Constipation is very harmful and painful. However, you can treat it easily using natural remedies at home. There are a lot of reasons that may cause constipation like dehydration or insufficient dietary fibers in your meal. Constipation is also common in some people who do not exercise or work out. Constipation may also be caused as a side effect of some medicines. The best treatment for constipation is by changing your diet and lifestyle. You need to take healthy food in your diet and do exercises for smooth bowel movements in your intestines. But if you experience any pain or blood in your stool then you should consult a doctor for proper treatment.
- Drink more water: If your body is dehydrated due to less water intake or excessive loss of water from the body, it may cause constipation. If you don’t drink plenty of water, your stool gets dry and hard which in turn causes constipation. If you take high quantity fibers in your diet it may also cause dehydration in your body. Drink plenty of water to maintain the water level of your body. Water will wet and moist your intestines for smooth movement of stool and make stool soft and wet. Men should take 3 liters of water while for women 2.2 liters is necessary to prevent constipation. You should avoid alcoholic and caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea because they are diuretic and increase urine production. This may lead to excess water loss and cause constipation. While other Beverages like juice and shakes are healthy for you and increase water level in your body.
- Include fiber to your diet gradually: Dietary fibers play an important role in constipation. Fiber deficiency is also a reason that may cause constipation. Try to increase fiber intake in your diet. However, high quantities of fiber may cause dryness and hardness of stool and absorb all your body fluid. So you need to gradually increase your fiber intake in your diet to prevent constipation. With increasing dietary fibers in your diet, you also need to increase your water intake to overcome the dehydration caused by fibers. Men should take 30 to 38 gm of fibers and women should take 21 to 25 gm of fibers daily in their diet to prevent constipation. Fiber may cause gas and bloating in your stomach. You can also take fiber supplements to overcome fiber deficiency. You should eat fiber rich diet in your meals such as:
- Fruits, especially those whose skin is edible; like apples and grapes etc.
- Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, carrots, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, artichokes, and green beans.
- Beans like kidney, navy, garbanzo, pinto, lima, lentils and black-eyed peas, etc.
- Green leafy vegetables like collard, mustard beet greens, Swiss chard etc
- Whole grains like brown rice, popcorn, barley etc.
- Seeds and nuts like pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, flax seeds, almonds, walnuts, and pecans.
- Eat a serving of prunes, then wait a few hours: Prunes are dried plums that are sweet in taste and high in fiber. It also contains sorbitol, a sugar that smooths your bowel passage and prevents constipation. Take 3 prunes or about 30 grams. After taking prunes wait for a while to pass prune through your digestive system. Increasing the quantity of prunes may lead to diarrhea.
- Avoid all types of dairy products: Don’t take cheese and dairy products such as milk to prevent constipation. They contain lactose that causes gastric issues, bloating and constipation. You need to avoid cheese, milk and dairy products in your meals if you are suffering from constipation. Once your constipation has been treated and your stool gets soft and wet, gradually start including these products in your diet to prevent calcium deficiency. However, you can keep taking yogurt in your diet because it contains probiotics like Bifidobacterium longum or Bifidobacterium animalis which smoothen your bowel passage and keep your stool wet and moist.
- Consume bulking agents to pass stool more easily: There are many moderate herbs which help to wet and moist your stool and treat constipation. You may get these dietary supplements in tablets, pills, and capsules at drug stores or pharmacies. You can also order some of these online. Take these dietary supplements with lots of water and make sure to consult your doctor before adding a new supplement in your diet, especially if you’re taking other medicines or you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Psyllium is a chemical which is used to prepare dietary supplements like Metamucil. You can also take 1 tbsp or 7 grams of ground flaxseed in your cereal to increase fibers and Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Take baked products like muffins with yogurt. Fenugreek is a good source of fiber and supplements of fenugreek are also available in the market. Take one supplement of fenugreek to smooth bowel passage and wet your stool. Consult a doctor before taking fenugreek supplement if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Take a magnesium supplement or magnesium-based laxative: Magnesium plays an important role to prevent constipation. Magnesium will wet and soften your stool and also moist your intestinal wall for smooth bowel movement. But if you’re on medications for other problems like taking antibiotics, muscle relaxants or blood pressure medicines, then you should consult with the doctor before taking magnesium supplements because it would react with these medicines and cause problems. Instead of supplements you can also get magnesium from many dietary sources such as broccoli and legumes. The other ways to get magnesium are:
- You can get magnesium by mixing 1 teaspoon or 10-30 g of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) in 180–240 ml of water. This mixture has an unpleasant taste but it helps to treat your constipation within 30 minutes.
- Magnesium citrate is also available as supplements in the form of capsules and tablets. Consult a doctor for the dosage and take it with a glass of water.
- Magnesium hydroxide or milk of magnesia is also used to prevent constipation.
Take mineral oil which helps stool pass smoothly: Drinking mineral oil will help you to prevent constipation. Mineral oil will moisturize your intestinal walls to pass the bowel smoothly and without any obstruction. Mineral oil will soften and wet your stool to pass from rectum easily without damaging the walls. Mineral oil is easily available at medical stores and pharmacies. Mix mineral oil in 240 ml of cold water and juice and drink it. Avoid drinking mineral oil before consulting your doctor if you have any health problems like food or medication allergies, pregnancy, heart failure, appendicitis, trouble swallowing, stomach pain, nausea or vomiting, rectal bleeding, or kidney problems. Don’t give mineral oil to children younger than 6 years old and don’t drink it too much because it absorbs all your essential vitamins like vitamins A, B, C, D, E and F.