Exercise Gets Things Moving
“Exercise will definitely help with constipation,” says Dr. Eichele. “In some cultures, people go for a walk after a meal. That activity stimulates the digestion process.”
A 10- or 15-minute walk after a meal means your colon will get moving, too which is a healthy, normal response.
If you’ve heard of “runner’s gut,” the same principle applies. “Long-distance runners can sometimes struggle with needing to go, due to an overactive colon,” says Dr. Eichele.
Take A Laxative Stimulant
Laxative stimulants are designed to force a bowel movement by squeezing the intestines and may take up to 6 to 12 hours to take effect. You can get stimulants over the counter at your local pharmacy. Some popular options include:
, laxative stimulants are primarily recommended for severe constipation that doesnt respond to other treatment methods. You also shouldnt use laxatives until possible secondary causes of constipation have been ruled out.
Natural Constipation Remedies For Relief
When discussing the top natural remedies for constipation, its best to break it up into foods to eat, foods to avoid, supplements that help and practices that can make a surprising difference in constipation relief.
Its very common that when adapting eating strategies to get rid of constipation and following a constipation diet, the digestive system will improve. Combine this with supplements and mind-body practices, and your gut will thank you!
1. Eat These Foods for Constipation Relief
2. Stop Eating These Foods that Can Make Constipation Worse
3. Take These Supplements that Help Relieve Constipation
4. Use These Mind-Body Practices that Help Prevent Constipation
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Get Into A Squat Position
You probably dont consider how you poop, but there can be some benefits to rethinking your position.
Squatting or using a stool can help your stool pass more easily.
Some people learn maneuvers and techniques over time of how to pass stool that arent working for them, so it can be beneficial to re-teach the mechanics of stooling, says Dr. Garg.
Water Does A Body Good
Drinking enough water helps your gastrointestinal tract create the right consistency of stool.
“Water is necessary for all your organs,” says Dr. Eichele. “So your colon will pull out water from your food to deliver to your heart, brain and lungs.” If you aren’t drinking enough liquid water, your colon will hold on to the limited resource. And then constipation.
For soft stools , drink up. “For best results, drink 48 to 64 ounces of water each day just not all at once,” says Dr. Eichele. Drink an eight-ounce glass of water multiple times throughout the day for best results.
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Medical Causes Of Constipation
Constipation is sometimes symptomatic of underlying medical problems, such as:
- Slow transit some people naturally pass motions less often than most people. It seems their bowel pacemaker may be less active. These individuals are more likely to become constipated with minor changes in their routine.
- Anal fissure a tear in the lining of the anus . The person may resist going to the toilet for fear of pain.
- Obstruction the rectum or anus may be partially obstructed by, for example, haemorrhoids or a rectal prolapse.
- Rectocoele the rectum pushes through the weakened rear wall of the vagina when the woman bears down or strains.
- Hernia an abdominal hernia can reduce intra-abdominal pressure, which makes it more difficult to pass a motion.
- Abdominal or gynaecological surgery a combination of change in routine, strange surroundings, post-operative pain and codeine-containing analgesics is a potent cause of constipation and often needs preventive care.
- Irritable bowel syndrome characterised by abdominal pain, bloating, and either constipation or diarrhoea or alternating constipation and diarrhoea.
- Problems of the endocrine system such as hypothyroidism, diabetes or hypopituitarism.
- Tumour pain while trying to pass a stool could be a symptom of rectal cancer.
- Diseases of the central nervous system such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons disease or stroke are associated with an increased susceptibility to constipation.
Nuts And Seeds For Constipation Relief
Nuts are a filling food that is also packed with fiber to help ease constipation.
- Almonds, pecans, and walnuts have more fiber than other nuts. Just 1 ounce of almonds contains 3.5 g fiber, 1 ounce of pecans contains 2.7 g fiber, and 1 ounce of walnuts has 1.9 g fiber.
- Seeds are another good fiber-filled choice for constipation relief. A scant 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds contains 1.1 g fiber, while 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds has a whopping 5 g fiber. Sprinkle seeds on top of salads for added fiber and crunch.
Remember that nuts and seeds are high in calories, so keep portions small. Choose nuts and seeds that are raw or dry roasted, rather than roasted in oil.
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Conventional Treatment For Constipation
The most common ways to relieve constipation include taking fiber supplements and using over-the-counter laxatives. Some people also get prescribed constipation medications to help control bowel movements and regulate digestive functioning, although this is much less common than using inexpensive, widely-available laxatives.
Although laxative teas, solutions and tablets might temporarily help relieve constipation, they can also be overused and cause many side effects. A much safer way to control severe constipation is through natural laxatives such as exercise, a healthy diet and stress reduction. You can also occasionally try tactics like a salt water flush or bone broth fast to help clear things out and get them moving again.
Laxatives are very dangerous when used as a purging dieting technique or taken too frequently. How do they work, and why dont they help solve constipation for good?
Laxatives work by causing the muscles of the GI tract to contract, increasing water absorption or bulking stool so it can move quickly through the colon. The problem is that this often interferes with the renin-aldosterone part of the digestive system, causes abnormal loss of fluid and ultimately weakens muscles needed for bowel movements. The body rebounds after taking laxatives by holding on to all of the available water it can get, which leads to edema .
Other health problems associated with laxative abuse include:
- complications with the cardiovascular systems
It Seems To Be Good For The Heart
All types of fiber can be good for the heart. The American Heart Association say that dietary fiber can improve cholesterol, and lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity .
Water soluble fibers, including psyllium, could help reduce blood triglycerides, blood pressure, and the risk of heart disease .
A review of 28 trials found that taking a median of 10.2 g psyllium per day could effectively improve markers of heart health, including lowering LDL cholesterol. This can helps reduce the risk of heart disease .
A 2020 review of 11 trials reported that psyllium could reduce systolic blood pressure by 2.04 millimeters of mercury . The authors recommend using psyllium to help treat hypertension .
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Medical Treatment For Constipation
If over-the-counter treatments donât do the job, your doctor may prescribe a different kind of medication.
Prescription laxatives such as linaclotide, lubiprostone, and plecanatide work by increasing the amount of water in your intestines and speeding up the movement of stool. Note that Amitiza is approved for use only in women.
Serotonin 5-hydroxytryptamine 4 receptors. Prucalopride is a powerful stimulant thatâs used for chronic constipation without a known cause.
PAMORAs. This is a shorter way of saying âperipherally acting mu-opioid receptor antagonists.â These work on constipation thatâs caused by opioid pain medicines. These drugs include methylnaltrexone and naloxegol
Surgery for constipation treatment
Sometimes constipation is caused by a structural problem in your colon or rectum. Your colon may be blocked or unusually narrow, or you may have a partial collapse or a bulge in the wall of your rectum. In that case, surgery can correct the problem.
Surgery may also be a last resort if your colon just works too slowly and treatments havenât helped. You may need to have a section of your colon removed.
Whole Grain Bread For Constipation Relief
Whole grains have lots of fiber, which is a good choice not only for the bowels, but also the heart.
- Researchers at the University of Finland in Helsinki found whole grain rye bread to be better than wheat bread and laxatives for relieving constipation. They reported their findings in the Journal of Nutrition in 2010. Their subjects ate enough slices to get 30 grams of fiber a day, but you don’t have to eat that much for it to work.
- Arabinoxylan, the main component of dietary fiber in rye, helps keep food moving through the intestine.
- Ezekiel bread is another good choice for relief of constipation. It is bread made of sprouted whole grains and legumes, which provides a good dose of fiber and nutrients.
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The 17 Best Foods To Relieve Constipation
About 14% of people experience chronic constipation at some point .
Symptoms include passing stools less than three times per week, straining, lumpy or hard stools, a sensation of incomplete evacuation, feeling blocked, or being unable to pass a stool.
The type and severity of symptoms can vary from person to person. Some people experience constipation only rarely, while its a chronic condition for others.
Constipation has a variety of causes, but its often the result of the slow movement of food through the digestive system.
This may be due to dehydration, a poor diet, medications, illness, diseases affecting the nervous system, or mental disorders.
Fortunately, certain foods can help relieve constipation by adding bulk, softening stool, decreasing gut transit time, and increasing stool frequency.
Here are 17 foods that can help relieve constipation and keep you regular.
Can Milk Or Dairy Cause Constipation In Older Adults
Milk or dairy can contribute to constipation, but not always. For some people who are sensitive to the proteins in cows milk, dairy can also cause diarrhea. It may help to keep a food diary of what you eat before becoming constipated. Also, try limiting the foods that appear to be linked to your constipation.
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Take An Osmotic Laxative
The way osmotic laxatives work is slightly differently from how stimulant laxatives work. Theyre designed to help move fluids through the colon. Some examples include:
- magnesium hydroxide
- polyethylene glycol
- magnesium citrate
Its important to keep in mind that osmotic laxatives tend to work a bit more slowly than stimulant laxatives. You can expect them to work within 2 to 3 days.
With a doctors prescription, you can obtain higher strength PEG .
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Constipation
Different people have different bathroom habits. So someone who doesn’t have a bowel movement every day isn’t necessarily constipated. One person might go three times a day, while another might go once every 23 days.
But if you’re going less than you normally do, or if it’s often hard or painful to go, you might be constipated. A person with constipation might:
- feel full or bloated
- feel pain when having a bowel movement
- have to strain a lot to have a bowel movement
- notice a little blood on the toilet paper or in the toilet
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What Is The Prognosis For Constipation In Adults
Most people with constipation have no physical disease of the digestive system nor any widespread disease associated with constipation. Most of the time, constipation is related to poor dietary habits, low fluid intake, and lack of exercise.
- For people with constipation caused by an illness, recovery will be determined by how sick the affected individual is.
- The person will usually recover well if his or her constipation is caused by painful hemorrhoids or anal fissures.
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Take A Fiber Supplement
Fiber supplements are readily available and at inducing bowel movements if a low fiber diet is the cause of your constipation. They work by adding bulk, or volume, to your stool. This helps push stool through your intestines and out of your body.
You can buy fiber supplements in stores or online. Here are a few common ones:
- calcium polycarbophil
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Eat More Fiber Especially Soluble Non
To treat constipation, doctors often tell people to increase their dietary fiber intake.
This is because increasing fiber intake increases the bulk and consistency of bowel movements, making them easier to pass. It also helps them pass through the digestive system more quickly 01386-6/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”> 14).
In fact, one 2016 review found that 77% of people with chronic constipation benefited from supplementing with fiber .
However, some studies have found that increasing fiber intake can actually make the problem worse. Others report that dietary fiber improves stool frequency but may not help with other symptoms of constipation, such as stool consistency, pain, bloating, and gas .
This is because different types of dietary fiber have different effects on digestion.
There are many different dietary fibers, but in general, they fall into two categories: insoluble fibers and soluble fibers.
Insoluble fibers â present in wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains â add bulk to stools and may help them pass more quickly and easily through the digestive system.
Soluble fibers â present in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, and peas, as well as some fruits and vegetables â absorb water and form a gel-like paste, which softens the stools and improves its consistency.
Non-fermentable soluble fibers, such as psyllium, are the best choice for treating constipation (
Bottom line: Exercise may reduce the symptoms of constipation in some people.
Olive And Flaxseed Oils
These oils also contain compounds that improve digestion and have antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
A 2015 randomized controlled trial found that olive and flaxseed oils help relieve constipation in people undergoing hemodialysis blood filtering.
In this study, the effects of both olive oil and flaxseed oil were comparable to those of mineral oil, which is a laxative that medical professionals sometimes recommend to treat constipation.
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Complications Of Chronic Constipation
Some of the complications of chronic constipation include:
- Faecal impaction the lower bowel and rectum become so packed with faeces that the muscles of the bowels cant push any of it out.
- Faecal incontinence an overfull bowel can result in involuntary dribbling of diarrhoea.
- Haemorrhoids constant straining to open the bowel can damage the blood vessels of the rectum.
- Rectal prolapse the constant straining pushes a section of rectal lining out of the anus.
- Urinary incontinence the constant straining weakens pelvic floor muscles. This makes the involuntary passing of urine more likely, especially when coughing, laughing or sneezing.
Drink More Water For Constipation
She also stresses the importance of adequate hydration. Water is essential to helping fiber work its magic.
The large intestine draws water out of the stool before its passed out of the body. So if you are dehydrated due to exercise, hot weather, a medical condition or just not drinking enough water, you can end up with hard, dried-out stool that is more difficult to pass.
As you increase your dietary fiber, its important to increase your hydration at the same time, she advises.
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Fiber Supplements And Food Allergies
People who are allergic to high fiber foods can find it difficult to get enough fiber. They should speak to their doctor about finding sources of fiber that will not cause an allergic reaction.
In some cases, a person may want to talk to their doctor about fiber supplements. A doctor may recommend these if the individual has constipation or trouble passing stool. Pharmacies sell fiber supplements, such as Metamucil, Citrucel, and FiberCon.
These products do not provide the same levels of vitamins and nutrients as natural, high fiber foods, but they are beneficial when someone cannot get enough fiber from their diet.
What Are The Symptoms Of Constipation
Symptoms of constipation may include:
- Dry, hard, and lumpy feces
- Passing fewer than three stools per week
- Having to strain or push hard when having a bowel movement
- Feeling like something is stuck in your bowel preventing you from having a bowel movement
- Feeling like you cant fully empty your bowels.
Other conditions, such as hemorrhoids or anal fissures may occur as a result of repeated straining to have a bowel motion. Untreated constipation may lead to fecal impaction or a rectal prolapse .
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Can Constipation Cause Confusion In Older Adults
Constipation can lead to confusion or agitation in several ways. Discomfort from pain and bloating, or frustration of limited time and privacy for bowel movements can all lead to confusion especially in older adults with conditions like dementia. Behavioral training or additional antipsychotic medications may be required in severe cases in which continued constipation could lead to impaction.
How Is Constipation Treated
Improving your diet, fiber and fluid intake may resolve mild forms of constipation. Medicines that treat constipation are called laxatives and there are many different types, such as:
- Bulk-forming laxatives . These absorb water in the bowel and swell to bulk out the stool making it softer and easier to pass
- Emollient stool softeners . These moisten and lubricate the stool making it easier to pass
- Osmotic laxatives draw fluid into the bowel and soften stools
- Stimulant laxatives which promote contraction of the intestines, promoting the movement of stools through the bowel.
People should eat more vegetables and fruit, exercise daily, reduce their consumption of constipation-causing foods , and exercise daily.
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