Constipation is painful, uncomfortable, frustrating and adds anxiety to your everyday routine. For some people, constipation is a one-off issue that comes up once in a long while. For others though, it’s a chronic problem that can make visiting the bathroom a deeply stressful experience.
There are numerous possible causes of constipation. These include pelvic muscle dysfunction, irritable bowel syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, hypothyroidism, diabetes, rectal or colon cancer, a sedentary lifestyle, an unbalanced diet or a side effect of medication. The right solution to your constipation will depend on the root cause.
Therefore, medication including those from pharmaceutical companies independently reviewed by reputable consultancy firms such as EMMAInternational.com shouldn’t be your first solution. The following home remedies can help treat and prevent constipation if the root cause is lifestyle and dietary indiscretions.
Olive oil, especially of the pure kind, is more than just a tasty healthy fat. It does relieve constipation thanks to its consistency and texture. Olive oil stimulates the digestive tract and triggers bowel movement.
For best results, take two teaspoons of olive oil in the morning. Preferably, you should do so on an empty stomach. In case you forget to take it in the morning, schedule if for later in the day when you haven’t had a meal for several hours. Not everyone will be comfortable taking olive oil on its own in which case mixing it with some lemon juice could help.
Drink Enough Water
The longer the period between your bowel movements, the higher the amount of water your colon extracts from your stool. Also, the colon responds to dehydration signals from the body so if you aren’t drinking as much water as you should, you are likely to experience dry hard stool. How much water is enough? Experts recommend at least two liters per day for women and 3 liters for men.
That said, the amount of water required will vary depending on how much water loss you experience per day. People in physically demanding occupations will need more water than the average person. Note that you shouldn’t drink it all at once since most of it will simply be excreted by the body through urine. Instead space it throughout the day to maximize absorption.
More Fiber in Your Diet
Ensure your diet comprises anywhere between 20 and 35 grams of fiber each day to relieve and prevent constipation. Foods rich in fiber include vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, seeds and nuts. Fiber increases bulk and continuity in your stool thus ensuring its smooth flow through the digestive tract.
For example, you could add four teaspoons of chia seeds and a dozen raspberries to your morning oatmeal. For dinner, chickpea pasta would be a great accompaniment to your ground turkey in sautéed spinach, onion and mushrooms.
A sedentary lifestyle is a potential cause of constipation especially in older persons. Add to that the risk of developing hemorrhoids and a visit to the washroom can be excruciating. Often the constipation is as a result of weak muscles that do not adequately support the colon when one is seated.
Regular exercise won’t always prevent or resolve constipation but research has shown it will ease it. One study divided middle-aged participants afflicted by constipation into two groups. One group was taken through dietary changes while the other participated in a 12-week fitness program.
At the end of the experiment, the exercise group had better bowel movement and fewer incidents of constipation.
Stress either causes or exacerbates a myriad of health conditions. Constipation is no exception. More specifically, stress is a trigger for irritable bowel syndrome which can in turn lead to constipation. Using therapy and relaxation techniques to minimize anxiety and stress in your life may eventually be good for your gut.
After all, the colon is controlled by the central nervous system (CNS). Anything that negatively affects the CNS such as stress can impair the colon’s efficient function. Relaxation could take various forms including enrolling for yoga classes, going for an evening drink or travelling to a place you haven’t been before.
If left untreated, constipation can be a cause for distress and in the worst case lead to significant harm to the digestive tract. If you don’t see any positive changes despite applying these home remedies, get in touch with your doctor.