Are you having a hard time giving it a go inside the bathroom? In case you finally felt the urge to release, you may have noticed that yours is hard, dry and painful.
You must be constipated, which is America’s most frequent gastrointestinal complaint. In fact, constipation is responsible for at least 2.5 million visits to the doctor’s office per year. If you are one of the many sufferers, you could contribute to the hundreds of millions of dollars that are spent on laxatives.
Despite the discomfort, the good news is, there are ways on how to avoid constipation. Check out these 17 tips to prevent constipation – and to make pooping easier and less painful:
1. The Benefits of Starting Your Day with High Fiber Cereal
Laxatives may be your first choice when you are constipated. The truth is all you need is fiber and you are good to go. There are two types of fiber, including:
- Soluble – This type of fiber makes stools softer and larger and allows water to remain in your stool to make them easier to pass in your intestines.
- Insoluble – This type of fiber adds bulk to your stool to make the passage through your gut easier and to prevent constipation.
Both types of fiber are important on how to avoid constipation naturally. Therefore, start your day with high-fiber cereal or at least fill your diet with fruits, whole wheat bread, nuts, and seeds. Your digestive system will thank you for it.
In relation to fiber, try this next trick.
2. Whole Grain Breads: A Must Have in Every Constipated Patient
Here’s a simple exercise for you: go to your kitchen pantry and list the foods you have. Does your kitchen have whole grain breads in it? If not, then you might want to consider adding this food item, especially if you are having a hard time inside the bathroom.
What’s in whole grain breads, anyway?
You know that fiber is among the simplest ways on how to prevent constipation naturally. It turns out that whole grain bread is among the excellent sources of fiber, giving you 1.9 grams of fiber per slice. This helps in minimizing the possibility of constipation.
Don’t confine yourself to whole wheat flour. Ingredients like bran, rye, oats and barley are also grains that are rich in fiber. Make it a habit to read the ingredients to ensure that what you are paying for is rich in fiber.
3. Add Fiber Supplements to Your Routine: How to Make the Most of Them
You might be unsure as to how much fiber you are getting every day. There is also a constant worry that despite adding fiber in your diet, you will feel that this is not enough.
This is where fiber supplements come in.
Fiber supplements contain “functional fiber,” which are extracted from natural sources like lignin, pectin, psyllium, gum and cellulose. They come in various forms, such as powders, capsules, and even chewable tablets. Similar to natural fiber, fiber supplements also help in preventing constipation.
Here are tips on how to use fiber supplements safely to make sure you get the most out them:
- Go slow and don’t add too much fiber too quickly to your diet to avoid side effects like bloating and cramping.
- Drink a glass of water after taking the supplement.
- Keep yourself hydrated when you take fiber supplements.
- Minimize your intake of fiber supplements as much as possible to avoid affecting your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
Before heading to the drugstore, make sure to take note of these tips to avoid possible complications. This means goodbye constipation, as well.
4. Keep Yourself Hydrated: How to Prevent Constipation Just Like Your Grandmother Did
There is a reason why you are required to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Aside from quenching your thirst and keeping you hydrated, water is among the simplest ways on how to prevent constipation.
Water makes it easier for food to move through your intestines and at the same time, keeps your intestines flexible and smooth. It also prevents your large intestines from soaking up water from your food wastes, thereby minimizing constipation.
Drink up. Whether you are on meds, travelling, or looking for ways on how to avoid constipation during pregnancy, make sure you are keeping yourself hydrated.
In relation to hydration, read this next tip to help you in your bowel movements.
5. A Cup of Joe a Day Keeps Constipation at Bay
Good news, coffee lovers. According to a study published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, coffee has a softening effect on stools, thereby aids in minimizing constipation.
Still, this doesn’t mean you should drink a big jug of coffee everyday day. Aside from your high-fiber cereal, you can stick to one cup of coffee, preferably in the morning. The caffeine content in coffee might yield a different result if you prefer this drink more coffee than water. Stick to a maximum of two cups, and you can say goodbye to constipation in no time.
Not a fan of coffee? Then try this next tip that helps in how to avoid constipation after delivery.
6. For the Chocolate Lovers in the House: A Sweet Remedy for Constipation
Citing the same study above, 48 to 64 percent of the subject respondents reported that chocolate helped them ease constipation’s symptoms. On the other hand, there are people who claim that chocolates caused trouble inside the bathroom.
So, what’s the real score?
The truth is, it depends on how your body reacts. Some experts theorize that the added ingredients in a chocolate bar, such as milk and sugar are responsible for constipation. On the other hand, a study published in the journal, Pediatrics, showed that cocoa husks, a component found outside cocoa beans helped on how to avoid constipation in toddlers.
The best way to address this controversy surrounding chocolates is to go for dark chocolates with at least 70 percent cocoa content. If you want to eat something with a milk variant, try eating a piece to see how your body will react. If you don’t feel the need to rush to the bathroom, then you are good to go.
7. Understanding the Connection Between Exercise and Constipation
There are hundred and one ways why you should include physical activities in your routine. Aside from helping you lose weight, exercise is also an effective way to prevent constipation.
How is it possible? Here’s how:
- Exercise strengthens and tones your colon walls to make digestion easier.
- Aerobic exercises increases blood flow to your organs, thereby bringing more blood to your gastrointestinal tract.
- Regular physical activity leads to more digestive enzymes and stronger intestinal contractions, which leads to quicker disposal of food wastes.
Your physical activity depends on your choice. To help you get started, try waling, biking, running or swimming. Believe it or not, a 20-minute walk can already do so much against constipation. This is also helpful in case you need some aid on how to avoid constipation while traveling.
8. Take a Look at Your Eating Habits Since They May be the Culprit
Sorry to break it to you, but how you eat can also lead to digestion issues. Apparently, this might be challenging to break since how you eat, frequency of eating, and even how you portion your food are something you developed when you were younger.
Nonetheless, here are eating habits that will help you minimize the possibility of getting constipated:
- Avoid overeating since it puts strain on your digestive system and slows down digestion.
- Chew your food properly.
- Listen to your body and eat whenever it tells you it is hungry.
- Keep a food diary to help you keep track of everything you eat including your body’s reaction to particular foods.
- Eat regularly.
Changing your eating habits and replacing them with these will definitely help you in preventing constipation. Take it one step at a time.
9. When There is a Need to Unload, Go Ahead and Give It a Go
Let’s say you are in the middle of an exam, an important meeting, or on your way home when you felt the urge. What will you do? Most of the time, you’ll hold on to your poop, and let go once the situation is favorable to you.
Here’s the catch: suppressing your urge could be dangerous than you think. Holding your poop puts unnecessary burden on both digestive tract and nervous system. This could cause buildup of wastes in your digestive tract and may cause health issues like:
You know the drill. The next time you feel the urge, excuse yourself and find the nearest bathroom. You don’t want to experience any of these conditions, do you?
You’re just warming up. There are more tips on how to avoid constipation in babies and adults, so make sure you stick around until the end.
10. How to Avoid Constipation with the Help of Air-Popped Popcorn
What do you usually eat when you are constipated? Most of the time, you will reach for fiber-rich foods to ease constipation symptoms. Did you know that air-popped popcorn can also be an effective remedy against constipation?
Air-popped popcorn is a good source of fiber, a component essential for preventing constipation. In fact, three cups of unsalted and no butter popcorn has almost four grams of fiber, similar to one cup of brown rice.
The next time you head to the convenience store or grocery store, make sure you add popcorn to your shopping cart. This is also a great snack, instead of snacking on a bag of greasy, salty potato chips that only add to your weight.
11. Probiotics: A Backed-Up-by-Science Study That Makes Bowel Movements Easier
What comes to your mind when you hear the term, “probiotics?” Most of the time, you will associate this component with the gut and diarrhea problems.
Here’s the secret: a study revealed that probiotics also makes it easier for you to poop.
According to the said study, probiotics helped in slowing down gut transit time by 12.4 hours and increased your trips to the bathroom every week. That’s not all. It also helped soften your stools to make them easier to pass, thanks to the bifidobacterium component.
Apparently, experts are still unsure as to what specific type of probiotic strain can effectively address constipation. In the meantime, it is best to add yogurt and other fermented foods to your diet.
Now that you are acquainted with the gut, try Intensive Colon Cleanse by Digestive Science. Apart from providing relief against constipation, it also helps flushing the harmful toxic buildup in your colon and minimizing gas and bloating.
12. Choose Your Foods Wisely by Snacking on These Foods
What do you usually eat during snack time? Admit it. You are often tempted eat potato chips or a cookie to help you last through the day. While they may not directly lead to constipation, junk and processed foods could cause your pouch on the stomach area.
What’s your alternative?
Try nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. Dried fruits, particularly prunes, dried apricots and figs are rich in fiber, which are helpful against tummy trouble. Dried berries, plums, rhubarb and raisins are also helpful in relieving constipation.
On the other hand, nuts like walnuts, almonds and peanuts are also rich in fiber and protein, which can ease constipation symptoms. They are heart-healthy too, which means more blood in your digestive tract.
Make your own trial mix using dried fruits and nuts and munch on them to get you going. The best part is it’s not too heavy on the belly, as well.
13. Prune Juice: A Time and Tested Solution on How to Prevent Constipation
You know that water and hydration are important in preventing constipation. When it comes to hydration, one name also stands out from the rest: prune juice.
What’s with prune juice?
Based on a study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, dried plums and derivatives like prune juice prevent constipation and possibly, even colon cancer. In fact, prunes and prune juice might even be more effective than other laxatives to provide relief against this gastrointestinal condition because of its natural fiber content.
In case you want it more effective, go for dried plums. Prune juice is filtered, which means some of the fiber content was lost during the manufacturing process. Nonetheless, four to eight ounces is enough to get things going inside the bathroom.
Prune juice is also helpful as a means on how to avoid constipation after surgery. The next time someone visits the supermarket, make sure to include this drink to make it easier for you to pass stools.
14. Flaxseed and Constipation: Understanding the Healing Connection
There are many reasons why you should include flaxseed in your diet. It contains essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy.
Here comes the surprising part: flaxseed can also be among the effective remedies against constipation. Flaxseed may be tiny, but the components found in this ingredient help in providing relief against constipation symptoms like pain and bloating. More importantly, it reduces bouts of constipation, which means you are able to release the toxins and wastes inside your body.
Check out below to find out various ways on how to include flaxseed in your diet:
- Add to fresh fruit juices and smoothies.
- Sprinkle on high-fiber cereals or yogurt.
- Combine with baked goods.
- Mix with meatloaf and sauce recipes.
You can get your supply on health food stores, so make sure you get one.
15. Dandelion Tea for Constipation: A Drink That Won’t Let You Down
Have you tried dandelion tea when you were having a hard time in the bathroom? If not, then now is the right time to consider it.
The effects of dandelion go a long way, dating back to the Native Americans, Chinese and European herbalists. For many years, people use dandelion to treat constipation issues because of its diuretic and mild laxative effects. At the same time, it promotes healthy bacterial function in your digestive tract and supplies your body with essential vitamins and nutrients like vitamins A, B, and C, iron, potassium and zinc.
What are you waiting for? Boil a teaspoon of chopped, dried dandelion root in eight ounces of water for five to 10 minutes. Pour the boiled product through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of the roots before drinking.
Three cups of dandelion tea every day will surely help ease your tummy troubles. It also is one of the best ways on how to avoid constipation while on pain meds.
16. Try Sweet Potatoes to Ease Bowel Movements
You often feed sweet potatoes to kids because of its high nutritional value such as vitamin C, manganese, potassium, iron, and calcium. In case you are having trouble inside the bathroom, it turns out that sweet potatoes can be helpful, too.
In what way, you might ask.
Sweet potatoes are high in fiber – and you know how important this is in your digestive system. They are also easily digestible, which means they are suitable for all ages from zero to 80. This is also recommended in case you are pregnant.
Here are few tips on how to use sweet potatoes:
- Cut sweet potatoes in big pieces and boil into a pan of boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Make baked potato wedges. In a baking tray, lay sweet potatoes cut in wedges, sprinkle with melted butter, salt, and pepper and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Grill sweet potato slices for side dish.
Do you have other suggestions on how to add sweet potatoes in your diet?
17. Remember These Diet Don’ts for Constipation Relief
Most of the tips you learned above will make you feel like you need to evaluate your eating habits to make sure constipation won’t pay you an unwelcomed visit. Apart from the foods that you should eat to get things going in your digestive tract, you also need to remember some don’ts in your eating habits:
Here are a few reminders to avoid constipation:
- Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol. Unfortunately, your favorite alcoholic drink can cause dehydration, and that leads to constipation. If you are going out with some friends on a Friday night, make sure to limit it to two bottles to reduce the chances of constipation.
- Don’t Go Overboard On Dairy Products. The lactose content in dairy products contributes to gas and cause discomfort especially if there is already a buildup in your intestinal tract. In case you can’t live without cheese or dairy, then go for low-fat variants.
- Don’t Eat Processed Foods. Fiber is component lacking in processed foods, which is crucial in preventing constipation. When you eat too much, this could lead to tummy trouble, as well.
Constipation may not often indicate the presence of a serious medical condition, but this doesn’t mean you should shrug this off completely. If left untreated, constipation could lead to various digestive conditions – and you don’t want that to happen.
Take note of these tips and techniques on how to avoid constipation and you are surely on your road to a cleaner and healthier digestive tract.