Everyone will experience constipation in their lives. Do you know that 63 million Americans are affected with constipation each year? The main reasons are the intake of unhealthy food, dehydration, lack of physical exercises and improper lifestyle habits.
However, there are many medications, herbs and natural remedies that claim to cure constipation but how do we know which one is the best method to get rid of constipation.
Most of the people want a quick fix with minimal work and taking laxatives to get relief from constipation. But do you know that they do more harm than good to our body? So, it’s best to stay away from laxative medications.
What to be avoided during Constipation?
You should avoid the intake of over the counter laxatives, high fiber content foods, intake of unhealthy foods, etc. Lets us know all about these things in detail.
Laxatives make the body lose all essential vitamins, water weight, electrolytes and other minerals in the colon (large intestine) and thereby causes some imbalances in the body. This will activate the threat and result in dangerous health issues like sudden confusion, severe muscle weakness, seizures, irregular heartbeats or chest pain.
There are mainly three types of laxatives used for treating constipation.
Osmotic Laxatives work by pulling the fluids into the intestine and thereby to flush out the hard stools to clear constipation. It results in certain side effects like diarrhea, dehydration, painful cramps, electrolyte imbalances, and bloating.
Bulk – Forming Laxatives make the small hard stools to increase in mass and thus makes it move easily from the colon, but it can also result in more blockages. It results in certain side effects like painful passage, fecal impaction, and anal bleeding due to the addition of more mass to already clogged stool.
Stimulant Laxatives will activate the unnatural spasms and contractions of the lining of the colon. It results in certain side effects like dehydration, diarrhea, bloating and painful cramping.
Although the long term usage will result in lazy bowel syndrome which in turn leads to depending on this laxatives to get rid of constipation and to have regular bowel movement.
Apart from constipation, fiber is another culprit for constipation. Most people think that intake of fiber will help for healthy digestion and thereby stool formation and regular bowel movement but too much intake of fiber can actually result in constipation, painful gas pains, and bloating.
So, fiber makes the stool tough and bulky. There are two types of fiber – dietary and functional (or isolated fiber). Dietary fibers found naturally in food and functional on are unnaturally extracted from plants. So, too much of functional fiber will cause strains, hemorrhoids, tears inside the intestinal tract, and anal bleeding. It’s always best to consume daily recommended fiber but not in overdosage.
Don’t worry, constipation is not a life threatening problem but the only thing is that it makes you feel uncomfortable and ruin your perfect good day. It prevents the body from getting rid of toxins, which in turn results in colorectal cancer or other gastrointestinal disorders.
Remember that everyone’s body works differently, so one remedy that works for you will not work for another. Let’s look at some remedies that help to treat constipation. Be sure that they should be used for 2 – 4 days but no longer than 2 weeks at a time.
Natural Home Remedies for Constipation:
Here are some home remedies for constipation that works naturally to get rid of the problem.
We all know that magnesium is an important electrolyte that is essential for proper functioning of the bones and body cells. It regulates the muscles, bowels, immune system, and heart rhythm. It exhibits some laxative effects that relax your intestinal muscles and attract water back into the colon.
Don’t use more magnesium than the recommended dosage (or use it as your daily bowel regulator) why because the abundance of the electrolyte can cause some serious disruptions in the body. Mostly the magnesium interferes with certain medications like chemo drugs, diuretics, calcium drugs, and antibiotics. Also, people suffering from kidney problems should avoid taking these supplements, as it is excreted through the kidneys.
Method to use Magnesium for Constipation:
Consume a magnesium supplement of 300 – 400 milligrams daily at night before bedtime with water and have a nice sleep to have a bowel movement by the morning time. Make sure to consult your doctor before taking this magnesium supplement.
Suggestions for Best Relief:
Oils such as virgin coconut oil, castor oil, extra virgin olive oil or almond oil can be widely used to treat constipation. These oils help to lubricate the digestive tract and thus make a smooth passage of stool through the colon due to its texture and consistency.
They also provide essential nutrients, antioxidants, and omega – 3 fatty acids that aids in proper digestion, stimulate the gallbladder to release bile and thereby regular bowel movements. Try to take pure organic oils rather than oils which have a mix of pesticides, artificial agents, chemicals and fillers of other cheaper oils.
Method to use Oils for Constipation:
Consume 1 – 2 teaspoons of the oil for once or twice daily. You can drink it on an empty stomach either by mixing it with water, coffee, juice, smoothies or sprinkled over salads. Also, mix oil in the flaxseeds but not take flaxseed oil because it doesn’t have high amounts of dietary fibers (as seeds have).
If you have a sensitive stomach then try not to use this oil on an empty stomach, as it results in slight stomach pain, queasiness. For treating constipation (or gas pains) in babies, you can mix 2 teaspoons of coconut oil with homemade formula and feed them to get rid of the problem.
Suggestions for Best Relief:
Probiotics help to clear constipation naturally due to its rich content of intestinal flora (good bacteria). This good bacteria helps to keep the stool loose and retains moisture in the intestine. In many times, we wipe out good bacteria accidentally by taking antibiotics, diarrhea, surgeries, colon cleanses, too much intake of fiber, protein deficiency, etc.
Intake of commercial yogurts will not be a good substitute for probiotics, as they undergo high – heat sterilization process during their manufacturing to get longer shelf life and thereby the active bacteria will be lost by the time we eat it. Probiotics are a safe remedy for treating constipation in pregnant ladies.
Before taking any probiotic supplements, you have to test them for live bacteria.
Testing Probiotic Pills – Toss 1/2 cup of milk in a container and pour the contents of 2 – 3 pills into the milk. Stir well and wait for overnight (8 – 10 hours). The live bacteria in the pills will make the milk to form as curdles or clumps.
Testing Yogurt – pour 1 part of yogurt and 2 parts of milk in a container. Wait for overnight (or 8 – 10 hours). The live bacteria in the yogurt should cause the content to grow and multiply in quantity.
Suggestions for Best Results:
4. Organic Blackstrap Molasses:
Molasses has low sugar content and high nutritional value along with high doses of potassium and magnesium, which are essential to fight against constipation. It hardens the poop by drawing fluids into the bowels and thus moistens the hard stool.
It is alkaline in nature that makes the intestine to form stools by regulating digestion. It has other essential nutrients iron, manganese (regulate the nervous system), copper (clears cancer-causing free radicals), calcium (remove waste and toxins from the colon), and vitamin B6 that relieves you from constipation.
Method to use Blackstrap Molasses for Constipation:
Consume 1 – 2 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses directly or mixed with warm water, juice, organic ACV or simply use it as your sweetener for food. Always use organic molasses to get best results. Continue the intake of this remedy for few weeks at a time.
For treating constipation (or gas pains) in babies, then mix 1 teaspoon of molasses in 1 ounce of cooled boiled water and feed them 3 times a day (prefer right before regular feedings).
Suggestions for Best Relief:
5. Water to Flush the System:
Drinking 2 full glasses of water as soon as you wake on empty stomach will help to stimulate the bowel movement. There should be a gap of 20 – 30 minutes to take your breakfast after drinking water. While we are asleep, everything will slow down and water is the only thing that stirs up and enhances your sleepy bowels.
Also, remember that the intake of too much water will result in dehydration and constipation with a simple logic that the more water we drink the more of essential nutrients (like calcium, potassium, magnesium, etc.) will be flushed away with the urine.
So, drink enough water to prevent the imbalance of electrolytes in the body and thereby it causes digestive disorders, dehydration, and constipation. It is shown in some study conducted in Japan that constipation is not caused due to low water intake or fiber intake but it associated with low intake of water from foods and low magnesium intake.
The Acupuncture/massage is a Traditional Chinese Medicine’s (TCM) effective technique recommended for treating constipation. In general, the blockage is caused by the reduction in the flow of Qi, excess hot or excess cold in the body.
Qi (vital energy) is influenced by two life forces – Ying and Yang. Whenever these forces are blocked or interrupted, then it affects the overall health. So, consult a reputable acupuncturist or masseuse and ask them for a specialized treatment for proper digestion and constipation.
7. Never Delay When Nature Calls:
Never ever delays or hold the stool in the colon. If you have the urge to go to the bathroom then simply go and clear the problem. If you hold it then the fluids from the stool are reabsorbed by the colon and make it hard to pass after a time.
If you’re in a position that not having any access to go bathroom throughout the day, then it’s better to train your body to have a bowel movement at the same time every day like having your bowel movement daily at the beginning or end of the day.
The position also helps to enhance your bowel movements. However, the invention of modern flush toilets is new and causes more strain to poop. Most of the experts are saying that squatting reduces the strain, anal fistulas, constipation, and hemorrhoids, as squatting opens up the puborectalis muscle and thus allows for complete emptying of your bowel movement.
Place a stepping stool under each of the foot while sitting on the toilet. Then prop your legs up as high as possible to mimic a squatting position. You can also try using a squatty potty to make most natural and comfortable squatting position.
These squatty pottys comes in different heights that range from beginners – level squatter to a more experienced squatter, which is placed underneath the toilet seat and out of the way.
Constipation can be a sign that something is not running right and it is an underlying warning to the bigger issue. It is not fixed overnight but with these natural remedies, you will definitely felt happy for regular bowel movements in a few days.