Constipation is a health condition that has become common in recent times. Though most people think that not having the urge to pass stools everyday is called constipation, this is not actually true. Every person has different bowel routines, where some people have the urge to go the washroom 2-3 times everyday, while for some it may be alternate days. All this is quite normal, however, when a person is unable or finds it difficult to pass stools for more than three days in a week, he is said to have constipation.
When an individual has this problem, most likely he or she will have the urge to eliminate, but may have to strain and also experience pain while defecating. The stools that appear are not only small in size, but also very dry and hard. Although most people experience this condition for a short time, occasionally, one suffers from a severe case which can be quite frustrating. Hence, it is important to know some remedies for the same. However, before we know more about the treatment measures, let us take a look at the causes.
When we eat, the food goes through the small intestine which absorbs the necessary nutrients and water needed for the body and passes down the waste to the large intestine or colon, from where it is pushed towards the rectum and is finally thrown out of the body in the form of feces. However, sometimes due to certain conditions, too much water is absorbed from the food, which makes its movement slower, thus giving rise to constipation. One of the main causes that leads to this problem is the lack of fiber in one's diet. Sometimes, people ignore the urge to defecate due to some reason and holding the stools for a long time can make them harder, thus making it difficult for them to pass easily through the anus.
Apart from these reasons, individuals who do not indulge in physical exercises also have high chances of having this problem. It is also seen in pregnant women due to the variety of hormonal changes that the body undergoes during this time. Constipation is most commonly seen in old people and those who indulge in too much of traveling. Another reason for the cause of this medical condition is a disease called irritable bowel syndrome and sometimes even due to problems in the large intestine or in the rectum. People who have some diseases like stroke, diabetes, and those who take specific medications to treat some kind of illnesses can also suffer from constipation.
If you are looking for answers as to what to do for constipation, you are at the right place because there are several solutions that you can try to relieve yourself from this frustrating problem.
Diet Rich in Fiber
Following a high fiber diet is the best treatment. In today's times, it has become a trend for people to indulge in refined and processed foods like pizzas, burgers, ice creams,etc. which are high in fats, but very low in fiber. Too much of these foods can give rise to the problem of constipation. Hence, it is important to limit these foods to the minimum and instead indulge in foods that are rich in fiber like fruits, vegetables, cereals, and beans.
Daily intake of prunes, apples, raspberries, oranges, pears, etc., are said to be very effective for curing constipation. Vegetables that should be a part of your diet include cabbage, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, spinach, etc. Fiber foods add bulk to the stools which makes it easier for them to pass through the rectum and the anus. Apart from fiber foods, you can also try some fiber supplements in the form of pills and laxatives which may also help in improving your condition.
Another simple and the most effective remedy for curing constipation is drinking lots of water. One should drink at least 2 quarts of water everyday to get rid of this problem. Apart from drinking water, consuming other fluids including fruit juices and soups are also said to be good for this condition. Though people say that drinking coffee will also help, experts are of the opinion that one should not drink coffee, tea, and alcohol while suffering from this problem. People who are feeling constipated due to the intake of milk should also stop taking it for some time.
Although it is a known fact that exercises are important to remain healthy, not many people know that it is also a good way of getting rid of constipation. Dedicating half an hour in the morning to indulge in exercises like walking, running, or cycling will do the trick and ease the bowels. Exercising regularly is also a good way of preventing recurrence.
Consuming certain supplements are said to help a person from feeling constipated and making bowel movements easier for him. One can try magnesium supplements, as studies have found that magnesium aids the colon muscles to relax, thus making the contractions smoother for the stools to pass. Other than this, including flax seed in your food as it is also said to aid the treatment.
Using Laxatives or Medications
If none of the natural remedies work for you, your health practitioner may prescribe certain laxatives. Though they are quite effective, problems may arise due to excessive use. If laxatives are used for a very long time, there are chances for the bowels to get dependent on them. Hence, extra care should be taken while taking laxatives and one must not consume it beyond a certain amount of time.
If none of this works, your doctor may conduct detailed tests like colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, etc. to diagnose the exact cause. In some rare cases, surgery may be recommended to fix this problem. However, constipation is very rarely a long term disorder and by making some simple dietary and lifestyle changes, you will surely be able to get back your normal routine.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.