How To Relieve Constipation Naturally
There are many situations that can define constipation, and depending on your body, your diet, your health, and your activity level, you could suffer from just one aspect of it or several of them. So just what is constipation? Doctors define constipation as straining, hard stools, and/or incomplete evacuation of the bowels more than 25% of the time or having two or fewer bowel movements per week.
However, it can also be defined as having fewer bowel movements than is normal for your body, since it can be normal to have up to four or five per day. You know your body best and will know when something is off, but the common symptoms that may accompany constipation are bloating, nausea, discomfort, or pain.
The most common, and most preventable, cause of constipation is dehydration. However, a lack of fiber in your diet can cause constipation as well. The human body, as sturdy as it is to be able to fight off infection and heal from breaks and tears, is also very fragile. Many of its’ inner workings prefer things to stay the same over time.
So a change in diet, stress level, or activity level can cause your body’s digestion to also change which can lead to constipation. Constipation is quite common during pregnancy, especially during the later months when the weight of the baby can press down on the large intestine.
There are also diseases that have the unfortunate side effect of constipation. The most common, and most aptly named, is Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Hypothyroidism slows down many of the body’s natural systems, and the most noticeable for one experiencing constipation would be the digestive system.
Other disorders can also slow down the digestive system, including neurological disorders like depression. Many medications taken for disorders can have the side effect of constipation so be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you experience it in conjunction with starting a new medication.
Constipation is uncomfortable and there’s no way of making that discomfort magically disappear. The body needs to regulate itself and it can take time. However, if you are wondering how to relieve constipation, there are things that you can do to help this process happen faster so that you can feel better sooner.
1. Drink Fluids - Making sure that you are hydrated will help lessen the chance that your constipation is being caused by a lack of fluids. Having an excess of fluids in the body can only help your body get its digestive system back on track. Drinking warm fluids, especially first thing in the morning, can help to stimulate the digestive system and get it working a little faster by giving the metabolism a boost.
2. Get Exercise - Constipation is more common in those who have a sedentary lifestyle, but even if you don’t, getting a bit more exercise can help your digestive system kick itself into a higher gear. Even just going for a walk for 20 minutes in the morning or the evening for a few days in a row can increase your metabolism enough to be recognized in bowel movement activity, especially in those who are constipated.
3. Add Fruits & Veggies to Your Diet - Fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients that can help your body find its’ natural rhythm. They also contain moisture, especially fruits, that can help with hydration if that seems to be the problem. Vegetables, especially those that are green and leafy, can help aid in digestion by adding a lot of dietary fiber in a natural, tasty way. Green, leafy vegetables are commonly referred to as roughage.
4. Eat Bran or Oat Cereal - Just like the green, leafy vegetables mentioned above, bran or oat cereal also contain dietary fiber. Dietary fiber, when consumed in the proper portions, aids in digestion and forms waste into the stool product that we defecate. Adding more fiber than you normally consume can help ease constipation by softening the stool as it’s formed. Adding this type of cereal to your diet can be temporary while you are experiencing constipation or permanent to prevent it.
5. Take a Fiber Supplement - If adding dietary fiber through vegetables or cereal isn’t possible or isn’t working, then you might want to try a fiber supplement. These supplements can be taken as a pill, a chewable, or a soluble powder that can be flavored or unflavored depending on the brand and how you use it. Be sure to follow the directions for the supplement you choose carefully to make sure you get the most benefit from it and to avoid overuse.
Relieving constipation is very important not only to help alleviate your discomfort or pain, but also because chronic constipation can lead to the development of hemorrhoids in just a short period of time. Hemorrhoids can cause a discomfort and pain all their own and are not something that anyone would want added to their list of ailments.
If constipation continues for a longer period of time, it can lead to a buildup of hardened stool that can no longer be passed through a bowel movement. This is known as an impaction, and may need to be treated by a doctor. You’ll also need to be treated by a doctor if you’ve experienced a rectal prolapse, where a small amount of anal tissue has been pushed through the anus due to strenuous pushing over a long period of time. By relieving your constipation symptoms sooner, these medical issues can be prevented altogether.
Although the complications associated with letting constipation go untreated or get worse for a long period of time are not pleasant, occasional or even recurring constipation is quite normal for most people.
However, steps on how to relieve constipation should be researched and followed to make sure that the ailment is remedied in a timely fashion both for your comfort and your peace of mind. By knowing that your digestive system is back in working order, you know that nothing serious had caused the constipation that couldn’t be resolved with a little TLC and no serious complications will arise from it.