By Dr. Jeeno Jayan, MBBS
Conventional medicine can help for to overcome constipation short-term.
However, there are undesirable effects of many of these remedies when used for a longer period of time.
In this article I would like to share with you a few natural ways to find constipation relief. When you weigh the pros and cons, I believe you may find these natural ways to be superior.
Most Americans know the important role that fiber plays in regularity, thanks to TV advertisements for fiber bars, fiber supplements and fiber laxatives.
Ideally, we need 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day.
It is the bulk of a stool that stimulates the colon to contract and help move fecal matter along.
Without bulk, stool tends to stay too long in the colon, the colon continues its job of extracting moisture, and stool becomes dry, hard and difficult to pass, hence constipation.
When you increase your intake of fiber, you also need to increase your water intake. Fiber without water simply means dried out stools that are larger. Ouch!!!
Here are some examples of fiber-rich foods that can be added to one’s diet:
A large proportion of the population lives with at least marginal dehydration.
When the body’s percentage of fluid decreases as little as 1%, it can influence the bowels.
When we are dehydrated, extra moisture is extracted from feces because it is needed elsewhere. The result is dry, hard stool that can be difficult to pass, which then brings on constipatioin.
This is why staying hydrated plays such a key role in regularity. The average person should drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. Those who sweat a lot or are experiencing vomiting or diarrhea should drink even more to help fight back.
While drinks like fruit juices can help with hydration, nothing works as well as water, especially if the water contains needed electrolytes.
One reason is that juice contains sugar, which tends to promote constipation.
Sodas and other popular beverages may also contain ingredients that can promote constipation. This is especially true of caffeinated or alcoholic drinks.
When enough is consumed, both caffeine and alcohol will stimulate the body to eliminate extra water thru urination, leading to dehydration and constipation.
On the other hand, a single cup of hot coffee or tea first thing in the morning can help to relieve constipation.
One of the great secrets for overcoming constipation is to take a daily magnesium supplement.
As little as 200 to 400 mg. each day might just help do the trick.
Studies have shown that up to 80 percent of Americans do not get enough of magnesium in their diet.
This in itself can cause constipation. But besides this, when we get the amount of needed magnesium it may result in numerous health benefits.
Don’t you love that urge to go? Normally our body will give us this signal when it is time to defecate.
The problem is, when the timing isn’t convenient, it is all too easy to put it off, which can result in the following:
The urge to go is an internal alarm clock, one which we should heed if we want to avoid constipation. As we respond to it each day, the body tends to establish a pattern for defecation.
For some it may mean going shortly after getting up each day. Others may go after getting home from work or school. These patterns can help us eliminate on a daily basis.
It has been proven that stress has a direct link to constipation.
There are many ways to handle stress, like taking a walk, getting involved in a sport, listening to calming music, involve yourself in a hobby, etc.
Reducing our stress levels can contribute to better bowel movements.
While there are many products that can be taken for occasional constipation, the above common sense measures are a good starting point for long-term constipation relief and help.