Constipation Treatment: Know The Best Ways To Get Rid Of It Permanently
Medically, constipation is defined as passing fewer than three stools per week. Here are some useful constipation remedies
Constipation can make you feel annoyed, uncomfortable and stuck up
- Chronic constipation can lead to anal fissure
- Low-fibre diet can cause constipation
- Exercising regularly is important for preventing constipation
Constipation, the C of the ABC (Acidity, Bloating, Constipation) of digestive issues, can make you feel annoyed, uncomfortable and stuck up. Constipation is defined medically as passing fewer than three stools per week. But it also encompasses many more symptoms like infrequent bowel movements, straining when passing a stool which could be hard or small, a sense of unsatisfactory or incomplete evacuation with lower abdominal discomfort and bloating. This could also be accompanied by stomach ache, cramps, nausea and loss of appetite.
Also read: Do You Have Acidity? Know The Best Ways To Get Rid Of It Once For All
Chronic constipation can lead to complications like anal fissure, rectal bleeding, piles/hemorrhoids. Constipation is usually caused by the slow movement of material through the colon. Constipation can be of different types - age-related, travel-related, pregnancy-related, occasional or chronic. The lifestyle factors that cause constipation include:
1. Low fiber intake or change in diet can lead to change in bowel movements. When you start a new weight-loss program, or suddenly start taking high-protein diets, high-fat diets, too much processed foods or caffeine, it can trigger constipation. Alcohol dehydrates the system and can cause constipation too.
2. Lack of exercise or sedentary lifestyle can slow down metabolism, which causes constipation. Aged people tend to have a sedentary life and hence prone to constipation.
3. Insufficient intake of fluids leads to constipation.
4. Certain medications, especially painkillers, diuretics and anti-depressants, and some supplements (like iron and spirulina) can lead to constipation. You may need to take a stool softener or fibre supplement alongside such medicines.
5. An underlying condition like irritable bowel syndrome
6. Prolonged use of laxatives and then withdrawal
7. Hormonal disorders like hypothyroidism can also alter bowel movements
Also read: Do You Feel Bloated? Know The Best Ways To Get Rid Of Bloating
FAQ: How can I have a normal bowel movement?
How to treat constipation?
Occasional or travel-related constipation usually resolves by itself. If the cause is an underlying condition, then the condition needs to be resolved. However most cases of constipation can be treated with the following diet and lifestyle changes:
1. Increasing fiber intake - A daily fiber intake of 25-30 grams is recommended. 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day are recommended. Intake of refined cereals must be avoided. Whole grains, whole pulses, nuts and seeds are a good source of fiber apart from a host of other nutrients. Prunes are a great source of fiber too; 2-4 prunes a day can help up your daily intake.
2. Regular exercise - It not only stimulates the external muscles, but also the internal muscles. Increased physical activity and regular exercise helps to regularize peristaltic movement in the gut and improves bowel movement.
3. Improve hydration - Water is essential for all metabolic activities, especially digestion. Increasing water intake helps in smooth bowel movements. An intake of 3 liters of water a day can be beneficial. People suffering from constipation can consume a liter of water, early morning to facilitate smooth bowel movement.
4. Avoid holding in stools - respond to your body's natural urges. Set aside enough time for satisfactory evacuation. Elevate your feet and keep them on a stool so that your knees are above hip-level or use Indian style commode.
5. Probiotics containing Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus are beneficial in relieving constipation.
6. Over-the-counter Laxatives - If diet and lifestyle changes do not help relieve constipation, you may have to resort to OTC laxatives. A lot of options are available, but these must be used as a last resort, and with caution, to avoid over-use and avoid forming a habit.
1. Stimulants - make the muscles in the intestine contract rhythmically.
Read: How can irregular bowels be managed?
2. Lubricants - help the stool to move down the colon easily. Mineral oils and fish oils are often used as lubricants.
3. Stool softeners - soften the stool for easy movement
4. Osmotics - facilitate the movement of fluids in the colon. A magnesium citrate supplement is a fairly quick constipation remedy.
5. Fiber supplements - also called bulking agents are by far the safest available laxatives. Psyllium husk is a popular and safe bulking agent. It must be taken with plenty of water.
6. Ayurveda - Many people have benefited from taking Triphala tablets. Take 2-3 Triphala tablets with warm water at bedtime.
Most importantly, the lifestyle changes adopted should be permanent to prevent repeated episodes or chronic form of constipation and to prevent its complications.
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