Constipation is a symptom more than a disease because it hides different conditions that cause it. It is characterized by difficulty in bowel movements such as painful defecation, hard stool, and a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bowel. It can also lead to other conditions such as hemorrhoids, anal fissure, and fecal impaction. In this article, we will discuss: “constipation treatment home remedies”.
What are the causes of constipation?
The common causes of constipation are:
Slow motion of the stool in the colon
Irritable bowel syndrome
Pelvic floor disease
Inflammatory bowel disease
There are also some underlying diseases that can result in constipation such as Parkinson’s disease, celiac disease etc. stress and anxiety are also known to cause constipation.
There are multiple treatments available for constipation such as laxatives, fibre supplements, enema, surgical treatment but all these have some kind of side effects or huge cost associated with them. Thus, people are looking more for constipation treatment home remedies.
There are many constipation treatment home remedies that people can follow from the comfort of their own homes that are supported by science.
Drinking enough water
Drinking water regularly and keeping body hydrated helps in normal bowel movements.
Normally, colon (large intestine) absorbs water from the food while it passes through it and turns into stool but during constipation, the stool moves slowly through the colon and too much water gets absorbed which results in the hard and dry stool.
Honey warm water helps in reducing constipation very effectively in patients with CABG (coronary artery bypass grafting) surgery. Therefore, it can help in other cases of constipation too. 3
Drinking warm lemonade in the morning can also provide relief from constipation.
Fruits contain water, sorbitol, fructose, fiber, and phytochemicals. Fruits such as pear, grape, plump, and apple with peel are rich in fiber and prove helpful in constipation.
Only bananas are not recommended as it contains a high amount of tannins and amylase-resistant starch content. 4
Citrus fruits are rich in pectin (indigestible carbohydrate contained in the cellular wall of the vegetal tissue). It is a soluble fiber that proves to be an adjuvant in controlling constipation. Besides pectin, citrus fruits like other fruits contain water, sorbitol, fructose, fiber, and phytochemicals. 5
Fruits can also be consumed in the form of juices or shakes by adding more water, dietary fibre, and cumin or fennel seeds.
Cumin seeds are used in everyday meal, but it also has huge affect on the constipation.
Cumin seeds can control diarrhea and constipation if used in the proper doses. Some countries also consume powder form of cumin and salt with water to boost digestion. 6
Fennel seeds are used as herbal medicine to treat a variety of diseases such as fever, mouth ulcers, stomach aches, constipation, and diarrhea.
Take ½ tablespoon powder of fennel seeds and add in tea or warm water in the morning.
Consuming dietary fibre
What are the types of dietary fibres?
Dietary fibre is a type of carbohydrate that is not digested by the enzymes in our body. Based on their physical properties they are divided into the soluble fibre, insoluble fibre, and resistant starch. Soluble and resistant starch acts as prebiotics and helps in digestion in the large bowel. 9, 10
Soluble fibre can absorb the water in the intestine and makes the stool soft.
Food items high in soluble fibre: kidney beans, Brussel sprouts, figs, black beans, avocados, broccoli, carrots, apples, guava, apricots, flax seeds. Psyllium soaks water
Insoluble fibre does not absorb water but it increases the bulk of the stool and helps in normal defecation. Sources: wheat bran/flour, potato with peel, nuts, beans, and cauliflower have insoluble fibre in them.
Resistant starch is a carbohydrate that ferments in the large intestine and acts as prebiotic.
Heating and cooling of several food items such as rice and potato produces resistant starch.
Brisk walking and light exercise can improve the defecation process. But studies also suggest that mild to moderate exercise are beneficial for the gastrointestinal tract while rigorous training can worsen the symptoms of constipation. 11
Drinking coffee and tea
Coffee and tea both can stimulate the process of digestion and help in constipation. Decaffeinated coffee is recommended more as it does not have caffeine and thus does not cause dehydration while consuming too much caffeinated coffee can have opposite outcomes and constipation can worsen as it can dehydrate the body. 12
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can have health benefits when consumed or applied. They improve digestion, kill pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria, and produce vitamins. Some food items that are good sources of probiotics: Yogurt. Buttermilk, Cheese, Pickles, sauerkraut, Kimchi. 13
Low FODMAP diet
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. These are carbohydrates that are not properly digested by the body and they ferment in the large intestine, where they break into carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrogen gas which can cause gas, bloating, and pain in some people. 14
These are not always bad for the body as they also contain some prebiotics which help in the digestion such as fructose found in fruits, polyols in artificial sweeteners, and lactose in dairy products.
Low-FODMAP diet has shown significant improvement in people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.
It involves reducing the intake of FODMAP food items for a limited period of time and reintroducing them after improvement in digestion.
Food items that are source of FODMAP:
Cauliflower, mushrooms, apple, cabbage, beans, green beans, pulses, Brussel sprouts, spring onion, beetroot, globe artichoke, wheat, barley, onion, garlic, rye, asparagus, fennel, red cabbage, blackberry, cherry, litchi, pears, plums, prunes and many other items that contain fructans, polyols, and galactans.
Constipation treatment home remedies are a list of ways to treat constipation but constipation can be caused due to multiple reasons and underlying causes. Hence, always consult a doctor if the symptoms persist.