For many, the discomfort of constipation can impact daily life, turning simple tasks into challenges. However, addressing constipation does not always need medical intervention. Numerous home remedies for constipation are available that can offer relief.
In this blog, dive with us into ten such natural remedies for constipation. But first, let’s understand constipation and its symptoms and causes in detail.
What Is Constipation?
Constipation is a common digestive issue, characterised by infrequent bowel movements and difficulty in passing stools. Some notable symptoms of constipation include:
- Experiencing fewer than three bowel movements a week
- Hard, dry, or lumpy stools
- Pain or difficulty while passing stools
- A sensation of incomplete evacuation after bowel movement
Why Does Constipation Occur?
Various factors can cause constipation and sometimes an individual might experience multiple causes simultaneously. Some of the prevalent reasons include:
- Gastrointestinal Problems: Slow movement of stool through the colon or delayed emptying due to pelvic floor disorders can lead to constipation. Functional gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, are also leading causes.
- Medicines and Supplements: Several medicines and dietary supplements can aggravate constipation. These include antacids containing aluminium and calcium, anticonvulsants, diuretics, narcotic pain medicines, certain antidepressants, and iron supplements, among others.
- Lifestyle Changes: Changes in daily routine or life events, such as pregnancy, ageing, travelling, or even changes in diet and medication, can influence bowel movements. Ignoring the natural urge to have a bowel movement can also lead to constipation.
- Health and Nutritional Factors: Not consuming enough fibre or liquids (leading to dehydration) can cause constipation.
Apart from these prominent causes, leading a sedentary lifestyle and having diseases like celiac disease, Parkinson’s disease, spinal injuries, diabetes, and hypothyroidism may also contribute to constipation.
How To Get Rid Of Constipation?
Constipation might start slow but can aggravate into a serious problem if not treated properly. Fortunately, there are numerous home remedies for constipation that can help you treat it naturally.
Best Home Remedies For Constipation
- Stay Hydrated
Dehydration is a frequent culprit behind constipation. Adequate water intake is paramount in preventing and getting rid of constipation. Drinking carbonated (sparkling) water can also offer an effective constipation treatment at home. It helps rehydrate the body and stimulate bowel movements.
- Increase the Intake of Dietary Fibre
Doctors often recommend dietary fibre as a home remedy for constipation, as it augments the bulk and consistency of bowel movements, facilitating their easier passage through the digestive system.
However, you must understand that dietary fibres are of two types:
- Insoluble fibres: Found in wheat bran, whole grains, and vegetables, they add bulk to stools, enabling them to pass more swiftly through the digestive system. According to research, insoluble fibre may have different effects on different people.
- Soluble fibres: These are present in foods like oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, lentils, fruits, and certain vegetables. They absorb water, forming a gel-like paste, which softens stools and enhances their consistency. Non-fermentable soluble fibres, such as psyllium, are often recommended as the best choice for constipation.
- Increase Physical Activity
Studies have associated sedentary lifestyles with heightened constipation risk. Consequently, healthcare experts often suggest physical activity as one of the natural ways to relieve constipation quickly. Engaging in exercises, such as walking, swimming, or cycling, can therefore aid in alleviating constipation symptoms.
- Drink Coffee
Coffee is considered one of the best home remedies for constipation, as it helps stimulate the digestive system muscles. Furthermore, coffee possesses soluble fibres that improve gut bacteria balance, further aiding in constipation relief.
- Include Probiotics in the Diet
Probiotics, encompassing beneficial bacteria, like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus, have shown potential in constipation relief. These bacteria, integral to gut health, can be increased by consuming probiotic foods, like yoghurt, or probiotic supplements. For people with chronic constipation attributed to gut bacteria imbalance, incorporating more probiotics is a viable strategy.
Furthermore, probiotics might also combat constipation by producing short-chain fatty acids, enhancing gut movements.
- Use Laxatives for Immediate Constipation Relief
Laxatives are a commonly recommended solution for treating constipation. They come in various types:
- Bulking agents: Fibre-based laxatives that enhance stool water content
- Stool softeners: Laxatives containing oils that help ease the passage of stools
- Stimulant laxatives: Laxatives that augment the gut's nerve stimulation to promote bowel movements
- Osmotic laxatives: Laxatives that soften stools by drawing water into the digestive system
The best type of laxative will depend on your overall gut health and other factors. Consult with a healthcare professional for guidance.
- Stop Consuming Dairy Products
Dairy intolerance in some people can lead to constipation. Recognizing this connection and potentially eliminating dairy while supplementing with other calcium-rich foods is considered one of the best natural ways to relieve constipation quickly.
- Take the Help of Prebiotics
Prebiotics are compounds that help nourish the beneficial bacteria in the gut, amplifying probiotic effects and improving gut bacterial balance. They are different from dietary fibres as they not only offer constipation relief but also enhance overall digestive health.
You can include prebiotics into your diet through foods like garlic, onions, bananas and chickpeas, or by using prebiotic supplements.
- Try the Low FODMAP Diet
For people experiencing constipation as a symptom of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), the low FODMAP diet is worth exploring. A low FODMAP diet includes avoiding or limiting fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, which are short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that the small intestine absorbs poorly.
However, those with constipation-dominant IBS may also need to ensure adequate water and fibre intake for optimum relief.
- Eat Prunes or Drink Prune Juice
When considering natural ways to relieve constipation quickly, prunes and prune juice often come to the forefront. They're lauded not just for their fibre content but also for sorbitol, a sugar alcohol with laxative properties. Studies have indicated that prunes can sometimes outperform other fibre sources, like psyllium. However, people with IBS should be cautious as sugar alcohols are considered high FODMAP foods.
Constipation, although common, can be a significant hindrance in daily life. The good news is that there are numerous for constipation that can provide relief. From increasing hydration and fibre intake to integrating probiotics and prebiotics into your diet, there are many easy and effective options available. However, always consult with a healthcare professional before making any major changes to your diet or lifestyle.
Remember, the key is to find the best foods and habits that help to not only relieve constipation but also promote overall digestive wellness.