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Constipation can wreak havoc on your body once you get it. Your lifestyle habits along with a lot of other factors affect your bowel movements and patterns. While you can’t specify the number of times a person should hit the bathroom, going less than three or four times a week leads to constipation.
It is a very painful and straining time on the toilet for people with constipation. They form irregular, hard, and dry bowels that are hard to pass.
There are a lot of reasons for constipation. It can simply be due to dehydration or eating junk foods. Or in more severe cases, stress, hormonal imbalance, neurological conditions, muscle inactivity, and cancers can lead to constipation, thus affecting the digestive tract. However, when nothing tend to work right, taking home remedy for constipation into consideration can help.
Who suffers from constipation?
If you are having trouble passing bowels for at least thrice a week, then you’re suffering from constipation. But everyone has different bowel frequencies and it depends on various factors. Some people discharge bowels repeatedly during the day while some people can do it only once or twice a week. Your bowel movement system is distinctive and normal for you only if you stick to your system regularly.
Constipation affects more people than you can think. More than a million people consult doctors each year for their constipation.
It is not restricted to any age. Anyone can suffer from periodic spells of constipation. Some people even suffer from constant constipation which is called chronic constipation.
Those who suffer from constipation include:
- Old people. They are less active, have low energy, metabolism, and muscle capability as well as digestive tract defects.
- Women, especially during pregnancy and after childbirth. The period of pregnancy causes a lot of changes in a woman’s hormones making them susceptible to constipation. The passage of stool is slowed down by the baby who pressurizes the intestines.
- People who don’t eat enough fibrous foods. Foods rich in fiber enable the bowels to move quickly through the digestive tracts.
- People who are under some specific medications.
- People who suffer from specific neurological and digestive disorders.
How does constipation occur?
Constipation is caused when your colon soaks up too much water from your stool resulting in dried waste making it hard in structure and tough to pass through the intestines.
Nutrients are absorbed step by step as the food moves through the digestive tract. The waste is the half-digested food that passes from the small intestine to the large intestine (colon). The stool is the rigid matter which is formed as the colon absorbs water from the waste. Constipation makes it difficult for the food to move through the digestive tract and that is when the colon gets the freedom to absorb too much water from the stool. It is difficult to discharge your bowels now as they have become hard and dry.
Can constipation affect your internal organs or cause other health issues?
Yes. Constipation can affect your internal organs and cause other health issues.
Here is a list of health problems it can cause in your body:
- Hemorrhoids, especially in your rectum.
- A small tear in the lining of your anus is called an anal fissure. It happens because of passing large or hard stools.
- Diverticulitis: an inflammation in the small pouches of the digestive tract happening from hardened stool that gets stuck and infected.
- Fecal impaction: hardened stool that’s stuck in the rectum or lower colon. It affects people who have suffered from constipation for a long time.
- Urinary incontinence: constipation damages those muscles that help control your bladder due to which you may lose the ability to regulate the leak of your urine.
What are the symptoms of constipation?
Constipation has symptoms like:
- Few bowel movements
- Dry, hard stools
- Bowel movements are tough and painful
- Getting a bellyache
- Feeling bloated and the need to vomit
- You always feel that your stomach hasn’t emptied after passing bowels
Lifestyle habits that cause constipation
If you are suffering from constipation, it is probably because of some unhealthy lifestyle habits. An unhealthy diet and lack of physical movement are mostly responsible for constipation. If you are too physically inactive and eat too much fast food, then there is a chance that constipation might target your digestive system. Here are some of the lifestyle habits that cause constipation:
- You spend a lot of time sitting and there is little movement in your body
This is one of the primary reasons for constipation. You need to exercise every day and get some movement in your body. Most of the time, people suffer from constipation because they can’t move due to their health issues.
To keep constipation at bay, you need to exercise regularly. Even if it’s a 10 minutes walk or jog, it will help.
- You don’t have enough fiber in your diet
Fiber should form an important part of your diet if you want a remedy for constipation. The more the fiber, the more hydrated your intestines are. That is how your bowel movements become smooth and easier. But following a diet with very less or no fiber will make you constipated.
- You eat too many dairy products
Dairy products can cause constipation, especially in toddlers. Cheese and milk might block your bowel movements but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on them. You just need to consume less.
- You don’t drink enough water
Water helps in the movement of your bowels in the intestines. But don’t get intimidated by the idea of drinking a specific amount of water every day. Just keep a water bottle with you and keep reminding yourself to drink all day. Stay away from caffeine drinks and soft drinks. They might hydrate you but they will make you constipated.
- You hold back your bowels
If you feel the urge to excrete, go to the bathroom immediately. If you hold it back, you might lose the feeling and eventually end up not passing the stool that day. This can lead to constipation. Forget how busy you are or whatever the situation is, always use the toilet if you get an urge.
- You don’t train your bowels
If you don’t have a specific time or routine, it might be tough for you to pass your stools. The more it is inside your body, the harder it is to push it out.
Try going to the bathroom every day at the same time. Try to pass your bowels at a specific time of the day. It will help you get regular bowel movements. When you eat, your colon finds it easy to move the waste. So, try sitting every day for a few minutes after breakfast. But don’t pressurize yourself too much.
- You take medicines that are for other conditions
If you take medicines like antacids, narcotics, antidepressants, and for high blood pressure, you are most likely to suffer from constipation. You don’t have to stop taking them but you can try talking to your doctor. Meanwhile, try other home remedies to cure constipation.
- You overuse laxatives
Laxatives will give you temporary relief from constipation. If you start to get dependent on them or consume too much, your bowels will no longer pass with ease. Your constipation might even get worse if you use them for a prolonged time.
Before going for laxatives, try home remedies like drinking plenty of water and eating foods rich in fiber. If they don’t work, you can reach out to your doctor.
- You are intaking alcohol or caffeine daily
Consuming too much alcohol can cause acute dehydration and lead to constipation since the intestines can’t absorb water from the stools. Lack of water makes it harder for the intestines to pass the stools. This is why if you drink alcohol, you should also drink lots of water to bring about balanced hydration in your body.
- You eat too much junk food
If you eat junk food frequently, you are prone to constipation. This is because junk food or fast foods are rich in fat and lack fiber.
Home Remedy for Constipation:
If you have suffered from constipation, you already know how difficult and uncomfortable it feels. There is a home remedy for constipation which might make it easier to get rid of the condition. All you need to do is bring a few changes to your lifestyle.
- Always stay hydrated. Drink lots of water
Constipation is mostly caused by dehydration. So, you need to stay hydrated all the time. Among many other home remedies for constipation, this is the simplest one. While reminding yourself to drink water might be difficult due to your busy schedule, it is the most natural and cost-effective home remedy for constipation.
- Eat more fibrous food
Eating more fibrous food is another effective home remedy for constipation besides staying hydrated. Fiber makes your bowels more bulky, regular, and even, making them smoother to pass through the intestines. Foods rich in fiber such as fruits, vegetables, pulses, and seeds prove to be a great home remedy for constipation.
- Try out kiwis
One kiwi has about 2.3 grams of fiber. It is rich in fiber and if consumed regularly, can be a solid home remedy for constipation.
Kiwi has more wonders than you might think! They are high in both soluble and insoluble fibers which act simultaneously. It shows a natural laxative behavior because of an enzyme called actinidin which increases bowel frequency.
- Ghee with milk
Ghee and milk have proven beneficial for our bodies for ages. They are a great home remedy for constipation. You can make some hot milk and mix 1 or 2 teaspoons of ghee in it. It is most useful if you consume it before going to bed. Ghee with milk is the most functional and natural home remedy for constipation.
- Lime water
You can squeeze a lemon into a glass of water and drink it every morning on an empty stomach. Lemons are rich in citric acid which helps in the healthy metabolism of your digestive system and also relieves you of the toxins in your body.
Moreover, it is a very beneficial home remedy for constipation. You can also make lemon tea and drink it from time to time. It is a perfect home remedy for constipation. It also helps in effective digestion.
- Citrus fruits
If you want a refreshing, soothing snack that is also rich in fiber, go for citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines. They are a great home remedy for constipation.
Citrus fruits have high contents of the soluble fiber pectin. Their peels are especially beneficial. Consuming these fruits will prove to be an easier home remedy for constipation.
Moreover, citrus fruits contain naringenin, a flavanol that brings about a change in your metabolism and paves the way to relief from constipation.
So if you want to enjoy a refreshing taste whilst getting the most out of fiber and vitamin C, consider eating citrus fruits. Sweet lime, oranges, mandarins, clementine are quick and rejuvenating snacks while grapefruit and tangerine can be had with salad or split for breakfast.
- Ginger tea
Yes, your favorite ginger tea is also proven to be a perfect home remedy for constipation. Ginger has been known as a herb that keeps the insides of your body warm. The hot tea water along with the ginger improves digestion and is an ideal home remedy for constipation.
- Hot porridge cooked in water or milk (Dalia)
Hot porridge cooked in water or milk is rich in protein and other important nutrients that help in relieving constipation. It is a great source of vitamins and magnesium.
Magnesium is a significant addition to your diet that makes it a natural home remedy for constipation. Since constipation is a common problem amongst aging people, Dalia should be included in their diet. It has proven to be an ideal home remedy for constipation.
- Natural laxatives
Natural laxatives are foods that are rich in healthy fats. Unlike others, healthy fats are necessary for basic body metabolisms. They also help in smoothening your intestinal walls and are a natural home remedy for constipation.
Foods such as nuts, olive oil, ground flaxseed, beans, and avocados should be a part of your regular diet as they are a perfect home remedy for constipation.
Raisins are rich in fiber and contain tartaric acid which is proven to be a powerful natural laxative. Raisins are a quick home remedy for constipation. They contain tartaric acid and are rich in fiber. Raisins act as laxatives on the intestine walls and help in fighting constipation. You can have sun-dried raisins with yogurt or porridge for better taste and benefit.
- Dried plums
Dried plums or prunes are widely considered a great home remedy for constipation. They are highly rich in fiber.
They contain an insoluble fiber called cellulose which raises the water content in the stool making it softer and bulkier. Simultaneously, the colon ferments the soluble fiber in dried plums to build fatty acids which makes the stools heavier.
Also, prunes have high contents of sugar alcohol called sorbitol. Since the body cannot absorb this well, the colon absorbs water instead which acts as a laxative in some cases.
Moreover, dried plums are rich in phenolic compounds that produce bacteria in your gut. These bacteria are found to be very helpful for the body as they have a great laxative action.
Prune intake helps in increasing stool frequency and regularity. For added taste and benefit, you can enjoy prunes in salads, cereals, oatmeal, stews, and desserts or you can have them raw as well. With their laxative effect and high fiber content, prunes make for an ideal home remedy for constipation.
Bananas form the perfect instant home remedy for constipation, especially in India. Bananas have a great laxative action and are the most promising home remedy for constipation. They are rich in fiber and very healthy for your body as it is effective for digestion. Not only does it relieve you of constipation but also improves your digestive metabolism.
Studies have also shown that bananas are a great source of several vitamins and minerals, especially potassium and enhances the formation of good bacteria.
- Try some light exercises
In our busy day-to-day lives, we often forget how important it is to exercise regularly. Sitting on your bed all day or in an office chair leads to no movement in your body and this is another cause of constipation.
Bowel movement depends on how often you move your body physically. Some physical exercises help move the waste quickly through the intestines.
Try going for a walk or some light exercises at home. These might improve muscle activity in the intestines and digestive tracts. This will prove to be an effective home remedy for constipation if you can do it regularly.
- Green vegetables
Green vegetables like spinach and broccoli are very advantageous. They are highly fibrous as well as rich in vitamins and other nutrients.
They help to make the stools bulkier and heavier. That’s how they become easier and painless to pass through the intestines.
It must be hard to start eating green vegetables all of a sudden. To get accustomed, you can try adding them to soups or pies, or curries. You can also make your favorite salads or sandwiches with green vegetables. It’s always interesting to add new styles to your favorite foods, right?
This is your go-to home remedy for constipation. You can enjoy different styles of your favorite recipes and satisfy the fiber content required by your body at the same time!
You can cook them and eat them with soups and curries and also eat them raw in salads.
- Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds have an oily consistency and they help in lubricating the intestinal walls. A very helpful home remedy for constipation as it helps to moisturize the intestines and helps in the easy passage.
Sesame seeds are a great home remedy and can be consumed with salads, vegetables, or cereals.
- Licorice root (Mulethi)
We can’t talk about home remedies and not include ayurvedic treatments, can we? Mulethi or licorice root is a very effective food that not only helps in digestion but also treats constipation.
Take a cup of lukewarm water, mix a teaspoon of ground licorice root and a teaspoon of sugar or jaggery. It enhances bowel movement and is highly regarded as one of the best herbal home remedies for constipation.
Some health conditions that cause constipation:
- Endocrine problems like Hypothyroidism which results in an underactive thyroid gland
- Diabetes and uremia
- Organ diseases such as lupus and scleroderma
- Defects in the digestive tract structures
- Colorectal cancer
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Lazy bowel syndrome
- Neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and stroke
- Intestinal obstruction
Lifestyle changes to get rid of constipation:
If you want to prevent constipation from being a chronic condition, follow the home remedies and bring a little change in your daily lifestyle.
- Fix a time for your meals and follow that every day
Believe it or not, having a fixed routine for your meals helps to cure constipation.
- Eat more fibers
A well-balanced diet with lots of fiber is a healthy way to fight constipation. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, pulses, whole-grain bread, and oats in your daily meals. Foods that are rich in fibers and water help in the smooth passage of stools. They help in lubricating the colon walls.
In fibrous fruits, the peels have the most fibrous content. Even the seeds of some fruits like strawberries and grapes are richly fibrous. Oat bran has a dense content of fiber. If you want to have a healthy balance of fiber in your body, eat bran oats or make it with other foods like yogurt.
- Stay away from foods that lack fibers
Lower your consumption of foods like white bread, white pasta, and white rice. These have very low fiber content and increases the risk of constipation. Stay away from food made with white flour like pancakes and bagels since these tend to have very low fiber. Also, lay off on frozen food, ice cream, cheese, and cookies.
- Stay hydrated all the time
Try to drink at least 8 glasses of water in a day. Caffeinated drinks such as coffee and canned drinks can dehydrate your body. Until your bowel pattern becomes normal, you should lay off these fluids.
Also, avoid drinking alcohol. It can also cause dehydration.
- Sleep well
Sleep plays an important role in your constipated condition. People who sleep more or less than normal are more prone to constipation than average sleepers.
- Try to be stress-free
Most people don’t know that stress is also responsible for constipation. It can slow down your bowel movement in the intestines. So, go easy on yourself. Try meditation and deep breathing to relax.
- When you feel like passing a bowel, don’t hold it back. Rush to the bathroom immediately.
If you ignore your urge to pass your bowels, you might lose the signal and with time this becomes a permanent thing. So hit the toilet whenever you get the feeling.
- Try passing bowels with your feet on a step stool or a raised platform
Check how you sit on the toilet. Keeping your feet on a step stool or a raised platform, tilting backward, or squatting might ease your bowel movement.
- Train your bowels: train yourself to pass bowels at the same time every day
Try hitting the bathroom 20-30 minutes after your meals. This is the time when your intestines start to push the waste through their walls. Making this a regular habit may relieve you.
- Be more physically active
Constipation is more common amongst aged people because there is a lack of physical activity in their bodies. A lot of research has shown that exercising will help you get a regular bowel pattern but if you’re inactive, you’re more likely to get constipated. This is one of the freest and healthy lifestyle habits to include in your daily life.
- Know when you should call your doctor
If your constipation lasts for more than three weeks and has become severe, you should go see a doctor. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to let them take care of your body.
It can be very uncomfortable to open up about constipation and seek help if it gets worse but it is even more difficult to live with it. So, check your regular habits to bring about the required changes in your lifestyle so that you can lead a life with relief and peace. This will also help you figure out the reason for your constipation because you don’t just need a constipation-free body; You need a healthy body overall, for a better living.