is essentially in a sitting position — so you help pass stool without a stool.
- Prunes and prune juice are often avoided as nature’s remedy for constipation – and for good reason.
- In addition to fiber, prunes contain natural laxative sorbitol. It is a sugar alcohol which has a laxative effect
- Studies have shown that prunes can be more effective than fiber. If you are constipated, prunes may be the easiest natural solution available.
- The effective dose is considered to be about 50 grams (about 7 medium-sized pricks) twice a day.
- However, if you have IBS, you want to avoid prunes, as sugar alcohols are known as FODMAPs.