Constipation is a condition of the digestive system where someone experiences tough bowel movements which happen less frequent than normal. Everyone has experienced constipation at some point in their life, and they can attest that it is not a very pleasant experience. Though it is not chronic, everyone would give anything to get their bowels back on track. The amount of time between bowel movements varies widely from one person to another.
Most people have them three times in a day while others have them twice or even once! However going for more than three days is enough to cause alarm. This is because food takes longer in the digestive tract which means the colon absorbs more water from the stool. This makes the stool hard and dry and therefore difficult and even very painful to eliminate.
Causes of Constipation
1. Lack of Fiber in the Diet
Fibers act as cleaners to the digestive tract. Diets that lack fibers result in an unclean digestive tract. This, consequently, results in accumulation of food particles and wastes that block the passage and thus cause constipation
2. Physical Inactivity
People who are physically inactive, for example, those who are bedridden for several weeks, are more susceptible to constipation. This is because physical activity helps us maintain a high metabolism, and thus body processes such as digestion happen more rapidly.
Some of the drugs that cause constipation include
- Antacids that contain aluminium such as Basaljel
- Diuretics such as chlorothiazide
- Antidepressants such as imipramine
- Narcotic pain relievers such as hydromorphone
Related: Best Tips To Get Rid of Stomach Gas
4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
People who suffer from this condition suffer from constipation more frequently
As we grow older, our metabolic rate slows down. This results in a reduced rate in body functions such as digestion and thus cause constipation
6 Not Drinking Enough Water
This results in more absorption of water from the food which makes the stool hard. The result is constipation
7. Not Emptying Your Bowels when Needed
Ignoring this vital call of nature means the stool spends more time in the colon. As a result more water is absorbed from it leaving it hard and dry.
The Remedies for Constipation
1. Add Fiber-Rich Foods to Your Diet
The main role of fiber in our body is cleaning the digestive tract. They clean up the system by scrubbing off food leftovers and waste particles and even soaking up the water, thereby treating and preventing constipation. Some of these foods include cereals, almonds, beans, barley, vegetables, and fresh fruits, among many others. You should also drink plenty of water
2. Mint or Ginger Tea
Research has proven mint and ginger to be handy home remedies to digestive problems. Methanol that is contained in peppermint has an antispasmodic effect which helps relax the digestive system’s muscles and thereby allow rapid movement of food. Ginger, on the other hand, helps the digestive tract generate more heat thereby speeding up digestion through increased metabolism as heat increases the metabolic rate.
3. Healthy Fats
Oils from avocados, nuts and olive oil help in lubrication of the digestive tract and hence ease constipation.
4. Lemon Water
Citric acid present in lemon juice helps stimulate the digestive system and also flush out harmful substances such as wastes. Taking a glass of fresh lemon juice every morning or adding lemon to your tea will not only help treat and prevent constipation but also make you drink more water everyday.
Coffee is a good stimulant to your body. It works by increasing metabolism through heat and thereby speeding up your trips to the toilet. Other hot drinks work just as well.
Other than being rich in fiber, raisins contain tartaric acid which helps loosen stools. Research shows that people who take raisins have their food go through their digestive track in half the time it takes people who don’t.
Taking a cup of water after waking up is recommended. Water helps in peristalsis and therefore helps prevent constipation.
Massaging the abdomen also helps in relieving constipation. It achieves this by stimulating intestinal muscles that are involved during bowel movements.
9. Taking Honey
Honey is a natural laxative. Taking a cup of honey water will help loosen stools and hence prevent and even relieve constipation.
10. Using a Sitting Stool
Using a stool to sit on during defecation helps you adopt a squatting position which helps open up the colon more and helps achieve an easier and more effective elimination of stools.