Why am I so constipated?
Do you feel uncomfortable and even painful when you go to the bathroom?
Then you have constipation. Constipation occurs when any of the following happens:
- Your stool hardens after being dehydrated …
- You have less fiber in your diet …
- You’re not drinking enough water …
- You’re not getting enough physical activity …
- You’re stressed out …
And then these problems will lead to a vicious cycle because you may become constipated, you’ll worry about it, and since you’re worried, you’ll avoid going to the bathroom even more. Until it becomes completely backed up …
If you’re dealing with constipation, you have probably seen an endless stream of laxative commercials on TV. Laxatives work for about 80% of the population. But you may have some reservations about using them. They may harm your digestive system, and they may cause side effects, such as cramping and nausea.
How to Relieve Constipation Fast
If you are suffering from constipation, you’re not alone. Many people suffer from this problem and spend a lot of money on over the counter medications that are loaded with side effects. The best way to deal with constipation is to treat the problem by increasing the intake of fiber, drinking plenty of water and getting your body moving.
If this is a chronic problem for you, you may want to read on to know more about how to relieve constipation fast at home (with easy and safe remedies).
Increase Fiber Intake
One of the ways to relieve constipation fast at home is to increase the intake of fiber. Fiber can help to stimulate your colon and promote bowel movement. Foods such as brown rice, oats, dried fruit, and nuts can supplement fiber in your diet. Drinking plenty of water helps to replace lost fluids and also helps to lubricate the stool.
Eat More Whole Grains
Another way to relieve constipation is to increase your intake of whole grains. Whole grains contain fiber that helps to soften the stools thus promoting bowel movement.
Drink Plenty of Water
As mentioned above, drinking plenty of water helps to keep the stools soft and to stimulate bowel movement. Drink water every day to help you prevent constipation.
Step 1: Drink some water
You might be thirsty for a couple of reasons. Dehydration is an issue, especially among older people. To find out if that’s the problem, drink a glass of water and see if you feel better.
The other possibility is that your body is dehydrated. To avoid dehydration, drink 3 to 4 eight ounce glasses every day.
If you’re not sure how much water you’re supposed to drink, try it and see if you notice a difference. If you’re still not sure, check the fluid tracking system on your body weight scale. If you still don’t feel like drinking, try some lemonade or other citrus drinks. Keep them refrigerated to make them taste better.
If you can’t stomach fizzy drinks or they upset your stomach, try plain water. Plain water or lemon-water is especially good if you’re suffering from constipation.
Step 2: Try some coffee
Many of us drink coffee on daily basis, and most of us know it can help relieve us from constipation.
Why does coffee help you relieve constipation? As I explained above, drinking coffee stimulates muscles in your colon and produces an urge to have a bowel movement.
So, how much coffee you should drink to relieve constipation? If you are a small person, you can drink up to 2 cups a day. Otherwise 2 to 3 cups of coffee a day seems to be a safe option for everyone.
If you don’t like the taste of coffee, don’t worry. You can still benefit from the coffee without drinking it. Just buy some of those bottles of decaffeinated coffee. Just drink this decaffeinated coffee instead of water. Alternatively, if you don’t like the taste of decaffeinated coffee, buy “instant coffee”, some of the instant coffees are now decaffeinated, or make some coffee ice cubes and freeze them.
Step 3: Mobility equals gut motility
Regular movement of the abdomen and mobility in the abdomen will help to restore normal bowel motility and function. So now extended periods of time on the couch aren’t an issue. These 3 simple exercises will bring instant relief to constipated and bloated bliss to regular belly aches:
- Forward chest stretch
- Hip flexor stretch
Step 4: Over-the-counter options for relief now
If you are trying to take control of your constipation at home, these over-the-counter options will help speed things along:
Flax: This helps stimulate bowel movements and increase softer stools
Psyllium: Favoring softer stools, it works the same way that flax does.
Mucilaginous herbs: Like slippery elm, marshmallow root and okra.
Herbal laxatives: You can take these in capsule and tea forms.
Stay hydrated: Consuming extra fluids can help soften stools.
Massage: Massage is the opposite of tension, and it helps you relax.
Castor oil: If you don’t want to take laxatives, castor oil will promote bowel movements.
Bath or sitz bath: A warm soak will draw the water into the colon and soften stool.
Exercise: Research has shown that exercise helps move the bowels.
Soothing drinks: Herbal tea, especially peppermint and chamomile, help relax the colon and promote bowel movements.
Step 5: Poop with prunes
The next method for helping relieve constipation is to eat prunes and raisins.
The gentle nature of these fruits helps you go without straining.
Raisins especially are easy on the stomach so many athletes find them a great pre-exercise snack. Raisins also contain a more beneficial form of fiber so if constipation has more to do with your diet then this can be a great addition to your diet.
Raisin are sticky and chewy, so the first time you eat them you may need sugar free gum on hand. This is especially true if you eat them while standing.
The gentle nature is also helpful when you eat a lot of them. If you’re having them to relieve constipation you don’t want to have to strain to go later.
Dried plums are another option, but they’re much more sour and have a tougher texture, so I find them less pleasant. Small pieces of dried plums are also good for relieving constipation.
Lastly, you can also find prune juice in the supermarket. It’s easy to drink if it’s chilled but doesn’t taste as good.
Step 6: Fat is your friend
Fat helps you to feel full and can help you digest the constipation-inducing meals you’re having.
Resist the temptation to eliminate fat from your diet though. Avoiding fat completely because it’s calorie dense or won’t help your weight-loss journey. After you eliminate processed foods, even with a good diet, it’s pretty normal to see an increase in fat intake. The human body requires fat.
Fat can be hard to digest, and if you’re constipated, it can make your symptoms worse. So if you’re eating enough fat, make sure it’s of the healthiest kind. Excess fat can lead to weight gain. And many unhealthy fats are found in processed foods.
Include at least one healthy fat with every meal. And include other healthy fats that can help your body produce energy, stay healthy, and fight off disease.
Some of the fat that you should add to your diet includes:
- Olive and other oils
- Coconut oil
Step 7: Munch on some fiber
Constipation can occur because of many reasons, but one of the many common causes of this is lack of fiber. Fiber helps in keeping you regular because it adds bulk to your bowel movements, which helps to move things along.
You can also increase the fiber in your diet by eating the following food items:
- Whole grain products instead of white bread
- Fruits instead of juices
- Fiber-rich veggies such as beans, broccoli, and salad
- Foods containing psyllium husks like Metamucil
Step 8: Give your gut some probiotics
Probiotics are often recommended by traditional practitioners to encourage gut flora growth. Although there is not much scientific research to back up the effectiveness of the approach, in this case it might not hurt to try. After all, who can resist the temptation of yogurt?
The key is to look for a probiotic product that contains living cells of the bacteria strain in question. Although supplement companies are not required to state this information on the label, it is a good assumption that if a product contains huge number of bacteria cells in suspension, it probably has active probiotics in it.
Prebiotics also exist and have similar effect to probiotics, but prebiotics will not encourage the growth of probiotic bacteria in the gut like probiotics do. Again, look for living bacterial cultures anywhere in the ingredients list. You should be able to find at least one probiotic in yogurt, and in any probiotics product you might have around the house or find at the store.
When should I see a doctor?
If you’re experiencing constipation for the first time, it’s likely that it is a result of diet or something you have eaten that will fade in a few days. If this is the case, make sure you drink plenty of fluids. Also, try adding more fiber to your diet.
However, if you notice that you’ve been constipated for a long time, continue to struggle with normal bowel movements and/or if there are accompanying symptoms, see your physician. Even though lack of energy and less than optimal stools can occur with constipation, it’s not the only symptom.
Constipation that’s caused by health conditions or even your prescription medicines can lead to more serious symptoms like rectal bleeding and weight loss. If you notice any unusual rectal bleeding, contact your doctor as soon as possible. This can be a sign of an underlying problem and should be evaluated right away.