My grandmother was a walking encyclopedia of natural cures and herbal remedies. If you had an ailment, somewhere in her stockpile of roots, herbs, and potions she had a treatment. For a family who couldn’t always afford a doctor’s visit, this often came in handy. This wasn’t a good thing if your complaint happened to be constipation. It’s something we all tried to hide from her. Why? Because the first weapon in her arsenal was always Castor oil. Two tablespoons, straight off the spoon. None of that wimpy mixing with juice or anything. One time was enough for me.
Simply, constipation is a decrease in the frequency of your bowel movements. It is a miserable feeling where you strain to pass hard, dry stools. It is often painful when you do go, and you are often left feeling like you haven’t done anything afterwards. While it may feel like you are dying, constipation is not a disease, and depending on the cause, it can be easily remedied.
Check your diet
Eating a diet that is heavy in processed foods and low in fiber is a sure fire way to develop constipation. Adding fiber to your daily diet bulks up your stool and decreases the amount of time it stays in your digestive tract. Eating more fiber in your daily diet is easier than most people think. Even the smallest of changes will have a big impact in your ability to go. Try switching from white bread to wheat bread. Add a piece of fruit with your breakfast. Mixing your favorite cereal with a high fiber cereal is a way to increase your intake. Make certain you eat a vegetable of some kind with both your lunch and dinner. You can mix brown rice in with white rice, or try wild rice. It is important to add your fiber slowly over a few weeks to give your system time to adjust.
Check your fluids
Drinking plenty of water, and other non-caffeinated beverages will help to prevent both constipation and dehydration. Also, increasing your fluid intake will help to decrease the amount of gas and bloat you may develop as a result of the added fiber. Staying well hydrated will help to keep your stools soft and make them easier to pass.
Check your activity level
When you are constipated, you feel sluggish and bloated and generally miserable. Exercise and movement of any kind is the absolute last thing that you want to do. However, regular exercise gets more than just your heart pumping and your blood flowing. So go for a short walk, break out the yoga mat, do some yard work, or simply dance like no one is watching. You’ll soon start to feel better.
Check your medications
Sometimes constipation is a side effect of medications. If you suspect this maybe the cause of your problem, call your doctor. You may need a simple dosage adjustment, or you may need to be switched to a different prescription.
Check your hormones
Constipation can be an indication of a hormone imbalance in the body. It is often a symptom of pregnancy, diabetes, and thyroid disorders. If you being noticing other symptoms around the same time as you develop constipation, it may be a smart idea to schedule a trip to your doctor’s office.
In some cases, constipation is indicative of a more serious health issue. If you start running a fever, have abdominal pain, notice blood in your stool, or if your constipation lasts for more than a week, contact your doctor immediately. These can be signs of an obstruction, and in some rare cases, even cancer.