Nutrition And Dietary Supplements
Consuming additional fiber through the use of supplements can have a positive effect on long-term constipation. Its best, however, to check with your doctor before adding any supplements to your daily diet. Psyllium, a soluble fiber that comes from the shrub-like herb Plantago ovata, can help relieve constipation. The reaction between the psyllium husk and water forms a gelatin-like mass that helps move stool through the intestines. Another soluble fiber, glucomannan, is derived from the root of Amorphophallus konjac. Some studies have shown that it, too, can be helpful with resolving chronic constipation. Although probiotics help to keep the intestines healthy and in good working order, studies using them to treat constipation have yielded mixed results. Some of the most common types of probiotics include Lactobacillus, Bifidobacteria, and Saccharomyces boulardii.
Evidence Supports Raisins As A Constipation Remedy
High in fibre, according to Stanford Childrens Health, raisins also contain tartaric acid, which has a laxative effect. Cherries and apricots are also rich in fibre and can help kick your constipation. Eat these fruits with a bowl of yogurt for the added benefits of gut-soothing probiotics.
Try eating these other foods that are natural laxatives.
What Is New In The Treatment Of Constipation
Each part of the intestine has a network of nerves that controls its muscles. A great deal of research is being done in order to gain an understanding of how these nerves control each other and ultimately the muscles. Much of this research involves the study of neurotransmitters. This research is allowing scientists to develop drugs that stimulate the various nerves of the colon which, in turn, cause the muscles of the colon to contract and propel the colonic contents. Such drugs have great potential to treat constipation that is due to colonic inertia. The first of these drugs approved for use is prucalopride. These drugs are an exciting development because they offer a new treatment for a difficult-to-treat cause of constipation.
Nevertheless, there are many questions about these types of drugs that must be answered. How effective are they? Will they work in many or only a few patients? Will they work in patients who have damaged their nerves with stimulant products? Since these medications are likely to be used for a lifetime, how safe will they be with many years of use? Will they be used indiscriminately in situations for which simple treatments or more appropriate treatments should be used?
Recommended Reading: Ibs And Lettuce
Immediate Relief With Digestive Pills
These types of pills are made to:
- improve bowel movement
- make the pancreas secrete digestive juices
- make the liver secrete bile
- improve digestion
Depending on the time you want to have immediate relief for constipation, Digestive Pills have an almost instant effect. Depending on the type, you can take the pills before, during the meals, between the meals or after them. It also depends on the types of food you eat. Certain foods need different time for digestion. For example, meat digests in 4-6 hours, bread digests in 2-3 hours and fruits digest in no more than 15 minutes.
Better Bladder And Bowel Control: Practical Strategies For Managing Incontinence
Most people take bladder and bowel control for granted until something goes wrong. An estimated 32 million Americans have incontinence, the unintended loss of urine or feces that is significant enough to make it difficult for them to maintain good hygiene and carry on ordinary social and work lives. The good news is that treatments are becoming more effective and less invasive. This Special Health Report, Better Bladder and Bowel Control, describes the causes of urinary and bowel incontinence, and treatments tailored to the specific cause.
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!
Thanks for visiting. Don’t miss your FREE gift.
The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School
Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.
Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School
Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss…from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.
BONUS! Sign up now and get a FREE copy of theBest Diets for Cognitive Fitness
You May Like: Peanut Butter For Acid Reflux
Natural Foods To Treat Constipation
The most common solution for constipation is to add more plant-based fiber to the diet:
1. Prunes: Prunes are perhaps the most common food to eat when constipated. They have a natural laxative effect and they help make the stool softer. In a 2011 study published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, researchers discovered that prunes are more effective than psyllium husk in treating mild to moderate constipation. The study observed 40 people with constipation over an eight-week period.
2. Ground flaxseed: Flaxseeds have a high concentrated source of fiber. A study published in 2011 found that women received constipation relief when ground flaxseed was added to their diets. It is best to grind flaxseeds in a coffee grinder for optimal freshness. One to two tablespoons daily of ground flaxseed is a great addition to smoothies for those prone to constipation. Ground flaxseed also helps increase the frequency of bowel movements.
3. Chia seeds: Chia seeds are also high in fiber, and they can help reduce constipation symptoms however, it all depends on how you consume chia seeds. It is best to pre-soak chia seeds for about 15 minutes. For best results, combine one to two tablespoons of chia seeds with an eight to 12 oz. glass of water daily.
Overall, it is best to consume a whole foods diet that contains nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. Other foods that help relieve constipation include blueberries, kiwi fruit, hemp seeds, and almonds.
Take A Fiber Supplement
Fiber supplements are readily available and effective 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 on . Here are a few common ones:
- calcium polycarvophil
Don’t Miss: Does Pickle Juice Help Heartburn
Lemon Water As A Home Remedy For Constipation
The citric acid in lemon juice acts as a stimulant to your digestive system and can help flush toxins from your body, providing constipation relief. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into a glass of water every morning, or add lemon to tea you may find that the refreshingly tart water not only acts as a natural constipation remedy but also that it helps you drink more water each day, which will improve your long-term digestion. And dont be afraid to warm it up, says the American Cancer Society, sharing that warm or hot fluids can also be a helpful constipation treatment.
Check out these easy ways to improve gut health.
Treatment Of Constipation In Older Adults
CHRISTINE HSIEH, M.D., Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Am Fam Physician. 2005 Dec 1 72:2277-2284.
Constipation is a common complaint in older adults. Although constipation is not a physiologic consequence of normal aging, decreased mobility and other comorbid medical conditions may contribute to its increased prevalence in older adults. Functional constipation is diagnosed when no secondary causes can be identified, such as a medical condition or a medicine with a side effect profile that includes constipation. Empiric treatment may be tried initially for patients with functional constipation. Management of chronic constipation includes keeping a stool diary to record the nature of the bowel movements, counseling on bowel training, increasing fluid and dietary fiber intake, and increasing physical activity. There are a variety of over-the-counter and prescription laxatives available for the treatment of constipation. Fiber and laxatives increase stool frequency and improve symptoms of constipation. If constipation is refractory to medical treatment, further diagnostic evaluation may be warranted to assess for colonic transit time and anorectal dysfunction. Alternative treatment methods such as biofeedback and surgery may be considered for these patients.
SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Review the patients medication list to evaluate for medications that may cause constipation.
SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Also Check: Tramadol For Ibs
What Counts As Constipation Anyway
Its a myth that a daily bowel movement is essential to good health, Wald says. But having fewer than three bowel movements per week, excessive straining, a sense of not being finished, or having hard, lumpy stools are signals you may have constipation.
About 15 percent of Americans suffer from the condition for months and even years, studies show. Women are three times as likely as men to experience constipation, and seniors are also at high risk.
Occasional constipation is quite common, says Brian Lacy, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and co-editor in chief of The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Many patients note a change in their usual bowel habits when they change their daily routine, travel, change their diet , or reduce their level of activity.
But for some people the condition becomes chronic, with uncomfortable symptoms lasting three months or longer.
Could Laxatives Cause Problems With Any Medicines Or Supplements I Take
Laxatives can get in the way of how your body absorbs certain medicines and nutrients. Dont take any other medicines within 2 hours of taking a laxative. If youre taking a prescription medicine of any kind, talk to your doctor before taking a laxative. You also shouldnt mix different types of laxatives. This includes oral laxatives and suppositories. Dont take bisacodyl within 1 hour of taking antacids or drinking milk.
Mineral oil and castor oil are sometimes used as laxatives. They shouldnt be used often. If mineral oil is used often, it can cause deficiencies of vitamins A, D, E, and K. Castor oil is a stimulant laxative. Using it a lot can cause you to lose muscle tone in your bowel. This can lead to long-term constipation. Mineral oil and castor oil also interact with some medicines. These include blood-thinners, antibiotics such as tetracycline, and certain heart and bone medicines.
Don’t Miss: Can Almond Milk Cause Bloating
Eat Foods High In Fiber
You are what you eat isnt just a common saying. It can help you focus on eating the right types of foods that are high in fiber and plant-based so you feel well, says Dr. Garg.
What you eat can affect your bowel habits, your gut microbiome and how you feel in general.
Adding high-fiber foods to your diet can help regulate your bowel movements by bulking up your stool and helping it move through your intestines faster.
These foods are high in fiber:
- Whole-wheat pasta.
Signs Symptoms And Causes
You might feel bloated and have pain, or you might have to strain when you try to go.
Some medicines, and even some vitamins, can make you constipated. You can get constipated if you do not get enough fiber, drink enough water, or get enough exercise. You can also get constipated if you put off going to the bathroom even though you have the urge to go.
Try to get to know your normal bowel movement pattern, so that you can keep constipation from getting worse.
Don’t Miss: Align Probiotic Supplements Reviews
Sometimes The Solution Is Simple
Most cases of acute constipation happen because you are noteating enough of the right foods , drinking enoughwater or getting enough exercise. So the fixes are simple: Move more, drinkmore water and add fiber to your diet to add bulkto your stool.
Some people have success taking probiotics, too, which can change the composition of the bacteria in the gut.
Foods That Cause Constipation
Dairy products: It is best to avoid dairy when feeling constipated. Milk, cheese, and other dairy products are foods that have a long history of causing constipation. Dairy products are considered mucus-forming foods that can slow the transit time of waste during the digestive process. The lactose in dairy is thought to produce the uncomfortable symptoms associated with constipation.
Red meat: Red meat is heavy in fat and does not contain fiber. Foods high in saturated fats move through the intestines slowly and impair digestion. Red meat contains large amounts of the red-colored pigment called myoglobin, which is high in iron. Excessive iron in the diet may harden the stools and lead to constipation.
Gluten-containing foods: Processed foods have very little fiber, and many of them also contain gluten such as cookies, breads, pastas, and baked goods. Gluten sensitivity is often at the core of many digestive disorders, such as IBS or diverticulosis, where constipation is a common symptom.
Stimulants: Alcohol, caffeine, and sugar are stimulants that lead to constipation. Alcohol and caffeine are hard on digestion and can also lead to dehydration. Constipation can result when stools are hard and dry from dehydration. The low fiber in many sugary products can also produce constipation. Alcohol will also cause an electrolyte-loss electrolytes help provide moisture to stools.
Read Also: Acid Reducer Pregnancy
Home Remedies For Constipation Relief
Dietary changes, drinking water, exercise, and taking supplements are among the natural ways to relieve symptoms of constipation. Identifying the factors contributing to constipation can help you decide which remedies are best. A combination of the following remedies may be necessary to treat the problem.
Stop Taking Certain Medicines Or Dietary Supplements
If you think certain medicines or dietary supplements are causing your constipation, talk with your doctor. He or she may change the dose or suggest a different medicine that does not cause constipation. Dont change or stop any medicine or supplement without talking with a health care professional.
Recommended Reading: Bad Lettuce Diarrhea
Increase Dietary Fibre For Constipation Relief
Fibre acts like a pipe cleaner, scrubbing food and waste particles from your digestive tract and soaking up water. It adds bulk to your stool, giving the muscles of your GI tract something to grab on to, so they can keep food moving along. The Mayo Clinic suggests aiming for 20 to 35 grams of fibre a day to stay regular. Foods particularly high in fibre include bran cereals, beans, lentils, oatmeal, almonds, barley, many vegetables, and fresh and dried fruits. All of these things can be home remedies for constipation. If youre constipated and taking in additional fibre, be sure to drink more water than usual to keep your stool soft and easy to pass.
Check out these painless ways to increase your dietary fibre.
When Should I Seek Medical Attention
Make sure the medical intervention is with a functional medicine provider, otherwise you will just get a prescription for a laxative. Seek medical attention if:
- you have not passed a bowel movement in over three days
- there is blood in your stool
- you are having other symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, and gas.
People, especially older adults, often believe they are constipated when they arent. Bowel habits do change with age. The normal range for bowel movements can be from three times per day to three times per week. If you believe you have chronic constipation, consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.Call your doctor if:
- constipation is new for you
- constipation has persisted more than three weeks and youre going three times a week or less
- your stool is hard and difficult to pass
- youre losing weight without trying
- you have severe pain with defecating
- you have blood in your stool
See your doctor to rule out more serious conditions like colorectal cancer or colon inertia. Your doctor may suggest medication to help overcome occasional constipation. ~Healthline
Don’t Miss: Baking Soda For Gerd
Best Drugs For Constipation
Expensive prescription drugs are rarely the answer. Simple over-the-counter options like Miralax, Ex-Lax, or Ducolax usually do the trick.
Based on all the ads for prescription laxatives, you may think that the country is gripped by an epidemic of hard-to-treat constipation. And the Food and Drug Administration seems to think so, too. It has approved five new prescription medications for the problem in the past four years.
But while constipation can be serious and require medical intervention, in many cases lifestyle and diet changes suffice. And when they dont, prescription drugs are usually not needed, says Arnold Wald, MD, a professor of gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
While all the new prescription products provide more treatment options, Wald says, most people dont need them.
Instead, over-the-counter drugs such as polyethylene glycol , bisacodyl , or senna are a far better choice. They tend to work at least as well, often have more evidence for their safety, and are much cheaper.
For example, generic polyethylene glycol costs less than $15 for a months supply. Someone without health insurance would have to shell out $500 monthly or more for many of the prescription drugs.
Heres what you need to know about treating constipation.
What`s The Feeling Of Using Laxatives
First of all, laxatives operate between 4-6 hours. After 6 hours, the first stool evacuation happens . Only after these 5-6 hours, an immediate constipation relief can take place.
In the beginning, laxatives create a small discomfort sensation around the small intestines area. After 2-3 hours, you can feel a slight pain in the intestines. After 6 hours, the large intestine is preparing to get empty and starts to be irritated. That`s the moment when the pain starts to appear. The pain ends only after the entire stool evacuation.
After 6 hours, the side effects of laxatives start to slow down until they disappear . The pain can take longer if the laxative is stronger.
Don’t Miss: Tramadol Ibs