Constipation is not caused by one thing. The issue is characterized by the inability to pass stool, or generally infrequent bowel movements. Typically, defecation becomes painful as a result of fecal impaction, which is where the bowel becomes full of waste that it is unable to move along quickly enough.
If left untreated, constipation can result in bowel obstructions, and even death – assuming it has been left untreated. In the Western world, this is exceptionally rare, however.
There are two kinds of constipation you should be aware of. One of obstructed defecation, and the other is colonic slow transit. Both can be treated with medication, but there are plenty of home remedies you can use to help improve regularity and make sure that your bowels are working as efficiently as possible.
Take a look at these 10 home remedies, tips and tricks that you can use to ensure your body has everything it needs to efficiently digest food and to properly dispose of waste.
1. Consume more fish
If you don’t eat enough fish, you could be putting yourself at risk of developing constipation. Fish contains a wide range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are essential for your digestive system to work properly. It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids – a kind of fatty acid that plays a particularly important role in your digestive system.
Omega-3 fatty acids actually help prevent Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and can also reduce the symptoms if you already have these conditions. So, if you’re currently constipated – or you find yourself constipated relatively regularly – you could really benefit from consuming more omega-3 fatty acids, whether it’s in the form of fish or supplements.
If you’re going to start introducing more fish to your diet, you should focus on cold-water fish like mackerel, salmon and tuna – these have the highest concentration of fish oil.
If you choose to take fish oil supplements, remember to take them with caution. Taking too much can result in problems with bleeding. You should be particularly careful if you have a history of bruising easily, or if you are currently taking blood-thinning medication.
And, you should also be aware that fish oil can actually cause bloating, and sometimes diarrhea, depending entirely on how much of it you actually consume. Consume in moderation and fish oil can help keep your bowel movements regular and healthy.
2. Eat more fiber
Fiber is arguably the most important thing to eat if you want to make sure your bowel movements are regular. Every day, we need to eaten between 20 and 35 grams of dietary fiber in order to give our digestive system the tools it needs to extract the nutrients from all the food that we eat. Typically, you will find dietary fiber in fruits and vegetables, but a great source of this substance is bran.
If you don’t already eat much whole grain food, and you suffer from constipation, then you should certainly consider eating more of it. Whether it’s in the form of whole grain bread products or a big bowl of cereal in the morning, you’ll be doing wonders for your gut.
Eating portions of fiber-rich food can also have a short term effect, helping relieve constipation naturally.
If you’re not a fan of foods that contain a lot of fiber, or you simply feel like you don’t want to eat any more during the day, there are supplements you can take which have the same effect and help relieve constipation. Two such supplements ate Citrucel and Metamucil.
Don’t drink too much water when increasing your fiber intake, though. Obviously you should drink the recommended healthy amount, but don’t overdo it by drinking lots of sodas and unnecessary drinks. The more fluid you have the more likely it is that the fiber will cause further constipation.
Maintain a fine balance and you will give your guts the resources required to move food along at a steady pace and absorb as many nutrients as possible.