Constipation is one of the most common digestive complaints in the US accounting for almost 2.5 million visits to the doctor each year. Constipation can affect anyone although it is more common in women and people above 65 years of age. Women also tend to experience constipation more during pregnancy and after childbirth or surgery. There are certain natural remedies that could be adopted for relief from constipation.
It is insoluble fiber that gives stools bulk and soft texture making it easy to pass. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel like substance in the intestines. Foods rich in insoluble fiber are whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Wheat bran, brown rice and whole grain bread are best taken to relieve constipation. Prunes and figs are soluble fiber and they could be consumed during breakfast time or as a snack.
Flaxseed, about one teaspoon, could be sprinkled over any meal and taken. They have a mild nutty taste and can do wonders to keep away constipation. A teaspoon of flaxseed should be added in a glass of water and allowed to rest for two to three hours. This can be consumed before sleep. Alternatively fiber husks, psyllium supplements such as Metamucil are also available for similar use. It is essential to drink plenty of water with fiber as it could have the opposite effect and precipitate constipation instead.
Water helps to dissipate constipation. Fluids make bowel movements softer and stools easier to pass. Nevertheless, consumption of alcoholic beverages and caffeinated ones can cause dehydration.
Home remedies for constipation
There are stimulant laxatives which could be consumed for short term treatments for improved daily bowel movement. They include:
However, it is advised to use these stimulants under medical supervision as prolonged use can cause the bowels to lose the ability to move on their own.
Deficiency of mineral magnesium may contribute to constipation. Magnesium is found in natural foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains and in supplements and can be consumed suitably.
Other natural herbal remedies for constipation
Management of constipation:
Do's and Don'ts: