Are you finding it difficult to pass stool and perhaps looking for natural ways to relieve constipation? In today’s blog post, we explore what constipation is and some natural ways to help relieve the situation.
Constipation can commonly be described as infrequent bowel movements or the inability to pass stool regularly for several weeks. On rare occasions, chronic constipation can be uncomfortable and distressing enough to restrict your daily activities.
While constipation can cause significant discomfort, it’s not a disease in itself but rather considered a symptom. Constipation can occur for several reasons, and it’s usually not life threatening. However, some cases may require medical attention, like when it results from a blockage in your large intestine.
So What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Constipation?
There are several possible causes of constipation and it can be an uncomfortable situation to cope with. It is quite a common gastrointestinal issue suffered by many people. Constipation occurs when food passes sluggishly through your digestive tract. During this time, the colon has enough time to absorb water from the waste, causing the faeces to harden. The longer the stool stays in the colon, the more it dries out and becomes hard to pass. Some causes of constipation include:
- Lack of adequate physical activity
- Poor diet
- Magnesium deficiency
- As a side effect of certain medications
- More likely in older individuals who are less active and often have slow metabolism
- Not incorporating enough fiber in your diet
- Hormonal problems
- It may be an underlying effect of a much bigger health problem
There are certain symptoms that can help you identify when you are suffering from constipation. Some of them include the following:
- You find it difficult or strain when stooling
- Stool less than 3 times in a week
- Your stool is dry and hard in consistency
- Experiencing pain and/or cramps when stooling
- May feel bloated due to inability to pass stool properly
- Stools that are hard or painful to pass
- Feeling unable to completely empty your bowels
What Are the Natural Ways to Relieve Constipation?
We all experience constipation sometimes, and this may be due to diet or lifestyle choices, poor bathroom habits, hormones or even as a side effect of certain medications. Mild constipation isn’t life threatening and can be treated easily by switching up certain lifestyle choices. Below we share the top 4 natural ways to relieve constipation.
1. Drink Enough Water to Stay Hydrated
When your body losses more fluids than it consumes, dehydration can occur and promote constipation. The colon absorbs water from the stool, and if you don’t have enough fluid in your body it can become difficult to empty your bowels.
Drinking adequate amounts of water helps you to prevent and relieve constipation. It aids the food in moving through your digestive system properly— preventing your stool from hardening. Additionally, drinking room temperature liquids especially first thing in the morning, may help stimulate digestion. Remember to avoid certain liquids that can increase your risk of dehydration and worsen your constipation, like alcohol.
2. Avoid Bad Bathroom Habits
Ever felt the need to “hold it in” sometimes? Well it’s not a good idea at all. Habitually skipping your bathroom breaks can increase the risk of fecal impaction or lead to complications. The longer you hold it off, the harder the stool becomes making it difficult to pass. For example, just because you are away from home doesn’t mean you should ignore the urge to go. This may cause the urge to gradually wane until you no longer feel the desire to go.
Also, setting up and following through on a schedule helps. Always try to go to the bathroom first thing when you wake up and before bedtime. You may be able to ward off future bouts of constipation by getting up and moving around at the same time every day.
3. Add Enough Fiber to Your Diet
Adding enough dietary fiber in your diet is vital, as it increases the weight, size, and consistency of bowel movements. It is popular for its ability to prevent or treat mild cases of constipation. Fiber can be found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes — such as berries, apples, broccoli, bananas, prunes, or beans.
There are two types of fiber — soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool and stimulates the movement of material through your digestive system. This makes it easier to pass stool and relieve constipation, for those who suffer irregular stools.
4. Natural Ways to Relieve Constipation: Increase Physical Activity
A sedentary lifestyle can promote constipation. Increasing your physical activity or exercise levels is one of the best natural ways to relieve constipation. Working out improves slow metabolism and aids bowel movement. For instance, it can stimulate the muscles in your intestines and colon.
Staying active can help keep your digestive system running efficiently. Try to work-out regularly and make physical activity a part of your daily routine. You may be surprised that the right amount of exercise is what’s required to provide you relief.