According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases or NIDDK, there are roughly 63 million Americans who experienced constipation, with four million ambulatory care visits and more than a million hospitalizations in just one year.
Constipation may be a common condition and does not pose a serious threat at first. Still, this doesn’t mean you should be complacent when you suffer from it. If left untreated, this digestive condition could lead to something more serious, like anal fissures and fecal impactions.
Don’t wait for the worst thing to happen. Here are 16 techniques on what to do when constipated:
1. A Common Problem: What You Need to Know About Constipation
Before you learn about the many constipation remedies, it is important to know and understand what constipation is. According to NIDDK, constipation is the most common gastrointestinal problem in America. It is characterized by any of the two:
- Less than three bowel movements in a week.
- Bowel movements that comes with dry, small, and hard stools that are difficult to pass.
Generally, constipation is not alarming, especially if this doesn’t happen most of the time. Unfortunately, there are certain groups who are more prone to this condition, including:
- Pregnant women or those who recently gave birth.
- People who recently had surgery.
- Older adults.
- Those who live in a lower income.
- People who take medications to treat depression or get relief from pain.
There are also various reasons why you are constipated, including:
- Lack of fluids.
- Poor or sudden changes in your diet.
- Taking medications, such as painkillers.
- Lack of exercise.
Here’s the good news: you can treat your constipation and help your body and overall system work better. The succeeding sections will tell you about the different techniques on what to do when constipated for a week – or more.
2. Keep Yourself Hydrated to Prevent Yourself From Getting Constipated
You will always find tons of reasons why you should drink at least eight glasses of water everyday. If you are still not convinced and you suddenly find yourself having difficulty inside the bathroom, then perhaps you are constipated, and drinking water could do the trick.
Drinking water washes the toxins inside your body and helps soften stools to make it easier for you to pass them out. It also prevents any blockage in the gut to facilitate better and easier bowel movements.
Here are tips to help you drink water more often:
- Keep your water cold to encourage you to drink more.
- Track your water intake to see how you are faring by filling a large pitcher in the morning and making sure it is empty by bedtime.
- Make water accessible by bringing a water bottle with you everywhere you go.
- Drink a glass of water before, during, and after every meal.
- Set an alarm to remind yourself to drink water.
Aside from these tips, check out this next tip not only to encourage you to drink more but also to help you address constipation problems.
3. Honey, Lemon and Water: The Ultimate Combination for Tummy Trouble
Plain water can be bland, which is why you often skip it for something flavored. In case you want a little extra oomph in your drink while helping you with what to do when constipated and pregnant, then add lemon and honey into it.
Lemon contains citric acid, an effective stimulant for your digestive system, which could flush out toxins inside your body. On the other hand, honey also acts as a mild laxative and adds more flavor to your drink.
Here’s how to make the ultimate concoction against constipation:
- In a glass of warm water, add one teaspoon of lemon juice and one-half teaspoon of raw honey.
- Mix well then drink it first thing in the morning.
Make sure you drink this every morning since this could offer relief against constipation and improve your overall digestion.
4. Old Wives’ Wisdoms: Ease Your Stomach With a Spoonful of Castor Oil
The thing about natural treatments is that the ingredients are passed on from one generation to another. This includes castor oil.
Since the earliest civilizations, castor was used as a laxative, thereby making it an effective treatment against constipation. The reason for this is the oil’s ricinoleic acid, the main fatty acid that binds the receptors on the smooth muscle cells of your intestinal walls. Once ricinoleic acid binds to these receptors, it can trigger your stomach muscles to contract and make bowel movements easy.
All you need to do is to take a spoonful or two of castor oil on an empty stomach. You shall feel the effects within eight hours and the next thing you know, you’re inside the bathroom.
In case you are not a fan of castor oil, you can try the next ingredient.
5. Pure Olive Oil: Why It Should Be One of Your Go-To Constipation Remedies
Think about this: cars require oil to get them up and running. Just like cars, your body also needs oil to facilitate smooth movements inside your body. When it comes to oils, there is another name that stands out: olive oil.
Olive oil offers relief against constipation by stimulating your digestive system and helping the muscles to get things moving through your colon. If you take it regularly, this could also improve your long-term digestion.
Consume a tablespoon of olive oil every morning, preferably on an empty stomach. If you can tolerate the taste, try mixing a few drops of lemon juice, mix it well, and then take it.
6. What to Do When Constipated: Get Your Fiber Fix and Make Your Tummy Happy
You can always find tons of articles about the best treatments for this famous gastrointestinal problem. Apparently, one name stands out in this department. When it comes to what to eat when constipated, foods that are rich in fiber will always be a great help.
The reason is because fiber acts as a pipe cleaner in your digestive tract. This means it scrubs food and other wastes to make it easier for you to pass stools. Consequently, fiber adds bulk to your stool, thereby making it easier for the muscles in your gastrointestinal tract to have something to grab on as they move out of your body.
A minimum of 25 grams of fiber per day is required to get your digestive system back on track. Some of the best sources of fiber are:
In relation to fiber, check out this next section and find out how this particular food item could address constipation problems.
7. Prunes and Raisins: Must Haves on the List of “What to Do When Constipated” Home Remedies
You already know how important fiber is in your diet, especially when you are constipated. When it comes to fiber-rich foods, here is something you should always add in your list: prunes and raisins.
Prunes are fiber-rich foods and one of the best go-to home remedies to address constipation and bring your digestion back on track. It triggers intestinal contraction, a crucial characteristic in making bowel movements easier and less painful for you.
On the other hand, raisins are also rich in fiber and one of the most effective constipation remedies around. Raisins contain tartaric acid, an ingredient that comes with laxative effect.
You can eat them raw or as is. In case you want a surefire way to get your digestive system back on the road, mix raisins and prunes with a bowl of yogurt for gut-soothing probiotics. You are only almost halfway through this post. Keep reading to find out the other techniques on what to do when constipated.
8. Small But Mighty: Sesame Seeds to the Rescue of Your Digestion Issues
You often sprinkle them on salads or mix them in your favorite chicken or meat dishes for added crunch and flavor. Did you know that sesame seeds can also help you in case you are having trouble doing number two?
Sesame seeds’ oily composition moisturizes your intestines and helps you let go of dry stools. It also provides roughage and bulk in your stools and aids in softening the contents of your intestines to make pooping easier and more convenient.
The best part is sesame seeds are easy to incorporate in your diet. You can eat them as is, sprinkle in salads or cereals, or sprinkle them on your dishes like a seasoning. Don’t forget to drink tons of water when eating sesame seeds to avoid buildup in your intestines.
9. Ease Digestive Conditions With a Tablespoon of Blackstrap Molasses
How many times did you consider molasses as among the constipation remedies? Most of the time, you would go for fiber-rich foods, since they surely won’t let you down.
Don’t worry. Molasses, particularly blackstrap molasses are among the best foods you can feed your body to address constipation. Blackstrap molasses were boiled and concentrated three times that crystallizes the sugar content. Thereafter, you are left with the vitamins and minerals, particularly magnesium, which is an effective component against constipation.
A teaspoon of blackstrap molasses is enough to jumpstart your bowel movements. In case you didn’t like the taste, you can add a teaspoon in a glass of water or tea. If you are able to tolerate the taste, gradually increase blackstrap molasses in your drink until you are able to drink up to two tablespoons of molasses.
Don’t forget to check health and foods stores or natural food stores for your supply of blackstrap molasses.
10. Fizzle It Out: Baking Soda as the Ultimate Home Remedy Against Constipation
Baking soda is one of the ultimate home remedies because of its many uses and benefits. To prove that it deserves a spot in the heart of home remedies, you should know that this ingredient could also provide relief against constipation.
This is because baking soda is a sodium bicarbonate, which means it easily reacts with the acids in your stomach and produces carbon dioxide, salt, and water. At the same time, it encourages air to come out of your body and relieve pain brought by stomach pressure. More importantly, baking soda re-alkalizes your stomach and neutralizes the acid to help pass things easier in your gut.
In other words, baking soda is among the best techniques on what to do when constipated and laxatives don’t work. Here’s what you should do to make sure this staple kitchen ingredient will work for you:
- Combine one teaspoon of baking soda with one-fourth cup of warm water.
- Mix well.
- Drink the mixture in one sitting. The quicker you finish the drink, the better the results will be.
11. The Day Ayurveda Came to the Rescue to Address Constipation
Have you considered ayurveda medicine to treat constipation? If not, then now is the best time you should try it.
Take the case of Triphala. This particular ingredient is made with black myroblan and works as an effective laxative. It also contains antibacterial, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal properties, which help your body treat various infections.
You can take two to three Triphala tablets with warm water before you sleep to jumpstart your morning by giving it a go inside the bathroom. You can also use powdered form by mixing one teaspoon of Triphala powder in a glass of warm water. For best results, drink it all in one go.
If you want to keep it simpler while addressing irregular bowel movements, then try this product: IBS Relief System by Digestive Science. It is convenient and comes with easy to use application while ensuring better gut health and improved digestion. This puts the good bacteria back in your gut too.
12. Start Your Day with Mint or Ginger Tea – and Jumpstart Your Body, Too
Despite its good intentions and many health benefits, water can be bland and boring – and doesn’t encourage you to drink more. To add more variety in your menu, try mint or ginger tea first thing in the morning.
Ginger is a warming herb that causes your body to generate more heat and speed up sluggish digestion. On the other hand, mint contains menthol, an ingredient with antispasmodic effects and it relaxes the muscles of your digestive tract.
Whatever you choose, one thing is for sure: these drinks could help address your constipation issues. Consequently, the hot water stimulates digestion and helps you get relief from constipation.
You have to be careful with peppermint tea. If acid reflux is an issue, skip the mint and go for ginger tea instead.
13. One Cup of Yogurt a Day to Shoo Constipation Away
Earlier, you learned that mixing prunes or raisins with yogurt is one of the simplest yet effective ways to address constipation. So, what’s with yogurt that makes it extra special?
Yogurt helps maintain a healthy gut flora and ensures that your digestive system is working properly. Aside from this, yogurt contains probiotics, an essential component that facilitates things inside your stomach. This will make it easier for you to pass stools and say goodbye to constipation in no time.
Mix dried fruits and other fiber-rich foods with yogurt to get your digestion back where it rightfully belongs.
14. Never Underestimate the Power of Herbs in Your Fight Against Constipation
You refused to believe in their healing properties, but it turns out that herbs are among the best treatments for this type of digestive condition. When it comes to anti-constipation herbs, one ingredient takes the spotlight: cascara sagrada or buckthorn.
This popular herbal laxative works by irritating your colon, which is enough to promote bowel movement. Make sure to take this for a few days only until it gets better inside the bathroom. Prolonged use of this herb may cause abdominal pain or electrolyte imbalance among others.
Aside from buckthorn, here are other herbs you should include in your constipation remedies:
- Psyllium – It is a natural fiber laxative that helps create bulk in your stools. This herb treats chronic constipation and may be combined with other laxatives.
- Senna – If you are undergoing medical procedure, this herb is often used to help clear bowel.
- Rhubarb – Aside from its laxative effect, this herb also comes with anti-diarrheal effect.
- Slippery Elm – This herb stimulates your gastrointestinal tract, thereby providing relief from constipation.
Keep in mind that these herbs will work and help you get relief against constipation. Still, these herbs are advisable for short-term use only and it is best to consult a doctor about your options to minimize side effects or long-term damage.
Apparently, it doesn’t end here. Keep reading to find out how lifestyle changes could affect your digestion issues and kiss constipation goodbye.
15. 15-Minute Walk a Day Can Go a Long Way in Treating Tummy Troubles
How often do you exercise? If you are often sitting in front of your television and watching Netflix or seldom visit the gym, then there is a possibility that you might slow down your body’s ability to get rid of toxins through bowel movements.
The connection between sedentary lifestyle and constipation is still unclear. Nevertheless, experts found out that when you are active and regularly moving, there is a better chance of keeping your gut active and moving as well. On the other hand, living a sedentary lifestyle keeps the contents inside your gastrointestinal tract stationary as well. This is the reason why older individuals and those bed-bound are more likely to experience constipation.
Start with 15-minute walk everyday to get things moving inside your stomach. Thereafter, slowly incorporate workout routines until you are able to include exercise in your daily routine. This minimizes constipation issues and one of the effective techniques on what to do when constipated after surgery.
16. It Boils Down to Potty Position: What to Do When Constipated on the Toilet
The techniques you learned above are all effective constipation remedies and will surely make everything easier for you inside the bathroom. Still, it doesn’t end with what you eat and drink. Aside from your lifestyle, even your seating position inside the bathroom could provide relief against constipation and makes it easier for you to pass stool.
What is the proper way to do it? Here’s how:
- As you sit on the toilet bowl, lean forward with your hands resting on your thighs.
- Get a foot stool to make your knees higher than your hips, but with your feet resting firmly on the stool.
- Take deep breaths to increase the pressure in your abdomen and make it easier for you to pass stool.
- Breathe to the bottom of your lungs with your mouth slightly open. This will also reduce the strain on your pelvic floor and minimize pain or discomfort as a result of constipation.
Once you mastered the right seating technique, it will be easier for you to pass stools and eventually stop constipation from paying a visit.
Some Last Few Words of Wisdom for You
Constipation may not pose a serious threat on your health, yet this doesn’t mean you should be complacent if you suffer from it often. If you are having a hard time letting it all go inside the bathroom, then take note of these 16 effective strategies on what to when constipated and find a technique that will work best for you.
More importantly, don’t hesitate to consult a doctor, especially when you notice that these simple remedies are not helping. It’s better to be safe than sorry.