10 Home Remedies for Constipation
Constipation is when your bowel movements are difficult or/and are happening less than normal, this is not something unusual and just about everyone experiences this at one point or another. Although constipation isn’t something to worry about, it’s not something that you want to live with for any longer than you have to. Being regular and being constipated really differs from person to person.
For some people normal bowel movements are every morning, for some, it’s three times per day and for others, it can be just a few times per week. So how do we know that we’re experiencing constipation? Here are the most common signals and symptoms1:
* Not having any bowel movements for 3 days or longer
* Fewer bowel movements than usual
* Hard or small stool
* Feeling that not everything has come out
* Bloating of the belly
Although constipation doesn’t often happen to most people, there are some common reasons why people experience it:
* Not enough fiber in your diet
* Not enough hydration
* Eating too much dairy and dairy products
* Lack of physical activity
* Using laxatives too often
* Certain medications such as anti-depressants
* Eating disorders
It’s important to note that sometimes constipation can be a sign of something more serious. If you’re experiencing chronic constipation it’s a good idea to see a doctor immediately as that may be a sign of2:
* Problems with muscles and nerves in your digestive tract
* Colon cancer
* Neurological conditions
* Underactive thyroid
Although the majority of the time constipation is harmless, it’s a great feeling to get your body back on track. Here are 10 home remedies for constipation:
#1 – Proper Hydration Being dehydrated on a regular basis promotes constipation3. This is a good reason to drink the recommended daily amount of water, for men that is 3.7 quarts of water per day and for women it’s 2.7 quarts, or 15.5 cups and 11.5 cups respectively4.
Studies have shown that sparkling water may be more effective than still or tap water when it comes to helping relieve constipation, A good way to get started is to go to bed with a glass of water by your bed and drink it as soon as you get up in the morning. Getting hydrated as soon as you wake up is very important and is a great and healthy start to your day.
#2 – Fiber, Fiber and More Fiber Fiber as a relief for constipation is something almost every doctor will recommend. Increasing fiber in your diet helps increase the bulk and the consistency of your bowel movements and making it easier to pass. Getting the proper amount of fiber in your diet also helps everything move through your digestive system quicker5.
It’s important to note that both insoluble and soluble fibers work, but psyllium fiber is thought to be the most effective. In a 2020 study, psyllium was found to be 3.4 times more effective in relieving constipation than other types of fiber.
#3 – Get Moving There are many studies that state exercise helps when it comes to relieving the symptoms of constipation. A sedate lifestyle comes with an increased risk of constipation, not to mention many other health issues7.
Aerobic exercises such as running, cycling or swimming are great in getting the body moving, and to get your bowels going as well. It’s also important to note that exercise optimizes the function of your body and internal organs, minimizing the possibility of becoming constipated in the first place.
#4 – Drink Coffee Perhaps the most recommended laxative in the world, and perhaps the most enjoyable. Many people will tell you that after having the first coffee of the day they have to head to the bathroom immediately. Just the anecdotal evidence is enough to convince most people, but there are studies that show coffee works because it stimulates the muscles in your digestive system.
#5 – Probiotics and Gut Health A healthy gut isn’t only great for your immune system, overall health, and efficient mineral absorption, but can help relieve your constipation quickly as well. Probiotics are live bacteria found in yogurts and fermented foods and in your stomach. Probiotics are good bacteria that regulate everything going on in your digestive system9. Here are the most popular probiotic foods you can eat to help relieve your constipation and keep it at bay:
You can also find probiotic supplements at every pharmacy and drug store, but it’s a good idea to make probiotic foods a part of your regular diet. This will help keep your digestive system properly regulated and avoid episodes of constipation in the future.
#6 – Probiotic Foods Probiotic foods will help relieve your constipation, but prebiotic foods are also great. Prebiotics are a carbohydrate fiber which is not digestible by your body, but they help improve your digestive health. This works by feeding the good bacteria in the gut, as a result this helps boost probiotics and the balance of bacteria in the gut1. Some great prebiotic foods to eat are:
#7 – Keep a Regular Schedule Getting up and moving around at the same time every day goes a long way when to comes to preventing constipation. Also, going to the bathroom and sitting down on the toilet at the same time can help as well. Most people with regular bowel movements will tell you that they have a very steady morning routine.
#8 – Magnesium Getting enough magnesium in your diet can go a long way in relieving constipation, supplements also work great as well. Magnesium works as a sort of laxative, this means that it helps direct water into your digestive system which also helps soften your stool. Most foods that are high in magnesium are also high in fiber. Whole grains and dark leafy greens are a great source of both, and great for helping relieve your constipation.
#9 – Coconut Oil Eating a tablespoon or two of coconut oil every day can help ‘lubricate’ your intestines helping everything pass through with less effort. Eating a spoon full of coconut oil might not be your thing, but there are other ways you can ingest it as well which might be more appealing.
Adding a spoonful to your morning coffee or mixing it with some lemon and apple cider vinegar as a salad dressing works as well.
#10 – Abdominal Massage Massaging your abdomen may be a great remedy for constipation. Try lying on your back and press your abdomen with your fingers from one or both hands. Rotate in a clockwise motion for about 10 minutes and make sure not to press too hard. Doing this massage 2-3 times per day can be very effective as it helps push the stool in your colon in the direction of your rectum. Drinking some warm tea before the massage may help to further improve its effects12. Using these home remedies is a great and natural and way to relieve your constipation, without the need of reaching for pharmaceuticals. Constipation is usually your body giving you a signal that you need to make some lifestyle changes. Making these changes gives you a more permanent and functional solution, while medication only treats your symptoms.
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Constipation References and Constipation Information
* Science Direct (Scientific Study): https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/
* Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318694#fiber
* National Library of Medicine (Scientific Study): https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31764399/
* Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318694#exercise
* National Library of Medicine (Scientific Study): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5467063/
* National Library of Medicine (Scientific Study): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4288092/
* National Library of Medicine (Scientific Study): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6379309/
* Healthline Magazine: https://www.healthline.com/health/6-natural-remedies-constipation#magnesium
* Beth Israel Lahey Health (Review): https://www.bidmc.org/-/media/files/beth-israel-org/centers-and-departments/rehabilitation-services/otpt-pelvic-floor-abdominal-massage.pdf