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Constipation – Treatment, Prevention and Home Remedies for Constipation

Constipation is the passage of small amounts of hard and dry stools with lots of straining. This is a common gastrointestinal problem and fortunately most of the cases of constipation are temporary. Simple lifestyle changes like eating a high fiber diet and exercise can alleviate constipation. This can also be treated with over-the-counter laxatives. This occurs mainly due to lack of exercise, not drinking enough water and reduced intake of fiber in the diet.

Treatment for Constipation
Simple lifestyle changes in your diet and lifestyle will help relieve symptoms and manage constipation along with certain medications. They include:

Laxatives
These medications can be considered as a last resort because they can become a habit. The different types of laxatives include:

  • Stimulants: These cause rhythmic contractions in the intestines.
  • Lubricants: These lubricate the intestines and move the stool through the colon more easily which leads to the easy expulsion.
  • Stool softeners: These soften and moisten the stool that helps in preventing dehydration.
  • Fiber supplements: These are also called bulk laxatives and are the most safest of all the laxatives but these agents must be taken with lots of water.
  • Osmotics: These help the fluids to move through the colon which result in the easy expulsion of the stool.
  • Saline Laxatives: These act like a sponge by making the colon to absorb more water for the stool to pass easily.
  • Chloride channel activators: These help to increase the fluid content of the stool which results in the easy passage of stools.
  • 5-HT-4 agonists: These agents release certain compounds in the body that help to increase the fluid levels in the intestines.

Lifestyle changes
Some of the simple lifestyle changes that a doctor may advise include:

  • A high fiber diet with 20 – 35 grams of fiber each day helps the body to form soft and bulky stools.
  • A fiber rich diet including fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Limit the intake of foods like meat, cheese and other processed foods.
  • Regular exercise will help in the stimulation of the bowel movements.
  • Drink lots of water and other fresh fruit juices that help to soften the stool.
  • Never ignore the urge to have a bowel movement and set aside time to allow for undisturbed visits to the toilet.

Prevention of Constipation

  • Eat a high fiber diet.
  • Limit low fiber diet.
  • Drink plenty of water, at least 1 to 2 liters a day.
  • Exercise regularly for 30 minutes as this may regulate the bowel movement.
  • Try fiber supplements.
  • For occasional relief, try milk of magnesia.
  • Habitual use of laxatives can make the colon dependent on them.
  • Avoid giving laxatives to children without a doctor’s advice.

Home Remedies for Constipation
Some of the natural remedies for constipation include:

  • Eat chapati(wheat cakes) made of wheat and roasted black gram powder with the husk as this is very beneficial.
  • Take two tablespoons of black-strap molasses before going to sleep.
  • Half cup cabbage juice can be taken twice daily.
  • Take 10 -12 dry seedless grapes in milk and boil that in milk. Drink this milk but chew the grapes separately.
  • Dip 10 grams of spiegel seeds in water for 6 hours and add equal amounts of sugar and take this with water at night.
  • Dates can be taken along with milk.
  • Mix ½ cup oil with ½ cup orange juice and drink.
  • Eat guava on an empty stomach in the morning.
  • Take some fennel seeds and add them to a glass of warm water and drink this in the night.
  • Honey is an excellent remedy for constipation.
  • Barley in the form of flour or flakes can relieve constipation.
  • Eating an apple after meals can give relief.
  • Massage therapy can help relax the muscles that support the bladder and intestines and help promote bowel activity.
  • Acupuncture may help stimulate the colon and relieve constipation.
  • Yoga, meditation and other relaxation techniques also help to relieve constipation.

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