Things you need to know
- Constipation occurs when a person has difficulty in passing stool or passes stool that is hard and dry.
- Constipation is highly common and occurs when your colon absorbs too much water from waste.
- Constipation treatment at home is possible with help of certain natural remedies and lifestyle measures
Constipation is described as a condition when a person has fewer bowel movements (less than 3 bowel movements in a week). This condition makes it difficult to pass stool causing pain. Other key features that characterise constipation include stool that is dry, hard and lumpy; a feeling that you have not emptied your stomach; nausea and bloating & pain and cramping in the stomach.
Constipation can affect anyone at any age. It is, however, more common in older adults, women and people with certain underlying diseases or sedentary lifestyle.
Reasons for constipation
There are several reasons for constipation including medical conditions, side-effects of medications, pregnancy and lifestyle choices.
Common lifestyle factors leading to constipation are:
- Low-fibre intake
- Physical inactivity
- Changes in routine
- Constantly resisting the urge to have bowel movement
Constipation treatment at home
Constipation treatment usually involves medicinal intervention and self-care measures. Here is how you can treat constipation at home.
Drink plenty of water
Constipation occurs when your colon absorbs excess water from your stool leaving it dry and difficult to pass. It usually happens when your body is extremely dehydrated. You can treat constipation at home by drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated. You can also consume sparkling water, however, carbonated drinks such as soda should be avoided.
Eat more fibre
Insoluble fibre supports your digestion by increasing bulk in your stool and making your bowel movement more consistent. Good sources of insoluble fibre include heat bran, vegetables, and whole grains.
Soluble fibre is also good for your digestive health as it adds bulk to the stool and softens. However, soluble fibre also absorbs water. Therefore, for fast relief from constipation, you should eat increased quantity of insoluble fibre.
Exercising regularly enhances your digestive health and makes it easier for your body to pass stool more quickly. Low-impact exercises such as walking, cycling and swimming can help relieve symptoms of constipation. However, you should avoid doing vigorous exercises as it may worsen your overall health.
Caffeinated drinks stimulate the muscles in your digestive system making it simpler for you to pass stool. In addition, coffee includes small amounts of soluble fibre that help prevent constipation and balances your gut bacteria.
Consider probiotic supplements
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that are healthy for your gut. An imbalance of this bacteria can trigger constipation. Increased intake of probiotics can help prevent and relieve the symptoms of constipation.
Try bowel training
Bowel training means training your body to have a bowel movement at the same time every day. You are also advised to not resist the urge to pass stool and use the bathroom as and when required.
When to see a doctor
If constipation persists after self-care measures at home, you should consider meeting a doctor. Visit a doctor when you have the following symptoms:
- Blood in stool
- Excessive bloating
- Rapid heartbeat
- Severe abdominal pain
- Sudden and unintended weight loss
Ripe bananas can help in relieving constipation symptoms.
Yes, a hot water bath may help in relaxing the anal spichter making it easy to pass stool.
No, you should rather eat fibre-rich foods to help relieve symptoms.