Natural ways to relieve constipation


Many people think that they should empty every day to avoid constipation , but the truth is that the normal frequency varies greatly from person to person, from several times a day to three times a week.

Constipation is defined as passing hard, dry stools or having a bowel movement less than three times a week. Constipation is one of the most common digestive complaints in the United States, affecting most people at some point in their lives.

Some people experience short-term constipation caused by temporary changes in diet, travel, stress, or surgery, while others suffer from chronic constipation (lasting several weeks or longer).

If you have chronic constipation, you probably know how it can significantly affect your quality of life.

Although constipation can affect anyone, it is more common in women and people over the age of 65. It also tends to occur during pregnancy or after delivery and can be the result of an underlying condition or the side effects of medications (such as opioid pain relievers ).

Getty Images / Andrew Unangst

Several studies show that certain foods and remedies can be beneficial.

High fiber foods

A low fiber diet can influence constipation. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble .

The insoluble fiber, which passes through the body almost unchanged, gives the stool volume and a soft texture, facilitating its passage. Foods high in insoluble fiber include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Try bran, brown rice, or whole wheat bread.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a jelly-like substance in the intestines. Prunes and figs can be added to breakfast or as a snack.

Another option is to sprinkle any food with a teaspoon of ground flaxseed. They can be found in packages at a health food store or some grocery stores. They have a mild nutty flavor.

Fiber dietary supplements are also available, the most popular being psyllium supplements such as metamucil. Guar gum and acacia fibers are also popular.

Gradually adding fiber to your diet can help prevent bloating and gas. Also, remember to drink enough water, otherwise fiber can have the opposite effect and cause constipation.

The exercise

The exercise necessary for regular bowel movements stimulates the contraction of the intestinal muscles, which accelerates the passage of stool.

A regular exercise regimen, which can include daily walks, yoga, or swimming, can help your digestive system. Exercise can also help manage stress, which improves digestion.

Adequate fluid intake

Drinking enough fluids, such as water, can help some people with constipation. Liquids soften bowel movements and facilitate their evacuation .

Most healthy people can meet their fluid needs by drinking normally (such as drinking with meals) and letting thirst guide them. If you are sufficiently hydrated, drinking more water may not help relieve constipation.

We don't just get liquids from water. Coffee, tea, juice, fruits, vegetables, liquids used in recipes, and other foods and beverages count toward your daily intake.


Probiotics such as Saccharomyces boulardii , Bifidobacterium longum , Lactobacillus rhamnosus , and Lactobacillus acidophilus are live microbial organisms that are naturally present in the digestive tract.

Some of the ways they promote health are believed to include inhibiting the growth of potentially harmful bacteria, enhancing immune function, strengthening the protective barrier of the digestive tract, and helping with vitamin K production.

Preliminary evidence suggests that probiotic supplementation may reduce constipation .

One study looked at the effects of a probiotic drink containing a strain of beneficial bacteria called Lactobacillus casei Shirota (65 milliliters per day) or placebo in people with chronic constipation. The probiotic drink resulted in a significant reduction in constipation severity and stool consistency .

Another study looked at the efficacy of another strain of probiotics for constipation in children and found no effect.

Eighty-four children, ages 2 to 16 with constipation, were taking lactulose (laxative) plus a probiotic supplement containing lactobacilli GG or lactulose alone. At 12 and 24 weeks, lactobacilli were no more effective than lactulose alone in treating constipation .

Stimulant laxatives

Many herbal laxatives and "diet teas" are stimulant laxatives or anthraquinone laxatives. They include herbs like:

Some of these herbs, like senna, are approved for over-the-counter constipation treatments. Although they are intended for short-term treatment, people can actually become addicted to them and use them for weeks, months, or even years to have regular bowel movements.

It is important to speak with your healthcare professional before taking herbal laxatives and they should not be used for more than a week unless under medical supervision.

Long-term use can result in a loss of the intestines' ability to move independently, which has been associated with chronic diarrhea, liver toxicity, depletion of potassium stores leading to muscle weakness, impaired heart function, and kidney or liver failure

There has also been controversy over the safety of long-term senna use and its role in colorectal cancer .


Biofeedback therapy can help people with constipation caused by pelvic floor dysfunction, a condition in which the pelvic floor muscles do not work properly. This occurs as a result of conditions such as obesity, an enlarged prostate, or after childbirth.

Biofeedback therapists teach how to better coordinate the muscles used during bowel movements (muscles of the anus and pelvic floor). Although biofeedback has been studied relatively recently as a treatment for this type of constipation, the results are encouraging.

For example, one study compared biofeedback (one session per week for five weeks) versus laxatives (polyethylene glycol 14.6-29.2 grams per day) and education for people with severe chronic pelvic floor dysfunction . All participants had previously tried fiber supplements, enemas or suppositories, but did not respond.

After six months, biofeedback sessions were found to be more effective than laxatives: 43 of 54 (80 percent) patients who received biofeedback, compared with 12 of 55 (22 percent) patients who received laxatives, reported improvements significant. It turned out that the payments will last at least two years.


Acupressure is a traditional healing practice that involves applying finger pressure to specific acupuncture points on the body.

Acupuncturists for constipation often recommend "Large intestine 4". Although it has not been studied for constipation, it is a simple home remedy that can help some people.

The point is at the highest point of the muscle between the thumb and forefinger when they meet. Caution: This should be avoided during pregnancy.

With your thumb or middle finger at a 90 degree angle to the skin, gradually increase the pressure. Hold for three minutes. The pressure should not be painful or uncomfortable.

Get the word of drug information

If you feel the urge to have a bowel movement, don't delay. The longer you put off when you need to defecate, the more water is absorbed into your stool and the more difficult it becomes to defecate.

There are many remedies that help with constipation, but it is important to speak with your healthcare provider before using any remedy to make sure it is right for you.

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