Have you ever experienced this situation: your stool is dry and hard, or lumpy. There is also a feeling of difficulty or pain when passing stools. If so, you are probably suffering from constipation.
Constipation is a condition where the body has difficulty or cannot push the stool out of the colon. Normally, the body’s digestive system breaks down food, absorbs the water and nutrients in it, and then removes food residues into feces. However, when the digestive system is dysfunctional, the stool will become very dry and cannot be discharged smoothly, then constipation will occur.
According to the research, about 20% of Americans suffer from constipation, and about 8 million people go to the hospital for help every year. Fortunately, there are some natural remedies to help relieve constipation. These methods are very effective for mild symptoms. But if it is a serious situation, please seek medical help as soon as possible.
Symptoms of Constipation
If you are suffering from constipation, you will know immediately because you are unable to pass stools. But if in case you are still not sure about the symptoms that you are experiencing, here are some of the common symptoms of constipation:
- The number of bowel movements per week is less than 3 times, or even once a week.
- The stool is hard, dry, and clumpy.
- Passing stools can be difficult.
- The stools are painful to pass.
- You feel like you still have not fully emptied your bowels even after you have passed stools.
Common Causes of Constipation
The main reason for chronic constipation is that food residues move too slowly in the digestive tract. It cannot be effectively removed from the rectum, which can cause the stool to become dry and hard. In addition, there are some other conditions that can cause constipation. These problems may include:
- Insufficient fiber or water intake
- Take some medicines such as painkillers, anesthetics, laxatives, etc.
- Taking antacids containing calcium or aluminum
- Colon or rectum obstruction
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Colon cancer or rectal cancer
- Nervous system diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease
- Pelvic muscle weakness
- Diabetes or Hypothyroidism
- Damage to the nerves that control body functions such as spinal cord injury
- Hormonal changes in the body such as pregnancy
Two Types of Constipation
A lot of people become surprised to know that there are two types of constipation as following:
- Organic Constipation – This is not a common type of constipation. If your constipation suddenly occurs, you need to go to the doctor immediately so that the primary cause can be determined.
- Functional Constipation – This is the type of constipation that occurs because of unhealthy lifestyle choices and your high-stress levels.
Do You Need to Take Laxatives to Get Unconstipated?
For some people, getting constipated is not a cause of concern because they can always use laxatives to get rid of constipation.
However, many studies have shown that using laxatives all the time will make people more dependent on them. There might even come a time when they cannot pass stools anymore unless they take laxatives.
As the time of taking laxatives gets longer, the dosage often needs to be increased. This will make you more dependent on laxatives. In addition, taking laxatives for a long time can cause many side effects and cause harm to the body. So if you plan to take some laxatives, please consult your doctor first.
12 Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Constipation Fast
Now you know the symptoms and common causes of constipation. Let’s introduce 12 natural remedies to get rid of constipation fast, and most of them are approved by science.
1. Start drinking more water
How many glasses of water do you take every day? Some people can only live in one glass of water, and this can be one of the main causes of constipation.
It is essential that you drink enough water every day so that you can stay hydrated. This will not only be good for your illness, but this can also be good for your skin as you can efficiently get rid of impurities and other toxins.
- If in case the drinking water is not doing its magic on you anymore, you can try drinking sparkling water. They can be very useful too.
- Avoid drinking carbonated drinks because they are full of sugar.
- Beware of liquid calories. They may be absorbed faster by the body.
2. Start exercising more
Some people say that exercising cannot cause bowel movements to improve but it may help your body digest food faster. So if your problem is in the digestion of your food, this can still help.
How many minutes do you spend doing physical activities? If you do not exercise regularly, then you have to make some changes now. Doing just a few minutes of exercise every day can already make a lot of difference.
- If you are feeling constipated, you can try walking even for just 5 – 10 minutes. It will make a huge difference.
- It may help reduce the symptoms of constipation, and this can be effective in making you feel comfortable.
3. Include probiotics in your diet
If you are having issues with chronic constipation, the intake of probiotics can change your bowel movements significantly. Some people are suffering from chronic constipation who can cure their conditions immediately by balancing the number of bacteria found in their gut.
According to some studies, probiotics can be very useful in increasing bowel movements. This can be a good sign for people who can barely pass stools every week.
- Get to know probiotic – filled food such as yogurt and kimchi.
- If in case you are not fond of the food products mentioned above, you may take a probiotic supplement.
- Supplements may not work immediately; it may take about four weeks before you start to see your desired results.
4. Try the FODMAP diet
Changing your diet may have favorable effects on your health. For helping you get relief from the symptoms of constipation, you can use the FODMAP diet. This is a type of food that is effective in treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome which usually goes hand in hand with constipation or diarrhea.
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. If IBS is causing your constipation, take note of these details:
- You need to get rid of all of the food products that fall under the FODMAP; then you are going to incorporate them slowly back into your diet.
- When you start experiencing constipation based on the food that you have taken, you will know which food products you can tolerate and which ones you cannot.
5. Consume more prunes
You have already heard people say that if you are suffering from constipation, you can take prune juice or eat more prunes to get rid of constipation. There are different reasons for this.
First of all, prunes contain fiber which can make it effective in getting rid of the excess toxins from the body. Another reason is it contains sorbitol. This is a natural laxative that can cause the body to expel stools faster.
- You can eat about seven medium-sized prunes. This can be enough to help fight against your constipation.
- If you have IBS, you may not be recommended to take prunes as this can cause problems.
6. Consume more fiber
You should increase your fiber intake. This will make it easier to bulk up the stools and make them easier to pass. Some people are suffering from chronic constipation who have noticed that they are not suffering from constipation as much as before.
- Take note that while increasing fiber can be useful for most people who are suffering from chronic constipation, there are some who may experience worsening symptoms because of it.
- It will depend on the type of fiber that you are going to consume.
- Know the difference between soluble and insoluble fibers so that you can choose the one that will work best for you. Soluble fibers can bulk up your stools while insoluble fibers can soften up your stools. You can select the type of fiber you need depending on your current condition.
7. Drink more coffee
It is time to stop drinking decaf for now because you need caffeine to make it easier for you to pass stools. Coffee can help the digestive system become stimulated, so it will be able to help easily pass stools. While decaf coffee can still promote bowel movements, caffeinated coffee is still better.
- Coffee can also be useful in improving some soluble fibers inside the body.
- Coffee can also help balance some bacteria found in the gut.
- Take two cups of coffee a day. Make sure that you will not go overboard because drinking too much coffee can cause other health problems.
8. Magnesium Citrate
Are you familiar with what magnesium citrate is? This is a type of natural laxative that can help fight constipation. This can be bought over the counter, and you will be quite satisfied with the results that it can provide.
- Just take the required amount of magnesium citrate.
- Do not take too much because it may empty out your bowels completely – something that only needs to be done when you are prepping for surgery.
9. Avoid Dairy
Dairy is sometimes one of the main causes of constipation. If you are lactose intolerant, there are two things that you may experience. First is you may experience diarrhea.
In some cases, you may suffer from constipation. Take note if you usually experience constipation after consuming anything that contains dairy. This will help you avoid other food products in the long run.
- If you suspect that dairy is the main problem, you can avoid eating various dairy products.
- You can get calcium from other food products instead of eating dairy, or you may also take supplements that will ensure that you get the right amount of calcium every day.
10. Herbal Laxatives
If in case you are suffering from severe constipation, you need to take herbal laxatives at the soonest possible time. You need to know the different senna laxatives that you can take.
Some may be mild, but others are so strong that you would be in the bathroom for a long time trying to get relief from your bowel movement. It is best to choose mild laxatives over strong ones so you can only get the benefits and you will not become dependent on laxatives just to have a bowel movement.
- You will know if your constipation is severe if you are already feeling pain near your lower abdomen.
11. Olive Leaves
When you are feeling any discomfort due to constipation, you can help get rid of the symptoms with the use of olive leaves. This works because it contains oleuropein.
This can be effective in making your bowel movements more regular than usual. At the same time, olive leaves are also useful in getting rid of the toxins that may be causing your digestive problems.
- You can boil some olive leaves for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the olive leaves from the water and allow it to cool down for a while.
- Sip the tea from the olive leaves slowly.
- You will feel the need for a bowel movement soon after.
12. Flax Seeds
You have always known that flax seeds are good for the health and now that you are suffering from constipation, this is one of the items that you should use. This can work well for you if you are suffering from mild to moderate constipation.
- You can just add a teaspoon of flax seeds to the food that you normally consume like your cereal, oatmeal and so much more.
- Do not forget to add it to your smoothies and shakes too.
- One thing to remember is to always grind the flax seeds before you use them to get their full effect.
With all of the remedies that you can do to effectively get rid of constipation, you do not have to undergo any discomfort again.