Health tips and home remedies for Constipation


Health tips and home remedies for Constipation
What Is Constipation?

Constipation is a symptom than a disease. It happens when the colon reabsorbs too much water from stool, or if the muscles in the colon are contracting slowly or poorly so that the stool travels too slowly and loses too much water from it.
Meaning of constipation is different for different people. Most of people believe that not passing stools daily is constipation. This is not 100% true. If your stools are soft and pass easily, then it is not constipation. 
However, most of people experience mental distress when they do not pass stools daily. 
Real constipation occurs when stools become hard and difficult to pass, and there is a feeling of incomplete emptying after a bowel movement. Most of us has constipation at some point. Luckily, it is usually not serious. 
The normal number of bowel movements differs from person to person. Some people have bowel movements two to three times a day, while others have them only once or twice a week. Going longer than three or more days without passing stool is usually too long.
After three or more days, the feces become harder and more difficult to pass it out. 
Constipation can also occur with diarrhea. This usually occurs as part of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Fecal impaction is seen at the end of the spectrum. This is happen when the stool hardens in the rectum and becomes lodged.
Acute vs. chronic constipation
1) Acute (recent start) constipation may be due to a severe medical illness where constipation is the basic cause (e.g. colon tumors). Acute constipation may requires an immediate medical assessment if it is escorted by symptoms such as rectal bleeding, abdominal pain and cramps, nausea, vomiting and involuntary loss of weight.
2) Chronic (since long duration) constipation can cause substantial pain and discomfort and affect quality of life.
Types of constipation
1) Diet and medication measured constipation. Movement of the stools through the gut is usual and the muscles of the pelvic floor move properly. This type of constipation usually responds to high fiber diet or laxatives.
2) Dyssynergic constipation. The muscles of the pelvic floor not work properly and may perform the opposite function of what they are supposed to do. The muscles are also frequently in spasm. Persons with such constipation usually complain of not being able to fully empty their bowels. It can also happen due to an outlet obstruction (such as a hernia). Dyssynergic excretion affects about 25% or more of people with chronic constipation.
3) Slow transit constipation. The colon moves slowly and, as a result, bowels move very occasionally (sometimes only once every 2-3 weeks).

4) Combination of dyssynergic and slow transit constipation.

Infants and children
As in adults, the frequency of bowel movements varies from child to child. Newborn babies can pass loose, runny stools a couple of times a day or only once or twice a week.
It is important for parents to realize that there are many patterns for normal bowel movements in children. Sometimes children's faeces turn red and they appear to strain to pass out a stool, but if the stool is soft and the child has no other problems, this is not serious concern.

What Causes Constipation?
These are the most common causes of constipation:
1) Lack of fiber in the diet
People whose diets include a good quantity of fiber are less likely to suffer from constipation.
It is very important to eat foods rich in fiber such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Fiber helps bowel movements and prevents constipation.
2) Physical inactivity
Constipation can occur if someone becomes too much physically inactive. This is especially the case in old age persons.
For persons who have been bedridden for a long time, maybe for several days or weeks, their risk of having constipation is significantly increased. Physical activity keeps the metabolism high, making the processes in the body happen faster.
Older adults tend to have a more inactive life compared with younger people and are therefore at higher risk of constipation. Physically active persons are much less likely to become constipated than inactive persons.
3) Medications
The most common medications to cause constipation are:
·         Narcotic (opioid) drugs including codeine (Tylenol), oxycodone (Percocet), and hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
·         Antidepressant drugs including amitriptyline (Elavil) and imipramine (Tofranil)
·         Anticonvulsant drugs including phenytoin (Dilantin) and carbamazepine (Tegretol) iron supplements
·         Calcium channel blocker including diltiazem (Cardizem) and nifedipine (Procardia)
·         Aluminum-containing antacids including Amphojel and Basaljel
·         Diuretics including chlorothiazide (Diuril)

4) Milk
Some persons become constipated when they consume milk and dairy products.
5) Irritable bowel syndrome
Persons who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) get constipation much more frequently, compared with the rest of the population.
6) Pregnancy
Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that can make a woman more susceptible to constipation. Also, the uterus may compress the intestine, slowing down the passage of food and tools.
7) Aging
As a individual gets older, the metabolism slows down, resulting in less intestinal movement. The muscles in the digestive system do not work as well as they used to.
8) Changes in routine
When a person travels, their usual routine changes. This can affect the digestive system, which occasionally results in constipation. Meals are eaten at different times, or a person might go to bed, get up, and go to the toilet at changed times. All these changes can increase the chance of constipation.
9) Overuse of laxatives
Some of us believe a person should go to the toilet at least once a day - this is not fact. However, to make sure this happens, some individuals self-medicate with laxatives.  Laxatives are effective at serving bowel movements. However, using them frequently allows the body to get used to their action and slowly the dose needs to increase to get the same effect. Laxatives can be habit-building. When a person becomes reliant on them, there is a substantial risk of constipation when they are stopped.
10) Not going to the toilet when needed
If individuals ignore the desire to have a bowel movement, the desire can gradually go away until the individual no longer feels the need to go. The longer it is late, the stool will become drier and harder.
11) Not drinking enough water
If constipation is already existing, drinking more liquids might not release it. However, regularly drinking plenty of water decreases the risk of constipation.
Many sodas and drinks comprise of caffeine which can cause dehydration and worsen constipation. Alcohol also dehydrates the body and should be evaded by individuals who are constipated or very susceptible to constipation.
12) Problems with the colon or rectum
Tumors can compress or restrict the ways and cause constipation. Also, scar tissue, diverticulosis, and unequal narrowing of the colon or rectum, known as colorectal stricture.
13) Some diseases and conditions
Some of the diseases that tend to slow down the movement of feces through the colon, rectum, or anus can cause constipation.
These include the following:
·         Neurological disorders: Multiple Sclerosis (MS), stroke, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's disease,  and chronic idiopathic intestinal pseudo-obstruction can lead to constipation.
·         Endocrine and metabolic conditions: hypercalcemia, poor glycemic control, Uremia, diabetes, and hypothyroidism.
·         Systemic diseases: These are diseases that affect a number of organs and tissues, or affect the body as a whole, they include scleroderma, lupus,  amyloidosis.
·         Cancer: Constipation occurs in people with cancer, mostly due to pain medications and chemotherapy. Also, if a tumor lumps or squeezes the digestive system.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptoms of constipation are difficulty (pain) and straining when passing stools.
Passing less stools than usual can be a sign of constipation.
Other symptoms include:
·         Stomach pain
·         Stomach spasms
·         Feeling bloated and nauseous
·         Losing appetite

Health Tips for Constipation:

1. Making changes to your daily routine
Small variations to your daily routine can improve constipation. Lack of exercise and a poor diet are two main reasons of constipation, so start by adding some movement to your day, along with some high-fiber foods. You should not try to make vast lifestyle changes all at once. This will be difficult to keep in the long run. Instead, make an attempt to add a little of the following to your schedule till you establish a good daily routine:
·         Have your meals about the same time each day.
·         Every day drink a glass of water after wake up.
·         Eat bran cereal for breakfast in the morning.
·         Do some light workout such as walking after breakfast.
·         Park at the end of the parking lot so you have to walk a moment to get inside your office.
·         Take about 20-minute walk during lunch break.
·         Try to cook a new recipe using high-fiber foods, such as beans and legumes.
·         Carry a piece of fruit to eat as a snack when u feel to eat something.
·         Replace white bread with whole wheat bread and white rice with brown rice.
·         Get enough sleep at night.
·         When you have the need to have a bowel movement, use the bathroom right away. Do not hold it for long time.
·         Schedule in some dedicated time of day for a bowel movement. 
·         Keep always a bottle of water with you, so you can have it when u feel trusty.
·         Try to exercise at a gym on a regular basis.
2. Taking a fiber supplement
Fiber supplements work by bulking up stool and maintain water in stool. They are sometimes referred to as bulk-forming agents. Bulky stools increase your bowel contract, which helps push out the stool. Taking a fiber supplement is equally simple. They available in capsules and powder formulations, and even gummies and chewable tablets. Fiber supplements may also have other advantage, including lowering your cholesterol and controlling blood sugar. One type of fiber, called inulin, also helps encourage the growth of beneficial gut bacteria (bifidobacteria).
Some examples of fiber supplements include:
·         Polycarbophil
·         Inulin
·         Wheat dextrin
·         Methylcellulose
Make certain you drink a lot of water along with a fiber supplement, or it could make constipation worse.
3. Eating more dietary fiber
A simple way to help ease constipation is to eat more high-fiber foods. Dietary fiber is a mixture of complex carbohydrates. It is available in the leaves and stems of plants and the bran of whole grains. Nuts, seeds, fruits, and green vegetables are also good sources of dietary fiber. Meat and dairy products do not contain any fiber, so minimize it.
Start slowly adding more fiber to your diet. The following listed foods are high in dietary fiber:
·         Whole wheat brown bread
·         Fruits, such as berries, bananas, pears, raisins, apples, oranges, figs, and prunes
·         Seeds bran flakes
·         Shredded wheat
·         Popcorn
·         Vegetables, such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, spinach, avocado, and peas
·         Beans and lentils
·         Oatmeal
·         Flaxseed
·         Nuts
Make sure you are having whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices. Juices do not have fiber.
Home Remedies for Constipation:
1. Taking a laxative (occasionally)
Although it is effective most of the time, laxatives are not usually a long-term solution to constipation problems. In fact, taking specific types of laxatives frequently can cause dangerous side effects, such as electrolyte imbalances and dehydration. If you need to take a laxative even once in a while to get things moving along, you should aware that not all laxatives are the same. Some types of laxatives are tougher than others. Here are some of the various kinds of laxatives and information about how they act in your body to relieve constipation:
A. Stool softeners
Stool softeners are a type of laxative that works by adsorbing water to stool to soften it and make it easier to pass out. Stool softeners like docusate sodium (Colace, Docusate) may take a couple of days to start working. They are better at preventing constipation than treating it, but they are usually milder than other types of laxatives.
B. Osmotic agents
Osmotic agents help hold the fluid in your stool. Some examples of osmotic laxatives are:
·         magnesium preparations
·         polyethylene glycol PEG
·         sodium phosphates
·         sorbitol
Read directions carefully mentioned on pack. Taking too much of this type of laxative can lead to severe side effects, like cramping, diarrhea, dehydration, and an imbalance of electrolytes.
Stimulant laxatives
Stimulant laxatives act by making your intestines contract and moving stool forward. Some examples of bowel stimulants Laxatives are:
·         Senna husk
·         Bisacodyl
Stimulants are the most violent type of laxatives and only take a few hours to start working. You should not take them regular basis. Taking them for a long period of time can change the tone of your large intestine and cause it to stop acting correctly. If this occurs, your colon may become addicted on using a laxative to have a bowel movement.
2. Eat probiotic foods or take probiotic supplements
Probiotics may help to prevent chronic constipation. People who have chronic constipation have been shown to have disparity of bacteria in their gut. It is thought that probiotic foods could help to improve this balance and prevent constipation. They could also help treat constipation by creating lactic acid and short-chain fatty acids. These may increase gut movements, making it easier to pass a stool. A recent review found that probiotics appear to treat functional constipation by increasing the regularity of bowel movements and improving stool consistency. To add probiotics in your diet, try eating probiotic-rich foods. Like yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi, which contain live, good bacteria. Otherwise, you could try a probiotic supplement. It is usually suggested to take it daily for at least 4 weeks to see if it has any beneficial effects.
3. Take a glucomannan supplement
Glucomannan is a kind of soluble fiber. It has been shown effectively in treating constipation. Those taking glucomannan experienced relief from severe constipation. It also improving bowel movements, glucomannan has been shown to act as a prebiotic and improve the equilibrium of good bacteria in your gut. If you are constipated, try including additional glucomannan in your diet. You can attain this by taking a glucomannan supplement or by eating shirataki noodles, which are made with glucomannan.
4. Eat prebiotic foods
Dietary fiber increases stool consistency and bulk, both of which help to improve bowel movement frequency. In a different way some fibers may help treat chronic constipation is through their effects on your digestive health. Prebiotic fibers develop digestive health by feeding the friendly bacteria in your gut. This can improve the equilibrium of your gut bacteria. In fact, prebiotics such as galacto-oligosaccharides help to increase the frequency of bowel movements, as well as make stools softer. Foods which are high in prebiotic fiber include garlic, onions and bananas.
5. Try magnesium citrate
Magnesium citrate is a well-known home remedy for constipation. As discussed above it is a type of osmotic laxative. Having reasonable amounts of magnesium supplements can help relieve constipation. Higher doses of it are sometimes used to prep and clean out the bowel before surgery or other medical procedures.
6. Eat prunes

Prunes and prune juice are frequently touted as natural remedy for constipation. In addition to fiber, prunes hold the natural laxative sorbitol. This is a sugar alcohol which has a laxative effect. Prunes may be more effective than fiber. If you are constipated, prunes could be the best and easiest natural solution available. The effectiveness you can consume about 7 medium-sized prunes twice a day. However, you can avoid prunes if you have IBS, as sugar alcohols are known FODMAPs.


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