it’s time to go? 8 Simple and Affordable Home Remedies to Cure Constipation

The struggle (leaving) is real.

Few conditions are as uncomfortable or as uncomfortable to talk about as constipation.

But as we celebrate Constipation Awareness Month (yes, it really exists), it’s time to learn some facts about a condition that affects up to 20 percent of American adults, some of them long-term.

“Most people experience the inconvenience of constipation at some point in their lives,” Ceciel T. Rooker, president of the International Gastrointestinal Diseases Foundation, said in a press release .

“For people with chronic constipation, this can be extremely debilitating and life-changing,” Rucker added.

What is constipation?

Constipation is difficulty having a bowel movement. According to the Mayo Clinic, people typically poop anywhere from three times a week to once or twice a day, and “regular” means something different for everyone.

Some studies have found that soda is more effective than tap water in relieving constipation. Getty Images

Occasional constipation is fairly common and can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • dehydration
  • Lack of dietary fiber
  • Certain medications, such as opioid pain relievers, antacids, antihistamines, or antidepressants
  • lack of exercise

Constipation can also be caused by problems with the muscles that make up the pelvic floor at the bottom of the torso, or any blockage in the colon or rectum.

Health conditions such as pregnancy, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Parkinson’s disease, hyperthyroidism, or diabetes may also be associated with chronic constipation.

But no matter the cause, when you’re stuck like in the Holland Tunnel, these eight suggestions for simple, inexpensive home remedies may help get things moving again:

drink soda

Many people are mildly dehydrated throughout the day, and while any water can help, some studies have found sparkling water or sparkling water to be more effective at relieving constipation than tap water.

Some notes: People with irritable bowel syndrome report that carbonated or sparkling drinks make their symptoms worse, so they’re better off drinking non-carbonated water.

In addition to the overall negative health effects of added sugar and artificial sweeteners, drinking sugary carbonated sodas may make constipation worse.

There is a java

Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages have a stimulating effect on the nervous system and intestines and can relieve constipation.

According to Medical News Today, caffeinated coffee has a stimulating effect on the intestines that is 60% greater than drinking water and 23% greater than decaffeinated coffee.

But you might want to try black coffee: Dairy or lactose intolerance may cause constipation in some people.

Coffee has a stimulating effect on the nervous system and intestines and can relieve constipation. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Add fiber to your diet

Fiber adds bulk and consistency to bowel movements, making them easier to pass. Fiber also helps stools move faster, preventing them from drying out as they move through the intestines.

A 2016 review found that 77% of patients with chronic constipation benefited from fiber supplements. But not all fibers are created equal.

The insoluble fiber in vegetables and whole grains adds bulk to your stools and may help them pass through your digestive system faster and easier.

Soluble fiber in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, and legumes absorbs water and forms a gel-like paste that softens stool.

And non-fermentable soluble fibers like psyllium may be the best choice for treating constipation. A 2020 study found that psyllium was more than three times more effective than insoluble wheat bran in treating constipation.

Insoluble fiber found in vegetables and whole grains can relieve constipation. Adobe Stock

Try senna

According to WebMD, senna (the fruit or leaves of the senna plant) is an over-the-counter laxative used to treat constipation and to clear the intestines before procedures such as colonoscopies.

Senna is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the short-term treatment of constipation. The plant contains a chemical called sennoside, which irritates the intestinal lining and produces a laxative effect.

Herbal treatments containing senna are easily available online or at most pharmacies.

Eat probiotic foods

Probiotics are live, beneficial bacteria that occur naturally in the gut, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. These organisms can help prevent chronic constipation.

People with chronic constipation may have an imbalance of bacteria in their gut, so consuming more probiotic foods can help improve this balance and relieve constipation.

Foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir and kimchi contain probiotics, as well as many supplements.

Prunes and prunes contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that has been shown to have laxative effects. Getty Images

eat some plums

All fruits contain some fiber, which can help relieve constipation, but prunes and prunes also contain some extra fiber.

Prunes and prunes contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that has been shown to have laxative effects. In fact, some studies have found that prunes may be more effective than fiber supplements like psyllium.

According to a study comparing plums and psyllium, the ideal dose may be around 50 grams, or about 7 medium-sized plums, twice a day.

use laxatives

Over-the-counter laxatives are divided into different categories, such as stool softeners, fillers, or stimulant laxatives, but almost all are effective.

However, doctors warn that these medications should only be used occasionally and may become habit-forming if used regularly, according to Cornell Health.

exercise more

When all else fails, some people find that their constipation is relieved when they stand up and move around.

Countless studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of constipation, so many health care experts recommend increasing exercise to promote stool movement.

Mild exercise, such as walking or swimming, may help relieve constipation more than strenuous exercise, such as running.

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