Most people won’t admit it, but the fact is that about 90% people are affected by constipation at some point in their lives. Of these, at least 60% are chronically constipated. Constipation is when your bowel becomes difficult to pass and the normal interval between passing stool increases noticeably.
Leading Causes of Constipation:
A number of health and lifestyle factors can cause constipation in both children and adults. Even babies are not spared by this “motion menace”. The causes may be so simple that you’ll wonder why you didn’t realize them before or so indirect that you’ll keep wondering where the connection lies.
Here are some common causes that can lead to constipation:
- Low intake of roughage or fibre
- Low intake of fluids
- Medications like codeine-based painkillers, antacids, iron supplements, antihistamines and antidepressants
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Lack of physical activity
- Health supplements
- Too many laxatives
- Dairy products
Symptoms of Constipation
Apart from not being able to pass stool, here are some other symptoms of constipation:
- Feeling of fullness
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Cramps in the lower abdomen
Constipation can make any healthy person feel ill-at-ease and unwell. It obviously makes you irritable and ill-tempered. Many commercial and home remedies are thankfully available to take care of constipation. From the list below, try one or some remedies. They are all time tested and you need to find out what works best for you.
Tips to Follow to Control Constipation:
Before you begin, consider these:
a. Personal schedule: Your sleep pattern and the time interval between meals must be straightened out. The circadian clock also rules your bowel movements.
b. Travelling: In case you travel a lot, you must maintain as regular an eating schedule as is possible. Don’t immediately delve into the local cuisine if you are already constipated.
c. Regularity: Holding back the urge to pass stool may lead to severe and chronic constipation.
Home Remedies for Constipation
Here Is a countdown to the top 10 remedies:
1. Water and Fibre:
A high intake of water goes a long way in keeping constipation at bay. Water makes the stool bulky and soft. It prevents the stool from becoming too compact and difficult to pass. Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day and also include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet as they are high in water content. Juices, milk and herbal teas also replenish the water content of the body. It’s no wonder that many people experience constipation during summers as the body loses water content in the form of perspiration.
Equally important is the fibre content in your daily diet. Concentrate on simple forms of fibre as opposed to complex carbohydrates. Use whole grains instead of fine flour and white bread; use brown rice instead of white, polished rice; introduce cereals in your diet, especially oats. Some fruits and veggies like broccoli, apricots, nuts, berries, apples, pears, potatoes and beans are also high in fibre content. Eat a varied diet that includes high fibre content in each meal. Also, improve your snacking habits by eliminating complex carbohydrates and fried foods. Instead, opt for salads, whole grain sandwiches and oatmeal cookies.
2. Beauty Is Skin Deep-But Aloe Vera Ain’t:
Aloe Vera juice is easily available in the market and has a long shelf life. You may even opt for pure juice taken directly from the plant.
If you opt for pure juice, make sure to halve the dosage on the commercial container as the pure juice is concentrated. Aloe Vera will not only expel the constipation from your life, it will also remedy any indigestion, acidity, mild ulcers and bloating very effectively. Moreover, no side-effects!
3. Baking Soda, another Natural Wonder:
A teaspoon of baking soda or soda bicarbonate taken in a glass of tepid water before or with meals is an excellent, affordable and inconspicuous way to be constipation free. It releases gas, reduces the acidity in the alimentary canal and removes bloating and that feeling of fullness. It is equally effective for children, adults and seniors as it has no side effects.
4. Oil Spill:
Natural oils are also a good way to remedy constipation. Two tablespoons of Olive oil taken on an empty stomach is the best remedy, especially for children. Unlike adults, children should not be given laxatives. Natural remedies work best for them. If you find it difficult to swallow oil, you may mix it with lemon juice or with a glass of warm milk. Castor Oil works amazingly well too. Again taken on an empty stomach, this oil will soften your stool and relieve the constipation within a few hours. Flaxseed oil is another time tested home remedy for constipated souls. It has a natural tendency to cover the intestinal walls and this makes it much easier for the stool to pass.
5. The Up-Side for Caffeine Addicts:
Coffee acts as a stimulant to the digestive system. Try switching to non-decaf for a while and see if it works for you. However, don’t overdo the use of coffee. Coffee is also a diuretic (promotes the loss of body fluids through urination)! Before you drink that third or fourth cup of coffee, know that the loss of body fluids will aggravate your constipation as water content in stool is what makes them soft and “easily excretable”.
6. Citrus Dash:
The Citric Acid in lemon acts as a detoxifying gastric stimulant. It not only encourages the alimentary canal to do its job to the end, but also removes unhealthy toxins and built up undigested material from the intestines. This is a good home remedy for constipation. Use the juice of one lemon in a glass of tepid water. Add a dash of honey to add to the taste. This remedy also works best if taken on an empty stomach.
7. The Wrinkly Fruits:
Prunes, dried figs, raisins and dates are all rich in fibre, making stool bulky and easy to pass. Prunes also contain Dihydroxyphenyl Isatin which accelerates colon functioning. Raisins contain Tartatic Acid which is a good laxative. These fruits also contain important vitamins and minerals and also have anti-oxidant properties.
8. Flex Those Muscles:
A sedentary lifestyle with little or no exercise tends to make one constipated over time. The problem will continue worsening if you don’t take the time to exercise. Take up any physical activity that will work up a good sweat and get lots of fresh air in your lungs. Running, walking, lawn tennis, gymming, aerobics, cardio drills, cycling are some outdoor activities to choose from. Intense physical activity will also make you take more fluids, which also goes a long way in treating constipation.
9. Natural Laxatives:
Often, constipation becomes so bad that your whole world seems focused on your bowel movements! Try one or more of these herbal laxatives that will not give you any side effects:
- Cascara Sagrada: A natural laxative found in most OTC laxatives. Its use leads to rapid relief as it helps in releasing stool very effectively by encouraging the liver, gall bladder and stomach to release digestive juices in larger quantities. However, its overuse can lead to mild or severe dehydration. Therefore, care must be taken to follow the usage instructions properly.
- Senna: It is the possibly the best natural cure for constipation. It works by mildly agitating the walls of the intestines. As a result, they pass stool along quicker and create more frequent bowel movements. Senna, taken in the form of an herbal tea may produce nausea in some people. You can consider adding ginger to the Senna tea to combat the nausea.
- Psyllium Husk: It adds a large amount of fibre to the digested material, which in turn traps a lot of water, hence making stool bulky and passable.
- Licorice: A mild laxative, it can be taken orally and gives great results. It encourages the wavelike contractions of the intestines that help to pass stool along the digestive tract easily. However, if it is found too mild, it may be used in combination with other herbal laxatives.
Caution: Licorice should not be taken in any form during pregnancy as it causes muscular contractions and might trigger premature labour!
10. Acupressure to Ace Pressure:
The acupressure point to press in this situation is located fourfingers above the wrist at the back of the arm. The point must be pressed regularly for 1-2 minutes per day. Acupressure is a much studied and practised pseudo-science, so don’t entirely discard the idea.
All these fast home remedies for constipation are time tested and are mostly safe from side effects. To be vexed with constipation in the long run is indeed uncomfortable and may produce other long term health issues like anal fissures and haemorrhoids, which in themselves are painful and difficult to treat. Constipation is also linked with the build-up of toxins in the body. It is necessary to nip the problem in the bud before it starts affecting all other areas of your life.
Apart from all remedies and cures, maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eating right, sleeping just enough and visiting the loo at the same time every day are healthy practices. As is with adults, children and infants may also be affected by constipation. Yet, it is necessary to consult a doctor before trying any of these home remedies on children and infants as their digestive system has not matured fully and might respond very differently to these remedies.
We hope the above remedies will bring you much relief from constipation. Do let us know your experience in the comment section below.