Having to deal with constipation can be maddening. Especially when you simply can’t achieve a bowel movement no matter how hard you try.
Thankfully, there are many products on the market designed to treat your constipation. But, more and more people are starting to prefer more natural remedies.
If you’re one of those people, here are a few options.
1. Increase Your Fiber Intake
If you don’t get enough fiber in your diet, you’re not alone. In fact, as many as 90 percent of people in the U.S. fail to consume enough of this vital substance on a daily basis.1 Fiber plays a critical role in helping you achieve regular bowel movements.2
Great natural sources of fiber include –
- Apples (with the skin)
- Green, leafy vegetables
Now, you want to get into the routine of eating these foods on a regular basis – not only with meals but at snack time too. Whole-grain foods also have a lot of fiber as well as other important nutrients.4
Just make sure you talk to your doctor before you start any new dietary regimen.
2. Change Your Position
This is a unique method that you may just find useful to treat your constipation. It can be somewhat uncomfortable, but it could be just what you need.
To try it, just place a small step stool or a footrest next to the commode. Sit down as you normally would, but put your feet on the footrest or stool. Elevating your feet should help place you at the best angle possible for having a bowel movement.5
3. Use Aloe Vera
Aloe vera contains anthraquinones, which are natural laxatives. They help increase the water content of the intestines and stimulate the secretion of mucus.6 This, in turn, stimulates a process known as peristalsis. Peristalsis is the contraction of muscles in the intestines that move stool through the bowels.7
Nearly 30 adults suffering from constipation participated in one study. Some of them used aloe vera while others used a placebo. The aloe vera group reported constipation relief, while the other group reported no improvement.8
Although most people associate aloe vera as a topical ointment for burns, drinking aloe vera juice can actually help treat your constipation.
Drink two to three ounces of aloe vera juice on an empty stomach for best results. Continue daily until you experience relief.
4. Try Prune Juice
Prune juice can be very effective for those suffering from constipation. In fact, studies indicate that prunes provide more relief than medications in many instances.9
5. Drink Up
Dehydration is one of the leading contributors to chronic constipation.
If you have a hard time passing stool on a regular basis, you might not be getting enough water.10 Try adding some lemon juice to give your drinking water a little zip.
Why Constipation Happens in the First Place
Now, constipation can either mean straining to pass extremely hard stools or being unable to have any sort of bowel movement whatsoever.
It can sometimes be a sign of a gastrointestinal issue, especially if you alternate between having constipation and then having diarrhea. Severe constipation occurs when someone has one or zero bowel movements in a week.11
There are a lot of contributing factors to this condition. For example, you might be at a higher risk if you take pain medications, antacids, diuretics, or blood pressure medicine. Travelling, pregnancy, and age can also play a role. People who don’t get enough exercise are also more susceptible to becoming constipated.12
When to See a Doctor
It’s not uncommon for someone to experience a bout of constipation from time to time. But if you tend to have this problem on a regular basis, you need to seriously consider getting medical help.
Get to a doctor as soon as possible if any of the following apply to you –
- Your stool is black.
- You have constipation along with unexpected weight loss.
- You feel weak and tired.
- You have constipation for more than three weeks.
- Your stomach hurts when you have a bowel movement.
- Your stool is significantly thinner than normal.
- There is blood in your stool.13
In addition, you should never ignore the urge to have a bowel movement as it can substantially increase the chances that you’ll become constipated.
You need to give yourself enough time in the bathroom so you can relax when trying to pass a stool.14 Feeling rushed is the enemy of a healthy bowel movement.
The Last Word
Being unable to comfortably pass a stool can be incredibly frustrating. Thankfully, there are several safe, gentle remedies you can try at home to treat your constipation, and find relief. But if these don’t work or you have chronic constipation, you should seek medical help as soon as possible.
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