‘Motion se hi emotion hai’ remember this tagline of the movie Piku? People who suffer from constipation will agree to it to the core! Their ‘nature of loo’ determines their moods. The film has captured this perfectly in the character of Bhaskar Bannerjee – played by Amitabh Bachchan – who was always constipated and this pissed off all the people in his life, including his own daughter. Constipation is not something to be taken lightly, it can drive people away from us!! While you may be more than willing to share how much your sore throat is torturing you, rarely do you go into the office and announce that you haven’t pooped in five days. If you continue to feel constipated for more than one day, you are bound to give this issue a top priority.
Constipation occurs most often because people don’t have enough fibre and/or water in their diet. It can also occur as a result of too little exercise, or it can be a side effect of a number of different drugs. Everyone experiences this phenomenon from time to time, but the good news is there are a number of safe, gentle and natural remedies to both relieve and prevent constipation. Natural remedies for constipation can help relieve your discomfort and keep you free of strong medications. This article will help you learn how to take care of sluggish bowels in a healthy way.
Start with good habits: Our habits make or break us. And inculcating good habits in our life can go a long way in keeping us away from all types of health-related issues! Practising good habits is the basis of healthy living! So here are a few habits that can drive constipation away-
- Add Fiber to Your Diet
Make sure you include enough fibre at least 24 to 38 grams in your daily diet from fruits and vegetables. Foods that are high fat, high sugar and dairy can increase your chances of constipation. Fiber goes straight through to the colon and goes to help keep your bowels moving on a regular basis. It also helps to keep water in the bowel to keep stools soft. Include these foods for extra fibre:
- Vegetables: peas, broccoli and artichokes
- Fruits: Apples, pears, and berries
- Beans/Legumes: Lentils, black beans, and split peas
- Grains: Bran, flax, whole-grain pasta, and barley
- Increase Water Intake
Drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water daily is good for general health. And in case you have constipation, add about 2 to 4 glasses of warm water every day. Besides, you should drink 10 to 20 ounces of regular water in the morning before breakfast. This will help flush out waste and toxins. Avoid sugary drinks to replace water. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, give it a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Establish Good Bowel Habits
Holding back bowel movements can really plug you up inside. Try not to hold it and go as soon as the urge hits you. The feeling that you need to have a bowel movement is a natural reaction by the body to tell you that it is time. If you don’t go when the urge hits, the body pulls the water out of your stool and makes it hard.
Try to have a set time each day for your bowel movement. This is a time when you have privacy. You can train your body to go at the same time every day and get some reading materials to relax if necessary. And in this way, you can transform this utterly boring task into ‘me time’ and wait eagerly for it, every day! 😛
- Loosen up with a hot cup
- A morning cup of hot java will help. Caffeine has a bowel-loosening effect. Just don’t drink too much since it’s also a diuretic. Coffee lovers, are you listening? Here’s one more reason to love coffee!
- Herbal or decaffeinated tea or a simple cup of hot water with lemon juice will also help to get things moving.
- Dandelion tea has a mild laxative effect. Steep one teaspoon of the dried root in one cup of boiling water. Drink one cup three times per day. So tea lovers, well, we have some good news for you all too!
- Get up and go
- The evening walk used to be called the daily constitutional. Regular exercise helps your body move food quicker. Aim for a daily walk at the very least. Because if you aren’t active yourself, how can you expect your digestion system to be active enough to provide you with the pleasure of hassle-free motion!
Helpful Home Remedies for Constipation: Because there is a reason why ‘dadi ma ke nuskes’ have been popular over the years. Our darling grand moms found solutions to every problem in the kitchen. And how can something as important as constipation be left behind? So here is a list of all the humble items available in our kitchen which can fight constipation-
Honey & Lemon
How It Helps: Honey is a safe and all-natural remedy that has a mild laxative effect. Used daily it can both treat and prevent ongoing bouts of constipation.
How to Use: Use 2 teaspoons of honey 3 times daily. It is even more effective when you add 1 tablespoon of honey to an 8 oz. glass of warm water and lemon juice. This mixture works best when used first thing in the morning before breakfast.
How It Helps: There are numerous benefits of using flaxseed, but one of them is laxative properties. Flaxseeds are high in fibre that can help with both mild and severe bouts of constipation.
How to Use: Take 1 tablespoon flaxseed and stir into a glass full of water. Allow it to sit for 2 or 3 hours and drink at bedtime. Your constipation should be relieved by morning. You can even sprinkle your cereal with 2 to 3 tablespoons of flaxseed and chase it with a full glass of water
Molasses & Milk
How It Helps: Molasses, especially blackstrap molasses is a great natural laxative that can get your bowels moving because of the high level of magnesium that is produced naturally when processing.
How to Use: Take 1 teaspoon of molasses prior to bedtime. It can be stirred into milk/juices to improve the taste. You can also stir it into peanut butter and eat it on your toast first thing in the morning. If 1 teaspoon does not help, you can increase gradually up to 2 tablespoons.
How It Helps: Olive oil helps to stimulate bowel movements and get things going. If you use it on a regular basis, you may even prevent regular episodes of constipation.
How to Use: Take 1 tablespoon before breakfast in the morning. If you don’t take it when you first wake up, take it on an empty stomach later in the day. If you don’t like the taste, mix it with the lemon juice for an added punch to wipe out constipation.
How It Works: Epsom salt contains magnesium, which naturally stimulates bowel contractions. It also allows more water to enter the bowels to soften stool. It is a “dry laxative” that is mixed with fluids.
How to Use: Take 2 teaspoons of Epsom salts and mix into a cup of water or juice. Wait 4 hours and if you have not had a bowel movement, repeat one more time. For little ones, only use a ½ teaspoon.
How it works: Castor oil has a compound that when digested stimulates the small and large intestines.
How to use: Swallow one to two teaspoons quickly on an empty stomach and give it eight hours to work its magic. Tastes nasty but it works!
Relax and don’t wait
Regardless of what constipation treatment you use, give yourself enough time to sit on the toilet when you need to go. Holding the urge can make your constipation worse. Set aside a time in the day when you know you’ll be left undisturbed for several minutes. After all, freeing your body of all the waste you stuffed inside it is an equally important task and needs proper attention, just like any other daily chores!
Also, don’t ignore the problem. Untreated constipation can lead to real problems, such as haemorrhoids and tears in the skin around the anus (called fissures) that make you bleed. If you strain too hard, you might even cause a part of your intestines to push out through the anus — a condition called rectal prolapse that can sometimes require surgery. Now you know why Mr Bachchan in Piku gave utmost importance to his constipation problem!
When to see a Doctor
While this article may tell you how to get rid of constipation naturally, you may need medical help if it does not go away. Complications from constipation include anal tears or fissures, haemorrhoids or a prolapsed rectum. Constipation can even get bad enough that it needs surgical intervention. See a doctor immediately if:
- Constipation becomes a long-term issue
- You have blood with bowel movements
- You experience abdominal pain
- You lose weight
- You have not had a bowel movement for over 3 days with treatment
- You cannot have a bowel movement at all or been constipated for over 3 weeks
Constipation may be something that people like to keep to themselves, but whether you don’t tell a soul, or announce it on graduation day via the loudspeaker, it all comes down to the fact that it can seriously impede day to day life. It is also, thankfully, something that can often be effectively treated naturally & at home. As a bonus, many of the lifestyle changes that help constipation (diet, exercise, etc.) also make you an overall happier, healthier human being.
It’s high time that we don’t consider ‘constipation’ as a shameful problem, dealing with it surreptitiously but go out in the open and discuss it with people and find solutions to it just like we talk about catching a cold or any other health problem. Perhaps take a cue from Bhaskar Banerjee from Piku (who made the whole world aware of his constipation problem). After all, shitting is natural and that’s why it’s called ‘nature’s call’!
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Rashmi extensively educated herself in the field of nutrition to create awareness amongst people. Being in this field for 9 years, she believes that having the body that you always wanted is to nourish it with love, understanding and care.