Constipation is a common digestive problem that affects people of all ages. It occurs when bowel movements become less frequent or difficult to pass. While there are over-the-counter medications available, there are also several effective home remedies that can provide relief from constipation.
What Is Constipation?
Constipation happens when you have less than three bowel movements per week, and/or when passing stool becomes difficult. While occasional constipation is normal, for some people, it becomes a chronic issue that disrupts their daily lives. Common signs of constipation include:
- Having fewer than three bowel movements weekly
- Feeling blocked and unable to pass stool
- Experiencing hard and difficult-to-pass bowel movements
- Struggling or straining during bowel movements
- Feeling like you can’t completely empty your rectum
13 Common Causes of Constipation
Constipation can result from various factors, and while many are minor and easily addressable, chronic constipation might indicate a more serious underlying medical condition. Discuss any changes in your bowel habits with your doctor. Common causes include:
- Not drinking enough water
- Following a low-fiber diet
- Lack of physical activity
- Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement
- Changes in routine
- Certain medications
- Issues with the colon and/or rectum
- Certain diseases
- Overusing laxatives
- Eating disorders
When Should I Worry About Constipation?
While it’s advisable to consult your doctor for any changes in your bowel habits, seek immediate medical attention if you experience:
- Sudden constipation with belly pain
- Inability to pass stool or gas
- Severe pain during bowel movements
- Blood in the stool
- Drastic changes in the size, shape, and consistency of your stool
- Constipation persisting for more than two weeks
Home Remedies for Constipation
Here are 15 best home remedies for constipation.
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2. Increase Fiber Intake
Fiber-rich foods are essential for maintaining regular bowel movements. Include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes in your diet. Some of the best high-fiber foods are apples, bananas, oranges, broccoli, carrots, beans, lentils, and oats.
3. Stay Hydrated
Make your body hydrated. Sufficient water intake softens the stools, making them easier to pass. Aim for at least 8 glasses of water per day. You can also consume herbal teas or juices rich in water content.
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5. Exercise Regularly
Regular physical activity helps stimulate bowel movements. Some activities like yoga, cycling, walking, jogging, or yoga can improve digestion this constipation. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day.
6. Practice Good Toilet Habits
Maintain a regular toilet routine by setting aside time each day to sit on the toilet, even if you don’t feel the urge. This helps train your body to develop a regular bowel movement pattern. Also, make sure to respond promptly to the urge to have a bowel movement.
7. Consume Probiotics
Probiotics promote a healthy gut. Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi contain these probiotics and can help improve bowel regularity and ease constipation.
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9. Give Massages a Try
Abdominal massages can help to stimulate bowel movements. Gently massage your abdomen in a clockwise motion for a few minutes each day. This technique helps relax the muscles and supports regular digestion.
10. Try Natural Oils
Certain natural oils like olive oil, coconut oil, or castor oil can lubricate the intestines and facilitate the passage of stools. Mix a tablespoon of oil with warm water or herbal tea and consume it on an empty stomach.
11. Drink Herbal Teas
Several herbal teas have been found to have a laxative effect. Chamomile tea, ginger tea, peppermint tea, and senna tea can help improve bowel movements and ease constipation.
12. Increase Magnesium Intake
Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in bowel movements. Foods like leafy greens, seeds, whole grains nuts, and seeds are good for magnesium. Alternatively, you can also take a magnesium supplement after consulting your healthcare provider.
13. Avoid Foods that can Cause Constipation
Certain foods can exacerbate constipation by hardening the stools or slowing down digestion. These include processed foods, dairy products, fast food, fried foods, and foods high in fats and sugar. Limiting their consumption can help alleviate constipation.
14. Consider Psyllium Husk
Psyllium husk is a natural fiber supplement that adds bulk to the stools and facilitates their passage. Mix a tablespoon of psyllium husk with water or juice and consume it once or twice a day. Adequate water intake is crucial when taking psyllium husk.
15. Maintain a Healthy Gut Flora
A healthy gut flora is important for efficient digestion. Consuming fermented foods, prebiotics, and probiotics can help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria. This, in turn, supports regular bowel movements.
16. Eat Small, Frequent Meals
Eating large meals can put pressure on the digestive system and slow down bowel movements. Opt for smaller, more frequent meals that are easier to digest. Chew your food thoroughly and eat slowly to aid digestion.
17. Reduce Stress
Stress can significantly affect digestion and contribute to constipation. Creating a calm and relaxed environment during mealtime can also help alleviate constipation.
High Fiber Foods for Constipation
If you’re seeking natural solutions for constipation, making changes to your diet can be highly effective. The key is to incorporate foods that add volume, increase stool frequency, soften stool, and speed up the digestion process. Here are some easy-to-follow suggestions:
- PRUNES: Prunes are a go-to remedy for constipation. With about 1 gram of fiber per prune, they also contain sugars like fructans and sorbitol, which act as natural laxatives. Enjoy prunes on their own, add them to cereal or smoothies, or try Prune Breakfast Cookies.
- OATMEAL: Oatmeal is rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, promoting stool bulk, softness, and easy passage through your system. It also helps regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and supports weight loss. Check out 11 overnight oat recipes for a high-fiber breakfast.
- APPLES AND PEARS: These fruits, when eaten with their skin, make for a quick, high-fiber snack. Slice and pair them with nut butter or cheese for a protein-packed treat.
- GREENS: Vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts add bulk to stools, facilitating smoother passage. Include them in your meals by boiling, steaming, or adding to soups and stews.
- KIWI: For a fiber-rich option that minimizes gas, consider kiwi. Try the 2-Ingredient Kiwi Sorbet for a refreshing and easy-to-make treat.
- BEANS: Beans are known for their fiber content, but they may cause gas and bloating in some individuals. If well-tolerated, add them to chili or experiment with Fudge Black Bean Brownies.
- FLAXSEEDS: With both soluble and insoluble fiber, flaxseeds add bulk to stool and keep you feeling full. Start your day with Oatmeal and Flaxseed Breakfast Cookies for a tasty fiber boost.
- SWEET POTATOES: With about 4 grams of fiber per serving, sweet potatoes are an excellent natural remedy for constipation. Mash them with a touch of brown sugar, air fry for healthy fries, or try Sweet Potato Black Bean Casserole.
- BERRIES: Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries are packed with fiber. Enjoy them on their own, blend into a smoothie, or add to cereal, yogurt, or salad for an easy fiber boost.
Remember, each individual may respond differently to these remedies, so it’s important to find what works best for you. However, if your constipation persists for an extended period or is accompanied by severe pain or other concerning symptoms, consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and guidance.
Implementing these 15+ best home remedies for constipation, you can help improve your bowel movements and find relief from this uncomfortable condition in a natural and effective way.