Your first instinct when you’re in this predicament might be to reach for a laxative. But chances are you don’t need one. The best way to get “regular” again is simply to eat more fiber – 20 to 35 grams a day. Fiber absorbs water and makes your stool softer and larger, which speeds it through your system. To cope with all that fiber, you’ll need more fluids too. And don’t forget about exercise, which can also help keep things moving. Do all three things and you’ll certainly put a smile back on your face instead of that, well, constipated look.
Fix It with Fiber
– Start your day with a high-fiber bran cereal. Some brands contain as much as 14 grams of insoluble fiber, the kind that adds bulk to stool, which spurs the body to move it through the digestive tract more quickly. A word to the wise : if you’re not used to eating this much fiber, start with a smaller serving – say, one-quarter cup, served with skim milk or low-fat yogurt – then work your way up. Otherwise you may experience gas, bloating, and cramps.
– Fill up on cooked dried beans, prunes, figs, and oat-meal. All are rich in soluble fiber, the kind that turns to gel in the intestines and helps to soften stool. Pears are also good sources of soluble fiber.
– Mix one to two teaspoons psyllium seeds into a cup of hot water. Let it sit for two hours, add lemon and honey to taste, then drink. Psyllium adds bulk to stool and is the main ingredient in many OTC bulk-forming laxatives. You’ll find the seeds in most drugstores and health-food stores. You can also try this remedy with flaxseeds.
– Flaxseeds are high in fiber and also contain heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Take 1 tablespoon of the ground seeds, which are sold in health-food stores, two or three times a day. Some people like the taste of flaxeed (it faintly resembles walnuts). If you don’t, you can hide it in your morning cereal, stir it into applesauce, or add it to a fruit smoothie. Or grind the seeds in a spice grinder or coffee grinder, keep the ground-up seeds in the fridge, and sprinkle a half-teaspoon into your orange juice.
– As you increase your intake of fiber, also be sure to drink lots of water – at least eight 250-milliliter glass a day. Fiber is extremely absorbent, and when you don’t drink enough, your stools may become small, hard, and painful to pass.
Important remark :
Constipation is usually not grave. However, it can sometimes signal a serious condition such as colorectal cancer or bowel obstruction. Tell your doctor if it lasts two weeks or more even when you’re following the recommandations in this article. and call your doctor immediately if you see blood in your stool or if constipation is accompanied by fever,severe abdominal pain, or cramps, Also, if you’ve recently started a new medication that seems to cause constipation, you’ll want to talk to your doctor. Possible drug culprits include antihistamine, diuretics, blood-pressure drugs, sedatives, calcium supplements, certain antidepressants, and antacids that contain calcium or aluminium.
Have a Hot Cup to Loosen Up
– Have a morning cup of joe. If you’re a java drinker, you may have already discovered that the caffeine in coffee has a bowel-loosening effect. It induces a bowel movement by stimulating the colon. Just don’t drink too much of it – caffeine is a diuretic and will eliminate fluid from your body.
– If you don’t like coffee, try any other hot beverage first thing in the morning. Herbal or decaffeinated tea or a cup of hot water with a little lemon juice or honey may stimulate the colon as well. (Lemon juice is a natural laxative.)
– Dandelion tea, which has a mild laxative effect, may help to get you regular again. Steep1 teaspoon dried root in 1 cup boiling water and drink one cup three times a day. You’ll find the dried dandelion root in health-food stores.
Wrinkle Your Nose – but it Works
One of Mom’s favorite remedies, castor oil, really does help relieve constipation. A component in the oil breaks down into a substance that stimulates the small and large intestines. Take 1 to 2 teaspoons on an empty stomach, and give it 8 hours to do its work.
Wrinkled Fruit Works Too
– The humble prune is one of the oldest home remedies for constipation. It’s high in fiber (three prunes contain 3 grams of fiber). Also, prunes contain a compound called dihydrox-yphenyl isatin, which stimulates the intestinal constipation that make you want to go.
– Don’t like prunes? Open a box of raisins, They, too, are high in fiber and contain tartaric acid, which has a laxative effect. In one study in which people ate 130 grams (one small box) of raisins a day, doctors determined that it took half the time for digested food to make it through the digestive tract.
Get Up and Go
Get regular exercises. There’s a reason a daily walk is called a daily constitutional. When you move your body, you also help move food through your bowel more quickly. Aim for a daily walk at the very least.
Put the Pressure On
One of the more unusual remedies for constipation is acupressure. Practitioners of this technique say that it helps stimulate your digestion – and, therefore, your bowels. Apply pressure with your thumb to the point four finger-widths above wrist on the back of the forearm. Do this for two minutes every day while the problem persists.
– The herb cascara sagada is so effective it’s even added to several over-the-counter laxatives. It’s known as a stimulant laxative because it stimulates the intestinal tract. The herb comes in a variety of forms; follow the dosage directions on the package , But don’t take it for more than two weeks; it can make your body lose too much fluid and salt – and with habitual use, you can become dependent on it.
– If other remedies fail to bring relief. try the mother of all natural laxatives: senna. It should work in about 8 hours, so most people take it before bedtime. Take 20 to 40 drops of the tincture at night, but don’t plan on making it a long-term cure. With repeated use, it can cause crumps and diarrhea. As with cascara sagrada, long-term use can cause dependency.
– Never try to force a bowel movement. You may give yourself hemorrhoids or anal fissures. These not only hurt, they aggravate constipation because they narrow the anal opening.
– Never ignore nature’s call. If you do, you’re asking for a case of constipation.