Home remedies for constipation are quick and easy alternatives to costly doctors’ appointments and potentially dangerous medications. Everyone suffers from constipation at one time or another, and while it is tempting to run to your nearest corner store for relief, you may be able to treat your symptoms at home. You may be wondering what is constipation? What are the signs of constipation? And most importantly, how can you treat this condition quickly?
What is Constipation?
Constipation is a problem most people deal will experience at some point in their lives. It occurs when bowel movements become infrequent or too hard to pass. A healthy adult has a bowel movement at least once every three days, but for many people, daily bowel movements are normal. Constipation occurs when you have not had a bowel movement in over three days, or anytime your stool is abnormally hard.
What are the Signs of Constipation?
It may be difficult to tell if you are actually experiencing true constipation. There are a few clues your body will try to give you to tell you something is not right. If you are straining during bowel movements, or you find yourself trying to push on your abdomen to get things moving, this is a good indicator you have constipation. You may also experience a sensation that feels like your bowels are not completely empty after using the restroom.
Anal fissures are also common signs of constipation and they may flair up during your bowel movements. Anal fissures are usually indicated by bright red blood streaks left on toilet paper while cleaning, or by a stinging pain around the rectum as the stool exists the body.
During episodes of constipation, a swollen stomach or stomach pain may be present. Occasionally, vomiting can be experienced as well.
Treating constipation quickly is important for your health. You should seek immediate medical attention if you have severe pain with bowel movements, have blood in your stool, or can only produce pencil thin stools. These are signs of a more serious condition.
While severe constipation is not common, it can happen, and it is serious. Severe constipation may indicate a fecal impaction issue or obstipation. Fecal impaction usually occurs in the elderly or individuals who are confined to their bed. Constipation of this level occurs when the stool is so solid it can no longer be passed naturally.
Obstipation is a form of severe constipation that is caused by an intestinal blockage such as a polyp or cancer. These conditions will need the immediate help of a medical professional.
What Causes Constipation?
While home remedies for constipation will help you when the condition is at its peak, knowing what causes constipation will help prevent the condition all together. Diet is usually directly linked to constipation. If you regularly eat a diet of low fiber foods, or foods that are high in animal fats like dairy and meat, you are more likely to experience constipation.
Not drinking enough water, or consuming too much coffee or alcohol, can also be a cause. These liquids can quickly dehydrate you and not leave enough water in your body to be absorbed by the intestines during digestion. This lack of water will result in hard stools that are difficult to pass.
Many medications can cause constipation too. Some of these medications include antidepressants, iron supplements, and antacids. Drugs that are used to relieve pain, and narcotics, may also list constipation as a side effect.
Less common causes of constipation can include irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. Chronic conditions that affect hormone levels such as diabetes and hypothyroidism may have the same effect. If you experience constipation on a consistent basis, you will want to ensure your chronic health condition is not the cause.
Some populations of people experience constipation more frequently than others. Groups at risk include the elderly, women who are pregnant, individuals living a sedentary lifestyle, and those with mental health conditions, including eating disorders.
Constipation in Pregnancy
Constipation during pregnancy is very common. Pregnant women experience higher rates of constipation for many reasons. When a woman is pregnant, the levels of the hormone progesterone begin to rise in her body. This hormone decreases the movement in the digestive tract. In addition, the uterus may grow so large, that it blocks the normal flow of stool in the intestines.
Pregnant women also take pre-natal vitamins which are high in iron. This iron, as well as other dietary changes that are followed during pregnancy, can contribute to constipation too. Dehydration, as well as less physical activity in pregnancy, can also be common causes.
Constipation in Kids
Unfortunately, constipation in infants and children is a common problem. Newborn constipation, while alarming, is usually very rare. This is because a baby’s diet is mostly liquid, and constipation is typically only experienced if the baby develops an allergy to proteins in milk.
However, infant constipation occurring after six months of age happens frequently. This is because babies of this age can begin experimenting with solid foods. This dietary change can equal big problems for baby’s tummy. When introducing solid foods to your baby, do not offer too many different types of foods in a short amount of time to avoid constipation.
Constipation in babies, and constipations in toddlers, is usually linked to diet, however toilet training toddlers may be experiencing constipation due to a different cause. Anxiety or embarrassment about using the bathroom, or a fear of defecating in general, can cause a toddler to hold their bowel movements. When children habitually avoid going to the toilet, it can quickly lead to constipation.
How to Avoid it?
There are many things you can do to prevent constipation. Staying hydrated, eating a high fiber diet, and exercising regularly, will help you avoid this painful condition. Avoid foods that cause constipation like dairy, processed foods, and sweets. Learn about any possible side effects your medications have and communicate any issues to your doctor.
If you are currently experiencing symptoms of constipation, it is not too late! We can teach you how to cure constipation without a prescription!
Natural Remedies for Constipation
Home remedies for constipation are usually very effective for treatment. A home remedy for constipation is something you can make with ingredients already in your kitchen. Home remedies are often safer, and more convenient than relying on medications with potentially long lists of side effects. If you need to know how to relieve constipation fast, look in your pantry now.
There are many home remedies that act as a natural laxative including:
Aloe vera: Aloe vera is packed with a compound called anthraquinone. This compound acts as a laxative by increasing the water available in your digestive tract. This increase in water can help soften stools and speed up intestinal movement.
Coconut water: Coconut water is full of electrolytes and has a massive hydrating effect. Drink coconut water in moderation to relieve your constipation, but be careful to not drink too much! It is known to cause very soft stools when taken in high amounts.
Prune juice: Almost everyone knows you can use prune juice for constipation. Prunes are high in potassium and fiber and their laxative effect comes from their high sorbitol levels. Prune juice is so effective it is important watch the amount you drink closely.
Foods for Constipation
While diet is a common cause for constipation, constipation relief can come from your diet too. The best foods for constipation include natural options such as:
Spinach: Spinach and other leafy greens are good sources of magnesium. Magnesium is a popular treatment for constipation because it has a stool softening effect.
Bananas: Bananas are very high in fiber and their soft texture makes them easy to digest. When using bananas as a part of your diet for constipation, avoid eating those that are green and unripe. Only ripe bananas will help your symptoms. Unripe varieties can make constipation worse.
Beans: Beans are a good source of dietary fiber and they will make your stools pass easier. Any variety including pinto, kidney, and garbanzo, will help relieve your constipation.
Seeds: Seeds can be incredibly helpful when treating constipation. Chia, flaxseed, and psyllium can be added to many of your favorite foods, including smoothies, to ease your symptoms.
Peanut butter: Every serving of peanut butter provides roughly 10% of your daily recommended fiber intake. Add peanut butter to your favorite snacks like celery or apples to get an added boost of constipation fighting nutrition.
When deciding what to eat for constipation look for foods high in fiber and nutrients like magnesium. Foods that are high in fiber should always be consumed with water. Not staying hydrated while eating fiber rich foods will only lead to more constipation.
Do Enemas Work To Relief Symptoms Of Constipation?
While generally unpleasant, an enema for constipation can work quickly and safely. There are many over the counter options you can choose for enemas, but natural enemas exist too.
Saline: You can make a saline solution enema at home with warm distilled water and two teaspoons of table salt. You will want to make sure you have enema bags and enema tubes readily available too.
Milk & Molasses: Milk and molasses are used as enemas for constipation. Simply mix equal parts milk and molasses and the process is complete.
Fleet: The Fleet enema is a brand name mineral oil enema. It uses sodium phosphate to treat constipation. It comes with all the tools necessary for treatment, but it must be found at your local drugstore.
Enemas can be very dangerous if not done properly. They can result in electrolyte imbalances and dehydration. Before choosing an enema as your course of treatment, speak with your doctor about your symptoms.
What About Magnesium Supplements?
Many people claim that taking magnesium for constipation is an effective way to treat this condition. This is a decision you should discuss with your doctor.
While having a balanced diet of magnesium rich foods is often one of the suggested home remedies for constipation, supplements come with many risks. It is important to not get too much magnesium in your diet, as it may cause serious gastrointestinal and cardiovascular effects.
Does Castor Oil Work For Curing Constipation?
Can you use castor oil for constipation? Absolutely! Castor oil is an extremely effective laxative and your doctor even relies on it to treat patients prior to surgery. However, castor oil may cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain. It is important to consult this option with your doctor when you are wondering what to take for constipation.
Can Suppositories Help Relieve Constipation?
While a suppository for constipation will work, the most common options will be prescription or over the counter remedies. While effective, they do come with a long list of possible side effects. When you need to know how to stop constipation, it is always best to stick with natural remedies.
What About Children With Constipation Pain?
You can use a lot of the same home remedies for constipation in kids that you use as an adult. Keeping a child hydrated is the most important first step in treatment, however a diet of whole fruit and fiber rich foods is important too. While laxatives and castor oil are typically safe for children, you should always consult your pediatrician before using these options.
When you need to know how to relieve the pain, it is important to understand what is causing your symptoms. While these natural remedies will work for short term relief, the best thing you can do for your body is to eliminate the cause of your constipation if possible. You can also check our guide to cure diarrhea naturally, it can give you a few more tips on keeping a healthy gut flora. There are many prescriptions on the market to help with your symptoms. But what helps constipation in the most safe and convenient way is home remedies. Remember what you put in your body can cause constipation, but it can also treat it as well.