According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, constipation is a condition characterized by less than three bowel movements a week, or bowel movements that are hard, small and dry. This makes them painful or difficult to pass. Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal problem, affecting 42 million people in the United States alone.
Pooping may be a love-hate relationship, but this doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it.Being constipated is no joke, so here’s what to do when constipated:
1. Fiber: Your First Line of Defense Against Constipation
When it comes to constipation remedies, one food group stands out: fiber.
Fiber acts like a pipe cleaner by scrubbing food and other wastes from your digestive tract. It also adds bulk to your stool, which makes it easier for the muscles on your gastrointestinal tract to have something to grab on to, so they can keep moving.
Therefore, it is important to add 20 to 35 grams of fiber to your daily diet to make bowel movements easier and stress free. Some of your best sources of fiber are:
- Bran cereals
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
Make sure to drink at least eight glasses of water everyday when you are in high-fiber diet, which leads you to the next tip.
2. What to Do When Constipated: The Key is to Keep Yourself Hydrated
Water comes with tons of health benefits from keeping yourself hydrated to washing toxins inside your body. In case you are constipated, water can help you address this condition.
Drinking at least eight glasses of water everyday helps soften stools and make it easier for you to pass them out. If you are in high-fiber diet, drinking water could prevent the blockage of the gut and makes it easier to facilitate bowel movement.
Here are tips to encourage you to drink more water:
- Track your water intake.
- Drink a glass of water before, during, and after ever meal.
- Keep your water cold to encourage you to drink more.
- Make water accessible by bringing a water jug with your everywhere you go.
There is another water tip worth noting on what to do when constipated for a week. Read the next section to find out.
3. Lemon Water: A Surefire Way to Address Constipation Issues
You might associate lemon water with as a tool to help you lose weight. Did you know that this mixture is among your best defense against constipation?
Lemon contains citric acid, an effective stimulant to your digestive system. This ingredient helps flush the toxins from your body, thereby effective in addressing bowel movement issues.
All you have to do is to squeeze the juice out of one lemon into a glass of water or tea and drink it every morning. Aside from being a natural remedy for constipation, this can also pump your day and encourage you to drink more water; hence improving your long-term digestion.
Nonetheless, don’t limit yourself with water. Check out the next section for an alternative drink that you can add in your list of what to do when constipated and laxatives don’t work.
4. Add Ginger or Mint Tea in Your Anti-Constipation Menu
When it comes to addressing digestive problems, ginger and mint can do the trick.
Mint contains menthol, an ingredient with antispasmodic effect and helps relax the muscles in your digestive tract. On the other hand, ginger is considered a warming herb that encourages your body to generate more heat and speed up poor, slow digestion. When taken in tea form, the hot water stimulates digestion and provides relief against constipation.
You may skip the mint tea in case you are having reflux problems and take ginger tea instead. You can also try dandelion tea, which is also a gentle laxative and a detoxifier.
5. Coffee: A Surprising Remedy against Sluggish Digestion
Good news, coffee lovers. If you are having difficulty letting it all out inside the bathroom, then your morning cup of Joe might just help. Aside from perking you up, it turns out that coffee helps naturally stimulate your colon and speeds up your trip to the bathroom.
Still, this is not an excuse to replace water with coffee. Coffee is diuretic, which triggers you to urinate more often. Stick to a maximum of two cups per day since anything in excess could cause dehydration and lead to constipation, which is something you don’t want to happen.
Aside from drinks, the succeeding sections will tell you about what to eat when constipated.
6. Prunes and Raisins: A Must-Have in Your List of Constipation Remedies
If you are looking for foods that are rich in fiber, raisins and prunes would be on top of the list.
Raisins contain tartaric acid, an ingredient with laxative effect. On the other hand, prunes are also rich in fiber and a simple remedy to get your digestion back on track. In fact, three prunes already contain three grams of fiber and other compounds that trigger intestinal contraction and make you want to do number two.
The best part is you can easily add raisins and prunes in your daily diet. Toss it in salads, mix it with yogurt, or even eat them as they are for gut-soothing probiotics.
This is just the beginning. Keep reading to find out what to do when constipated through home remedies.
7. Molasses: Your Life Savior to Make Your Bowels Go Out and About
Fiber may be your first line of defense when you are having tummy troubles and that’s fine. After all, fiber is an effective tool against constipation.
Here’s another food you can consider: molasses, particularly black molasses.
Blackstrap molasses were boiled and concentrated three times, thereby crystallizing sugar but keeping vitamins and minerals intact, specifically magnesium. Magnesium is an effective component against constipation, which makes passing of stools easier.
You can take a teaspoon of blackstrap molasses to get relief from this digestive condition. If you are not fond of its flavor, you can mix a teaspoon with a glass of warm water or tea. Gradually increase your intake until you can tolerate up to two tablespoons.
8. Castor Oil: Helping You Get Things Moving in Your Stomach
You tend to stay away from oils out of fear when you are constipated. On the other hand, there are certain types of oils you might want to try since they provide relied when things are not-so-good inside the bathroom.
Say hello to castor oil.
Since the earliest civilizations, castor oil was used as a laxative; hence an effective treatment against constipation. This is because it contains ricinoleic acid, castor oil’s main fatty acid that binds receptors on the smooth muscle cells of your intestinal walls. Once riconoleic acid binds to these receptors, it triggers your muscles to contract and push out stool.
All you have to do is to take one to two teaspoons of castor oil on an empty stomach and you will find yourself rushing in the bathroom within eight hours. Unfortunately, this is not recommended if you are pregnant since the oil also causes the uterus to contract – and it is not an ideal situation.
Don’t worry. There are more tips on what to do when constipated and pregnant below without harming your unborn child.
9. A Cup of Yogurt a Day Keeps Constipation at Bay
There is a reason why yogurt is among the favorites when it comes to addressing digestion issues. It helps maintain a healthy gut flora, thereby keeping your digestive system work properly.
That’s not all. Yogurt is filled with probiotics, an important component in facilitating things inside your stomach. Instead of reaching for processed food or junk, a cup of yogurt will make things easier for you inside the bathroom. You can also add other fiber-rich foods like raisins and nuts to help you say goodbye to constipation.
On the other hand, there are some who claim that yogurt contributed to severe constipation. Pay attention to your body’s reaction after eating yogurt. If you are still having a hard time giving it a go, then you should consider other methods on what to do when constipated.
10. Epsom Salt: Another Effective Remedy for Constipation
Who would’ve thought that Epsom salt can be useful, especially when you are constipated? It turns out that this home ingredient can do the following for you to address tummy troubles:
- Salt draws water from its surroundings, thereby making it easier to soften your stool and more convenient to pass.
- The magnesium content in Epsom salt promotes contraction of your bowel muscles, thereby making poop easier.
Here’s how you can use Epsom salt as a treatment for constipation:
- Dissolve two teaspoons of Epsom salt in one cup of water or your preferred fruit juice.
- Mix well then finish the entire glass.
- If you are unable to poop within four hours, drink another glass following the same mixture.
11. Say Hello to Flaxseed that Provides Constipation Relief
You may not pay attention to this ingredient, but flaxseed oil can do so much for your digestive system – and your health.
Flaxseed oil coats the walls of your intestines and stools, thereby increasing the number of bowel movements you have in a day. At the same time, you can combine flaxseed oil with other anti-constipation foods and drinks such as orange. Orange, particularly the pulp, is an excellent source of fiber.
Here’s how you can get the most out of these two ingredients:
- Mix one tablespoon of flaxseed oil in a glass of orange juice. Make sure to keep the orange pulps since it contains the most fiber content.
- Drink whenever needed, although it is best to give it some time, preferably five hours, before drinking another glass so you won’t overdo it.
What you eat could dictate whether or not constipation will pay a visit. Apparently, food is just one adjustment you can do to prevent constipation from coming back. Check out the other constipation remedies in the form of lifestyle changes.
12. Your Position Matters: What to Do when Constipated on the Toilet
What you eat and drink matters a lot in addressing constipation issues. Still, this doesn’t mean you should focus on what goes inside your body. Believe it or not, even your position in the toilet could define whether to make bowel movements easier or not.
What does this mean?
Maintaining a good toilet position could help make it easier for you to pass stool. There is no right or wrong way to sit in the toilet, but these techniques could help to make it easier for you:
- When sitting on the toilet, lean forward with your hands resting on your thighs.
- Use a foot stool to keep your knees higher than your hips.
- Make sure that your feet are resting firmly on the ground or foot stool.
- Take deep breaths to increase the pressure in your abdomen.
- Try to breathe to the bottom of your lungs with your mouth open. This minimizes the strain on your pelvic floor.
You can also consider a product like the Digestive Science IBS Relief System as a treatment for constipation and other mild digestive issues, like diarrhea and irregular bowl movements. The IBS Relief System is scientifically formulated to restore harmony in your digestive system with the help of probiotics and enzymes.
13. Get Up and Get Moving:The Power of Exercise in Your Life
Exercise helps you lose weight and keep away those excess pounds. It eliminates body fat, builds muscle, and boosts your strength to get you ready in case there is a need to wear a bikini. Did you know that working out could also address your stubborn constipation issues?
The truth is, the connection between a sedentary lifestyle and a clogged gastrointestinal tract is still unclear. Nonetheless, experts discovered that exercise keeps you active, thereby encouraging the stuff inside your body to move, as well. The more you keep your body active, the better chances of keeping your gut moving, which is why older people and those bed-bound are more likely to be constipated.
Go for a 15-minute walk everyday to help move everything you ate through your bowel. This can also be helpful especially when you feel sleepy after every meal. If you had a big meal, wait for at least an hour before you workout.
14. Establish a Routine and Your Bathroom Urges Will Follow
You spend months to train a child to sit on the potty. This includes setting a particular time everyday for toilet duties. If you can train a child, then you can train yourself, too. In fact, this is one of the effective ways you can do to address constipation.
How will you do this?
At least once a day, set aside a particular time where you can sit down for 15 minutes and train yourself to poop. It doesn’t matter if you are unable to poop. The important thing is that you are able to train your body to “let it all out” inside the toilet. When you do this regularly, your body will get the pattern and trigger bowel movements. This could minimize, if not prevent constipation from even paying a visit.
15. Let It Go: The Importance of Not Fighting Your Natural Urge to Go
Perhaps, you’re in the middle of a meeting, an important test, on the road, or you are simply too busy when you felt the urge to go. Since you are in the middle of something, you refused to stop and attend to your bathroom needs. “It will go back and pay a visit,” you told yourself.
Unfortunately, ignoring your urges and suppressing the need to poop could backfire. It could lead to backlog of stools, which makes it difficult to pass later. There is also a risk of developing a dysfunction in the muscles used for pooping, especially when you control your urges repeatedly.
Here’s the worst part: holding your poop longer might lead to impacted bowel, or immobile mass of feces builds up in your rectum, thereby leading to chronic constipation. If left untreated, this could lead to surgery or may cause death.
The bottom line is respond to your body’s natural urges. Excuse yourself if there is a need to go to the bathroom and don’t hold it longer. The more you fight the urge, the more complicated it will be. Pooping is a natural process and there is nothing to be ashamed of it.
16. Tips in Managing Constipation After Surgery
Anysurgical procedurecan be stressful, no matter how routine it seems to be. In addition, it could take a toll on your body and overall health. Even if the operation was successful, you might have to deal with the after effects like antibiotics, possibility of infection, and even constipation.This could be due to general anesthesia, prolonged inactivity as a result of the operation, narcotic pain relievers, or electrolyte, glucose, or fluid imbalance.
The good news is there are techniques that could help make passing stool easier for you. Here are tips on what to do when constipated after surgery:
- Walk around as soon as your doctor gives you a go signal, but take it slow and steady.
- If you cannot tolerate pain, look for more gentle pain relievers like acetaminophen.
- Drink lots of fluid, including water and prune juice.
- Avoid constipating foods like banana, dairy products, processed food, and white bread.
You may also opt for stimulant laxatives or suppositories, but make sure there is a go signal from your doctor. Consequently, watch out for symptoms such as rectal pain, abdominal pain that is not directly related to the surgical incision, and rectal bleeding. This requires immediate medical attention, so make sure you consult your doctor immediately.
17. Laxatives: Constipation Remedies That Promise to Provide Relief
When all else fails, you can always rely on laxatives to help you get rid of the toxins inside your body. Laxatives are short-term treatments to help stools become soft and easy to pass.
There are four main types of laxatives:
- Bulk-Forming – Also known as fiber supplements, this type of laxative increases the bulk in your stool to make bowel movements easier. When taking bulk-forming laxatives, make sure to drink lots of water to avoid obstruction in your gut.
- Stimulant – This type of laxative stimulates the nerves in your large intestines, causing the muscle walls to squeeze harder than usual. This will make it easier for you to pass stools and prevent constipation.
- Osmotic – This helps retain fluid in the large bowel by osmosis. As a result, less fluid is absorbed into your bloodstream from the large bowel.
- Fecal Softeners – If you want to wet and soften your feces, then this one is for you.
Each type of laxative comes with specific risks and benefits. As a general rule, you can opt for bulk-forming laxatives first to help you with constipation issues. In case it didn’t work, you can try osmotic laxatives. To be sure, it is best to consult your doctor.
This post is for informational purposes only to give you options on what to do when constipated. While most are proven effective and helpful, it is best to consult a doctor and ask for recommendations, especially when lifestyle changes are not working. Nonetheless, these techniques could help address your tummy trouble.