Feeling a little stuck?
Constipation can be an uncomfortable problem. But many people suffer from it from time to time, especially when they are pregnant or taking certain medications.
There are many potential causes of constipation. There are also many treatment options. Adjusting your lifestyle or using home remedies may be all you need to treat occasional constipation.
Take the time to discover some of the best natural remedies for constipation.
Keep a consistent schedule
Staying in bed all day may seem like a good way to spend a lazy Sunday. But not going to the bathroom in the morning can cause problems.
If you don’t go regularly, your stool may become hard and your bowels may slow down. Try to go to the bathroom before you go to bed and first thing in the morning. Not everyone needs to go at these times, but following a regular schedule can help. You can avoid future episodes of constipation by getting up and moving at the same time each day.
You may not feel like going to the gym when you’re overwhelmed, but exercise can provide the relief you need. A walk or run, for example, can help stimulate your bowel and colon muscles. Any physical movement helps the bowels move.
To prevent and relieve constipation, make exercise part of your routine. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. That’s 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day, five days a week. If this seems too much for you, set a smaller goal to start. Try to get some physical activity every day to stay regular.
Drinking enough fluids can also help prevent and treat constipation. This can help move food through your digestive system and prevent stool from hardening.
In general, you should try to drink about nine cups of fluid a day if you are a woman and 13 cups if you are a man. If you are constipated or taking fiber supplements, you may need to drink more. Ask your doctor for advice.
While water is the ideal choice, don’t overlook the benefits of other beverages. Green tea, black tea, coffee and other beverages can all count toward your daily fluid intake.
Eat enough dietary fibre
Getting enough fibre in your diet is essential. There are two main types of fiber: soluble fiber absorbs water, which helps keep stools soft; insoluble fiber gives stools bulk, which helps them move through the digestive system more quickly.
To help treat mild cases of constipation, try eating easy-to-digest, high-fiber foods such as berries, bananas, prunes or avocados. To prevent future problems, include high-fiber foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains in your diet. You may also benefit from a daily fiber supplement, such as psyllium husk (Metamucil).
Consider taking magnesium supplements
Getting enough magnesium in your diet can also help relieve constipation. Oral magnesium supplements work like osmotic laxatives. This means they draw water into your digestive system, which helps soften your stool.
You can buy magnesium capsules at health food stores and pharmacies. You can also get magnesium from food sources. If you have a history of kidney problems, consult your doctor before talking about magnesium. Fortunately, most magnesium-rich foods are also high in fiber. For example, whole grains and green leafy vegetables are good sources of both.
According to Dr. Arielle Miller Levitan, an internal medicine specialist based in Illinois, eating a tablespoon or two of coconut oil each day can help lubricate your intestines. This can help prevent constipation. Ask your doctor if this remedy may be right for you.
If swallowing a spoonful of coconut oil doesn’t appeal to you, there are other ways to add it to your diet. For example, you can mix it into your morning coffee or mix it with vinegar to make a simple salad dressing.
Talk to your doctor
The next time you feel a little constipated, try these home remedies. They may be enough to get your bowels moving again.
If these remedies don’t work, or if you find that you are chronically constipated, talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend lifestyle changes, medication changes or other treatments. In some cases, chronic constipation is caused by another underlying health problem. Your doctor can help you identify and treat this cause.