Constipation is a common gastrointestinal disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by infrequent bowel movements, hard stools, and difficulty passing stools. If left untreated, constipation can lead to other health issues such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and colon cancer.
This article will explore the top 10 tips and tricks to relieve constipation and promote regular bowel movements, including dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, and natural remedies. These strategies are backed by scientific evidence and are effective in improving digestion and bowel regularity.
Whether you’re dealing with chronic constipation or just the occasional bout, these solutions can help you achieve the relief you need.
Is constipation common?
Constipation is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. The prevalence of constipation varies depending on the population being studied, but it is estimated that between 2% and 27% of the general population experiences constipation.
It is more common in older adults, women, and people with certain medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes. It is also more common in people who are sedentary, have a low-fiber diet, or take certain medications.
Constipation is a symptom, not a disease, and various factors may cause it. If you’re experiencing constipation, you must consult a healthcare professional to determine the cause and find the appropriate treatment.
What Are the Symptoms of Constipation?
The symptoms of constipation can vary from person to person, but common symptoms include the following:
- Infrequent bowel movements: Having fewer than three bowel movements per week is considered constipation.
- Hard, dry stools: Constipation can cause stools to become hard and difficult to pass.
- Straining during bowel movements: Constipation can cause the need to strain to have a bowel movement.
- Abdominal pain or discomfort: Constipation can cause abdominal pain, bloating, and despair.
- Incomplete bowel movements: Constipation can cause the feeling of not being able to empty the bowels after a bowel movement completely.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Visible distention or swelling of the abdomen
10 Ways How To Relieve Constipation Naturally
Increase your water intake: Drinking enough water is essential for maintaining regular bowel movements. Aim for at least 8 glasses of water a day.
Eat more fiber: A diet high in fiber can help promote regular bowel movements. Aim for at least 25 grams of fiber per day.
Exercise regularly: Physical activity helps to stimulate the muscles in your gut, promoting regular bowel movements.
Don’t ignore the urge to go: Holding in bowel movements can lead to constipation. Make sure to use the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge.
Take a probiotic: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help improve gut health and regularity.
Use a natural laxative: Certain fruits, vegetables, and herbs such as prunes, figs, psyllium, and flaxseed can act as natural laxatives.
Try an Epsom salt bath: A warm bath with Epsom salt can help relax the muscles in your gut and promote regular bowel movements.
Try yoga or other relaxation techniques: Stress can contribute to constipation, so practicing yoga or other relaxation techniques can help reduce stress and promote regular bowel movements.
Avoid foods that can cause constipation: Processed foods, dairy products, and foods high in sugar can all contribute to constipation.
Consult a doctor: If you have tried these natural remedies and your constipation persists, it may be a good idea to consult a doctor to rule out any underlying health conditions.
Can constipation cause internal damage leading to other health problems?
If left untreated, constipation can lead to several health problems, such as:
Hemorrhoids: Straining to have a bowel movement can cause the veins in the rectum and anus to become swollen and painful.
Anal fissures: Constipation can cause tiny tears in the lining of the anus, leading to pain and bleeding. Rectal prolapse: In severe cases, constipation can cause the rectum to protrude through the anus. Fecal impaction: When stool becomes hard and dry, it can become difficult or impossible to pass, resulting in a buildup of stool in the rectum and colon.
Diverticulosis: Constipation can cause small pouches (diverticula) to form in the colon, becoming inflamed and infected. Abdominal distention: Constipation can cause bloating and discomfort due to the accumulation of gas and feces in the colon. Increased risk of colon cancer: Chronic constipation can increase the risk of colon cancer.
Urinary tract problems: Holding in bowel movements for too long can put pressure on the bladder and urinary tract, leading to issues such as urinary incontinence and urinary tract infections.
It is important to note that constipation is a symptom, not a disease. If you’re experiencing constipation, consult a healthcare professional to find the underlying cause and avoid complications.
Major Constipation Causes
There are several potential causes of constipation, including:
Diet: A diet low in fiber and high in processed foods can lead to constipation.
Lack of physical activity: Leading a sedentary lifestyle can slow down the muscles in the gut and lead to constipation.
Dehydration: Not drinking enough water can make stools harder and more challenging to pass.
Medications: Certain medications, such as opioids, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications, can cause constipation.
Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause can lead to constipation.
Neurological conditions: Certain neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries, can affect the gut muscles and lead to constipation.
Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as IBS, IBD, and thyroid disorders, can lead to constipation.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Colonic inertia: It is a condition that can cause constipation due to the muscles in the colon not working properly.
Psychological factors: stress, anxiety, and depression can affect the gut muscles and lead to constipation.
Constipation can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition affecting millions worldwide. The good news is that there are several effective strategies for relieving constipation, including dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, and natural remedies.
By incorporating these tips and tricks into your daily routine, you can help to promote regular bowel movements and achieve the relief you need. Not all remedies work for everyone, and you must consult a healthcare professional if your constipation persists or if you have any underlying health conditions.
Remember, the key to relieving constipation is finding the best approach for you and making it a part of your daily routine. You can improve your overall health and well-being by taking control of your digestion.