Remedies to alleviate constipation
Certain things are better left unsaid and absolutely no one likes to admit to suffering from uncomfortable and embarrassing digestive issues.
We certainly do not like to discuss our bowel movements (or lack thereof), but ignoring the symptoms of an unhealthy digestive system and constipation can have serious effects on your overall health.
In this article we discuss remedies to help alleviate constipation and what to consider to find out if your constipation may be chronic.
Although occasional constipation is very common, some people may experience chronic constipation that largely interferes with their daily tasks.
Up to 25% of the population continues to suffer in silence, writing this affliction off as nothing more than an annoying symptom.
This symptom (however annoying) can also be an indicator of more serious conditions and can also affect your mood, energy levels, weight gain, skin, hair and immune system.
What causes constipation?
Constipation is a symptom, not a disease and can be an indicator that there is something more serious going on in your body. The most common causes of constipation are:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Eating disorders
- Nutritional issues and not getting enough fibre in your diet
- Prescription medications
Who is most at risk?
Whilst everyone can or might suffer from constipation at some point in life, some factors do increase your risk.
- Women tend to suffer from constipation more than men.
- Older adults.
- Those suffering from neurological conditions like eating disorders, dementia or Parkinsons.
- Those taking long term prescription medications like sedatives, antidepressants or blood pressure medications.
When is constipation chronic?
If you experience trouble emptying your bowel, have fewer than three bowel movements per week or experience feelings of blockages and these symptoms go on for longer than three months, it is advised that you seek medical attention.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)Trusted Source recommends seeking medical advice if symptoms don’t go away or if you notice bleeding from the rectum, blood in your stool, persistent abdominal pain, pain in the lower back, vomiting, fever, unexplained weight loss or a sudden change in bowel movements.
How can I avoid constipation?
Constipation can be avoided by making some simple dietary changes and listening to your body. If you feel bloated after consuming dairy, or battle to pass stool after eating carbohydrates make note of these things and try to lessen or eliminate them from your diet.
Also be sure to:
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid sugary drinks.
- Stay active, exercise as regularly as possible.
- Work on managing your stress levels. Take time to unwind every day. Meditate or take a walk.
- Ensure your diet incorporates plenty of high fibre foods like veggies, grains and fruits.
How can I treat constipation at home?
If your symptoms are mild, you can try a few tried and trusted home remedies to alleviate your discomfort.
Epsom salt or magnesium sulfate helps fight constipation. Two teaspoons of Epsom salts mixed with one cup of water typically causes a bowel movement within four hours.
The salt draws the water from its surroundings and makes stools softer, while the magnesium helps the bowel muscles contract.
Ginger tea is a natural wonder. The warm beverage boosts immunity, reduces stress, and battles respiratory infections while also protecting the digestive system.
Ginger's anti-inflammatory effects and natural warming quality are beneficial for digestive health. A dose of ginger also stimulates the release of gastric and pancreatic enzymes that speed up stomach emptying.
Prunes are full of fiber and sorbitol, a carbohydrate digested slowly by the body. As it moves through the intestines, prunes collect water, helping to soften faecal matter.
Drinking a glass of prune juice in the morning and then again at night or including a few prunes in one's daily diet can maintain bowel regularity. People have long turned to prunes and prune juice to relieve constipation.
Eating too many, however, can cause other digestive issues, such as gas and diarrhoea.
Should these natural remedies not suffice, it is recommended that you consult your physician in order to find out the cause of this unpleasant symptom.
More often than not, constipation can be alleviated or rectified with simple dietary changes, but it is always better to err on the side of caution and get your body checked if you’re concerned. Listen to your body, it deserves to be heard.
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