home remedies for constipation

When constipation strikes, it demands attention. The discomfort of bloating and abdominal pressure resulting from an inability to pass stool can be distressing. The effort required when expelling hard stool can be really excruciating. Research has shown that about 16 out of 100 adults can get constipation in their lifetime[1].

However, while the idea of resolving constipation with a glass of water mixed with castor oil may sound unappealing, I should mention that there are more pleasing and equally effective remedies you could use at home for constipation.

What Causes Constipation

Some of the causes of constipation include;

  • Lack of exercise.
  • Lack of adequate fibre in meals.
  • Some medications.
  • Inadequate intake of fluids daily
  • Poor bowel habits, such as straining during long calls.
  • Some bowel diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome.

Signs You Are Having Constipation

The following symptoms may indicate you have constipation;

  • Having fewer bowel movements in a week(less than 3).
  • Having hard stool. May sometimes be lumpy and dry.
  • Finding it difficult to pass stool, causing you to strain.

These remedies for constipation are what I will be taking you through in this guide. Feel free to use the table of contents to jump to the specific part of the article you would want to read.

Remedies For Constipation At Home

For those in immediate need of constipation relief, over-the-counter medications, especially laxatives, can be a great place to start. Laxatives work on the gut, especially the large intestine, by causing water to be drawn from the body into the gut, softening the stool and making it easy to pass.

Here’s a guide to alleviate constipation and guide you to when it’s appropriate to seek medical advice from your medical practitioner:

Enhance Fiber Intake

fibre in fruits and vegetable is one of the remedies for constipation

Your diet should include ample fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which are crucial for warding off constipation.

These foods provide essential energy and furnish fibre, a vital nutrient facilitating the smooth movement of waste through the digestive tract, thereby promoting regular bowel movements. It is recommended that one should have at least 30grams of fibre in their diet, which is not the case in most meals we take

Rich sources of fibre aiding in constipation relief encompass vegetables such as squashes, broccoli, and spinach; fruits like kiwis, prunes, and apples; whole grains including quinoa and oatmeal; legumes such as lentils and chickpeas; and nuts like almonds and chia seeds.

Ensure Adequate Water Intake

In addition to dietary adjustments, taking at least eight glasses of water is paramount to deal with constipation and keep the body function as normal as possible. Drinking lots of water will help soften your poop, therefore making it easier to pass during a long call.

A practical hydration strategy includes carrying a water bottle for regular sips throughout the day. To increase water intake, ensure you incorporate water into meals. Fresh fruits and vegetables like cucumbers and watermelon have a high percentage of water and can also contribute to fluid intake.

Maintain Regular Exercise can relieve constipation.

Regular physical activity plays a role in preventing constipation. The general recommendation for adults is approximately 150 minutes of exercise per week. According to the Livestrong website, exercises like sit-ups also help in dealing with constipation as it senses the abdominal muscles, therefore encouraging normal bowel movements[2]

Consider OTC Laxatives

For immediate relief from constipation, over-the-counter laxatives offer various options. I particularly recommend osmotic laxatives such as Lactulose as a gentle initial choice. These laxatives draw water into the colon, softening stool and facilitating easier passage. While osmotic laxatives are generally well-tolerated due to limited absorption by the body, they may take two to three days.

For those seeking quicker relief, stimulant laxatives represent an alternative, inducing muscle contractions in the GI tract to expedite bowel movements. However, they come with potential side effects, including cramping and diarrhoea. Always ensure you consult with your doctor, especially those with other comorbidities.

Consult a Physician

If you experience persistent constipation, I would advice you to seek medical attention. Good indicators for a medical review include symptoms persisting beyond several weeks despite lifestyle modifications and OTC remedies.

While your physician may recommend dietary adjustments and over-the-counter medications as the first line of treatment, they may also prescribe other medications, such as antibiotics, if these measures prove ineffective.

Be particularly worried if sudden changes, such as blood in stool, severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or a family history of colon cancer, accompany your inability to pass stool. These symptoms raise concerns about underlying health conditions necessitating thorough assessment.

Other tests your doctor might perform include a full hemogram and a stool analysis. They may recommend a nutritional review so that your dietary activities may be reviewed, and you may be helped to devise a proper meal plan to help avoid such conditions in the future.

In conclusion, while constipation poses discomfort, adopting a holistic approach encompassing dietary modifications, hydration, physical activity, and the judicious use of medications can alleviate symptoms and promote digestive health. Persistent or alarming symptoms warrant medical consultation to ensure timely intervention and rule out severe underlying conditions.

I hope this article has been helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me by writing an email or leaving a comment in the comments section. I will try my best to answer every question you have.

Also, remember to subscribe to the blog so that you are the first to be notified when I upload more helpful content in the future.

By Henf Henf

Am Henfrey Wangulu, a Clinical Officer/Physician associate based in Kenya. I am a Tech and Health enthusiast and in my free time, I like Swimming, Art and socializing with other people

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