Are you having trouble with “the go?” While it sounds funny, if you have constipation, you know it’s no laughing matter.
Fortunately, you don’t have to turn to harsh, stimulant laxatives for relief. Here are eight natural remedies for constipation that will get things flowing smoothly once more.
When you have a bowel movement, your body pulls water into your small intestine to lubricate the process. However, you can’t pour — or draw from — an empty pitcher.
The good news is, you don’t need to worry about drinking too much and getting diarrhea. When children increased water consumption more than normal, researchers detected no difference in their stools. However, when dehydrated children restored normal levels, their bowel movements were likewise regulated.
Do keep in mind that drinking too much water increases your risk of hyponatremia or low sodium in your blood. However, you’re at a low risk unless you diet and exercise excessively — most Americans get more than enough salt in their diets.
You’ve seen the commercials for laxatives containing nothing but fiber. This non-digestible substance helps to draw the water to your large intestine to make the go more comfortable.
However, you don’t need to invest in an OTC supplement to up your fiber intake. You can do so by reducing your intake of foods made from processed white flour and consuming more whole grains and fruits and veggies in their natural states. When manufacturers mill white flour, they remove the nutrient-rich bran through a multi-step process, leaving behind a calorie-rich but nutritionally empty substance that gums up your pipework.
Magnesium is a bit of a miracle mineral. If you have depression or migraines, supplementing with this substance can ease symptoms of both disorders.
When it comes to constipation, magnesium also naturally alleviates that condition. Those new to supplementation often have to use caution — too much can cause repeated bathroom trips. This mineral works so well that doctors often use it for a colon cleanse before surgery.
Fresh fruits can ease constipation for several reasons. Many, like apples, have a high fiber content. Others, like watermelon, help to increase your hydration levels.
Fruits like apples and pears also contain sorbitol, which has laxative effects. Some people use the substance rectally as an enema — but you can achieve the desired results the same way you keep the doctor away.
Have you heard that you should eat a handful of prunes when you can’t go? Dried fruits pack a ton of fiber into a small serving size — you get more than you would consume if the foods were fresh.
According to the AGS Foundation for Health in Aging, dried prunes, apricots and figs are most beneficial for easing constipation. These fruits make a fascinating addition to many salads — try tossing on a handful daily to stay regular.
Exercise helps ease constipation in several ways. One method is speeding up blood flow to your large intestine, providing it with the vital oxygen it needs to do its job.
Working out also speeds up your breathing and heart rate, getting your metabolic fires, well, firing. It lowers the amount of time necessary for food to move through the large intestine.
You might have seen some miracle diet tea on your shelves. Proceed with caution if senna appears on the ingredient list.
This herb contains leaf compounds called sennosides that your digestive tract cannot absorb. Your gut bacteria can break them down, but doing so causes mild irritation — which produces the laxative effect.
If you decide to give senna tea a try, start with the lowest possible dose. You can always take more in 24 hours if you don’t get the desired effects, but too much can prove disastrous.
We’re not talking about looking like Rodin’s “Thinker” when you’re on the throne trying to drop a stinker. However, science does prove that meditation is an effective remedy for easing stress, which can result in constipation.
Take a look at your life — are you frequently rushed and irritable? If so, your emotional state might be to blame for your strain. Fortunately, you can get into meditation in only minutes daily, and once you master mindfulness, you can use the techniques anywhere.
It’s no fun when you can’t go. Use these eight natural remedies for constipation to get things moving again.