Healthcare experts believe that one should excrete at least four times a week. You can consider your stool healthy when it is soft to firm in a long and tubular form. When the cycle is not regular, and when your stomach is upset, you can develop conditions like diarrhoea and constipation, which are unhealthy. Apart from being harmful, such issues in your bowel movements can also cause disturbances that are likely to affect your daily activities. Among the many vital body functions, defecation is undoubtedly one of the most important. Therefore, everyone needs a good excretion cycle with healthy bowel movements.
‘Constipation’ is the gut issue when your stool gets very hard, and it becomes difficult to pass it out. As a result, you start to experience straining and may get a blocked-up feeling in your bowels. Stomach cramps, pain in the rectum from straining, nausea, or bloating are common factors accompanying constipation. They are a result of not emptying your bowels. According to estimates, around 8 million people in the United States alone visit doctors because of constipation every year. However, that does not mean that it is not a health condition that should worry you.
There are several home remedies for constipation that everyone can easily prepare and use to cure this issue. While there are medications available for constipation in drug stores, they are, in most cases, unnecessary. Some home remedies for constipation include drinking a lot of water, exercising, having fibrous foods, etc., which are easy to incorporate lifestyle changes. Medications work too to get relief. However, medications may have side effects. So, buying them for such an easily curable issue is unnecessary, except if your problem is too severe and a doctor prescribed them.
The Causes of Constipation
Several issues can lead to constipation. It can be our lifestyle choices, the food we avoid, the food we eat, underlying health conditions, age, dehydration, consumption of antibiotics, etc. Studies say that constipation can also be a symptom or a cause of several severe underlying medical conditions. Sometimes the cause of chronic constipation may even be unknown, and this situation is popularly called the ‘chronic idiopathic constipation.’ When you notice symptoms like very few bowel movements per week, hard and dry stools, difficulty, pain, a lot of stringing while passing stools, and a feeling that your bowel is still full after passing the stool, you can confirm that you have constipation.
The diet you follow can be a reason for constipation. If your diet does not include food items rich in fibre, you can get constipated due to the disruption in your bowel movements. Your diet must contain enough vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to promote good bowel movements. Food items like meat with high-fat content, dairy products, eggs, and other sugary sweets can cause constipation. Consuming fast foods, having less water, and ignoring fibrous food in your diet are the most common reasons for constipation.
Lack of Exercise
Another common reason for constipation may be the lack of exercise. It would help if you aided your digestion with exercise or physical bodily movements. Otherwise, your bowel movements will get disrupted, leading to constipation. Doctors often give enema or other medications to bedridden patients due to this reason.
Use of Medications
The side effect of many antibiotics, painkillers, and other similar medicines can be constipation. Some common medications with such side effects are antacids, antidepressants, antihistamines, NSAIDs, etc. Having supplements like iron tablets is also seen to cause constipation as a side effect in some individuals. In such cases, your doctor may prescribe pills, laxatives, or enemas to help with your bowel movements. However, the frequent use of such laxatives and enemas is also a cause of constipation at times. When used frequently, your body may forget to perform bowel movements independently.
Ignoring and Holding Back Bowel Movements
Not going to the washroom when you feel like it can become a cause of constipation. Ignoring your bowel movement due to reasons like being out in public and not having a restroom nearby is something we may not be able to avoid. But holding it back for too long and making it a habit can lead to constipation.
Underlying Medical Conditions
Constipation can be a symptom or a cause of other underlying diseases or medical conditions like stroke, diabetes, blockage in the intestines, etc. Such diseases can disrupt the activity of our muscles or nerves that are responsible for carrying out our bowel movements. Other medical conditions that can cause constipation include diverticular disease, colorectal cancer, lazy bowel syndrome, etc. Studies have also found that constipation is common among pregnant women with several organ diseases and endocrine problems.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Another common medical condition called IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is a common cause of constipation. The cause of this issue is not clear yet, but the common symptoms are stomach cramping, bloating and abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhoea. If the home remedies for constipation or any other medications are not curing the issue, you may have to consult a doctor to ensure you don’t have any other diseases.
Home Remedies for Constipation
In most situations, your issue may be minor and can be cured easily without taking any medications . There are several home remedies for constipation that can fix the problem easily. It is a much healthier choice than medicines, laxatives, or enemas, as the latter might have side effects in the long term. However, if you feel your situation is getting worse, you should consult a doctor
One of the leading causes of constipation is being dehydrated. Studies show that not drinking enough water can cause several digestive issues, so staying hydrated is essential. One of the best home remedies for constipation is drinking a lot of water. It will help you get rehydrated, and before you know it, your bowel movements will get better.
Using sparkling water, if possible, over hard water is one of the recommended home remedies for constipation as studies have found that the former is more effective for constipation. It, however, does not mean that you should drink other carbonated drinks or sugary sodas in place of sparkling water, as they can make the situation worse.
Studies have found that caffeinated coffee has a laxative effect on some people, helping them empty their stomachs by simulating a bowel movement.. However, it may not be effective for all. In addition, drinking coffee may be a trigger that worsens people’s symptoms with irritable bowel syndrome.
Consume Fibrous Foods
Another best home remedies for constipation is including more fibre rich foods. Along with drinking plenty of water, consuming fibrous food items must be the first step in alleviating constipation. Plenty of studies prove that fibre plays a vital role in providing several health benefits and improving our digestive system.
Foods rich in fibre can increase the bulk and soften our stool. As a result, these foods make it easier for us to pass stools and have a healthy excretion cycle. So, when you have constipation, consuming fibrous food items is a good remedy as it can bring back the consistency to our bowel movements. fibre-rich food items include apples, beans, dried fruits, berries, whole grains, broccoli, avocados, etc.
However, taccording to few other studies fibrous foods can only improve bowel movement but are not good enough for any other symptoms like bloating, cramps, gas, etc., that you may be having with constipation. Such studies say that we can reduce the intake of fibrous foods to control idiopathic constipation and its symptoms. The issues likely arise because different kinds of dietary fibres have different effects on digestion.
Studies say that the best choice of fibre to treat constipation is non-fermentable soluble fibres like psyllium. Therefore, people should aim to consume a mix of soluble and insoluble fibres to prevent constipation. Twenty-five grams of fibre is the recommended amount for females and 38 grams for males per day to keep the fibre content in our bodies balanced.
One of the leading causes of constipation is the lack of exercise, especially in those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. Everyone needs to spare some time for exercising and keeping their bodies fit. Several studies back the fact that exercise can help reduce and wipe out all the symptoms of constipation. Regularly exercising is one of the best home remedies for constipation. However, people with irritable bowel syndrome should be careful not to do any heavy or vigorous exerciseas it can worsen their symptoms. Such people can adopt moderate exercise techniques like brisk walking to improve their bowel movements and overall health.
Consume Probiotic Foods or Supplements
Probiotics are naturally occurring bacterias, like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus in our gut. They are capable of preventing and curing chronic constipation. Sometimes the cause of constipation can be the imbalance of bacteria in the gut. Consuming probiotic foods or probiotic supplements can help solve the issue.
Studies have found that probiotics can treat constipation and improve our gut movements, making it easier to pass stools. Other studies have proved that people with chronic constipation felt relivede after consuming the supplements for four weeks. Some probiotic foods include yoghurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut. You can either have these in your diet or take probiotic supplements readily available in medical stores.
Senna is a herb often used as a natural laxative to treat constipation. Studies have found senna to be an excellent treatment for constipation as it can produce bowel movements in patients within six to twelve hours of consuming it. In addition, senna contains plant compounds like glycosides, which can stimulate nerves in the gut to help speed up bowel movements.
Senna is a safe herbal medicine that anyone can use, including children, making it is one of the best home remedies for constipation. You can consume senna alone to treat constipation or in combination with psyllium, a recommendation of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). However, if your symptoms do not go away after a couple of days of consuming senna, you should consult a doctor. Senna is also not recommended for people suffering from inflammatory bowel disease, specific health conditions, and pregnant women.
Drink Prune Juice
One of the most common home remedies for constipation is eating prunes or drinking prune juice. Prunes are rich in fibre as well as sorbitol. Prune juice can act as sugar alcohol with a laxative effect. One should have around 50 grams or seven medium prunes twice every day to cure constipation. However, prunes are not advisable for those who have irritable bowel syndrome as this sugar alcohol can cause distress to the stomach.
Consume Magnesium Citrate
Magnesium citrate is an osmotic laxative, making it a popular home remedy for constipation. You can consume the mineral by eating magnesium-rich food items or taking supplements to relieve constipation. Doctors also use a higher dosage of magnesium to clean out the bowel before any surgeries or other similar medical procedures.
Include Castor Oil in Your Diet
Castor Oil is a vegetable oil commonly used to treat older patients who suffer from constipation. Several studies show the effects of castor oil packs on controlling both the issue and its several symptoms. However, castor oil is not suitable for everyone. Pregnant women and children especially should refrain from using castor oil as this may negatively affect them. You should also note that prolonged use of castor oil can weaken and damage our muscles in the colon, which will, in turn, cause chronic constipation. However, it does bring fast and effective results.
Consume Prebiotic Foods
Like probiotic foods, prebiotic foods and supplements can also be a good cure for constipation. That is because they are indigestible carbohydrate fibre and include oligosaccharides and insulin. In addition, prebiotic food items can positively affect us as they can improve our digestive health. These effects are done by prebiotic foods and supplements, feeding the beneficial bacteria in our gut and boosting probiotics. It eventually helps solve any imbalance of bacteria in the gut. Some prebiotics can even increase the frequency of our bowel movements by making our stools softer. Common probiotic foods include onions, chicory, bananas, chickpeas, etc.
Constipation can be an uncomfortable issue that may disrupt your daily life and activities. The causes of constipation can either be simple or serious ones. It can occur due to dehydration, lack of exercise, etc., or more severe issues like underlying chronic diseases. If you feel like your case is because of your poor lifestyle choices and there is a possibility of rectification by making simple dietry and lifestyle changes,. On the other hand, if you find it severe or feel that your constipation is not going away even after trying all the remedies for a prolonged time, you must consult a doctor and get it checked.
Studies have found that prolonged constipation can disrupt our daily activities and even cause physical and mental health problems. So, when you start to see the signs, you must find the cause and take immediate action. Start by adopting home remedies as a solution for constipation or take proper medications to cure the issue timely.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. How can I relieve constipation quickly?
A. The quickest way to relieve constipation and loosen up your stool while at home is to have fibrous food items and drink plenty of water. Also, if you have any prescribed medications and feel the need for one, take that to get quicker results.
Q. What is the best homemade remedy for constipation?
A. The best and the easiest of all home remedies for constipation will be to drink plenty of water. Having fibrous foods and eating fruits like bananas rich in roughage is close.
Q. What should I drink to poop immediately?
A. There are several drinks that you can consume to get quick results and help you poop immediately. These drinks include jaggery drinks, lemon juice, apple juice, baking soda with water, etc.
Q. How do you push poop out when constipated?
A. You can try several home remedies for constipation to help your bowel movements back to normal. You can also get your doctor to give you a laxative or enema if you wish to get sudden results, but these might be unhealthy in the long term. However, if you feel a strain to push your poop out, do not do it without taking the necessary measures to soften your stool.
Q. Is banana good for constipation?
A. Banana is a good home remedy for constipation. The fruit is a rich source of fibre and roughage, which can bulk and soften your poop. It will also help in bringing back the consistency of your bowel movements.
Q. What is the quickest natural laxative?
A. Banana, papaya, plum, fig, kiwi, orange, etc., are some natural laxatives that can give you quick results and help you pass your stool with ease.
Q. Does hot water with lemon juice help constipation?
A. Yes, having water with lemon juice is one of the most effective home remedies for constipation. Water alone keeps you hydrated, and adding lime juice can help further. Including this in your diet can be quite helpful in preventing constipation too.
Q. How can I empty my bowels in one minute?
A. If you have constipation, emptying your bowels in a minute may not be possible. However, if you have a healthy excretion cycle, this won’t be an issue, especially if you are pooping after having a long urge. It is always better to take your time while passing your stool instead of trying to empty your bowels within minutes.
Q. Should I keep eating if I’m constipated?
A. Constipation should not stop you from eating because it is wrong to assume that not eating while constipated will help clear your colon. You should eat healthy foods and have a diet rich in whole foods with fibre and minerals.
Q. Does milk help poop?
A. Milk may help some people cure constipation and restore their consistent bowel movements. However, too much milk and dairy products are not healthy as these may block your bowel further and make the situation worse.