Constipation is passage of small amounts of hard, dry bowel movements, usually fewer than three times a week. It is often difficult and painful to have a bowel movement. Other symptoms of constipation include feeling bloated, uncomfortable, and sluggish.
Common causes of constipation are
- Not Enough Fiber in the Diet The most common cause of constipation is a diet low in fiber found in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and high in fats found in cheese, eggs, and meats. People who eat plenty of high-fiber foods are less likely to become constipated.
- Not Enough Liquids Liquids like water and juice add fluid to the colon and bulk to stools, making bowel movements softer and easier to pass. People who have problems with constipation should drink enough of these liquids every day, about eight 8-ounce glasses. Liquids that contain caffeine, like coffee and cola drinks, and alcohol have a dehydrating effect.
- Lack of Exercise
- Changes in Life or Routine Pregnancy and aging are commonly associated with constipation.
- Abuse of Laxatives Laxatives usually are not necessary and can be habit-forming. Regular use of enemas can also lead to a loss of normal bowel function.
- Ignoring the Urge to Have a Bowel Movement People who ignore the urge to have a bowel movement may eventually stop feeling the urge, which can lead to constipation.
Is there a home remedy for constipation? Although treatment depends on the cause, severity, and duration, in most cases dietary and lifestyle changes will help relieve symptoms of constipation and help prevent it.
- Diet. A diet with enough fiber (20 to 35 grams each day) helps form soft, bulky stool. High-fiber foods include beans, whole grains and bran cereals, fresh fruits, and vegetables such as asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and carrots. Limit foods that have little or no fiber, such as ice cream, cheese, meat, and processed foods.
- Lifestyle Changes. include drinking enough water and other liquids such as fruit and vegetable juices and clear soups, engaging in daily exercise, and reserving enough time to have a bowel movement.
- Exercise. The gastrointestinal tract is lined with muscles that contract and relax to move waste material along its length. Like any muscle, it will perform better when exercised. While you may not be away, regular, modest physical activity actually helps strengthen the muscles all over your body – including those in your digestive system. Get off the couch for 30 minutes of modest exercise at least three times a week.
- Recognize the urge to have a bowel movement. When you don’t respond to the urge, your body can easily absorb more water from the formed stool. That water is lost and allows the material to become too dry and difficult to pass. Very few things should sway you from responding to nature’s call.
- Use a Good Probiotic Every Day. Here’s the key to a constipation home remedy. Our bodies contain huge numbers of bacteria and most of them live in our digestive system. They are necessary for good digestion and intestinal health. It is not difficult to upset the balance in our digestive system; antibiotics, pesticides on foods, chemicals in our food, chlorine in the water can all upset our bacterial balance. We need to do everything we can to maintain good colonies of bacteria in our bodies. Eating well and avoiding contaminants can only do so much. We need to add more good bacteria to make up for the ones we lose every day.
There are hundreds of brands of probiotics on the market. Look for ones from reputable companies that provide at least 10 billion colony forming units per dose. Some probiotics are on the shelf in the store and others are in the refrigerator. Be sure to use a brand that requires refrigeration. Heat destroys bacteria. If the brand you buy is kept under refrigeration you can be assured that it is the freshest available. I’ve used a product called Florajen3 for many years and it is by far one of the best available.
When you’re just starting take one capsule twice daily, on an empty stomach; and use clean water without chlorine because chlorine kills bacteria (you may need to use bottled water). After a week, change to once a day.