Chronic constipation is a health issue that many people find deeply embarrassing, so they choose not to seek help for it.
However, moving your bowels is how your body gets rid of toxins. Also, persistent constipation can increase blood pressure.
Not only can constipation make you feel bloated and cranky, it can make you more prone to migraines and headaches—terrible given how much most of us already have to cope with in a day.
Fortunately, there are many simple ways to treat chronic constipation without spending money on medication. Here’s ten that can provide you the relief you need!
Chronic Constipation Treatment
1. Drink more water and monitor your liquid intake.
Sometimes solving your constipation problem is as easy as drinking more water. Your stool will be hard if you’re dehydrated, so stick to the recommended 8-12 glasses a day—more if you’re active—and see if that will make a difference.
2. Put more fiber in your diet.
While supplemental teas or drink mix-ins are okay, it’s really better if you have a diet that has all the fiber you need to make going to the bathroom easier. Most fruits and vegetables like plums, pears and apples, as well as cereals in things like whole grain breads, are packed with nutrients as well as fiber, so it’s a good idea to cut out the junk and eat more of these to alleviate constipation.
3. Get some more exercise.
It may also have something to do with muscle tension and a need for fitness. Becoming more relaxed and helping your body settle into natural patterns is good for banishing constipation, so go jogging in the morning or even have a long, leisurely walk after a meal. It may be a bigger help than you thought. Make sure you wait for at least an hour to pass before you attempt exercising after a meal, to avoid cramping!
4. Try natural stool bulking agents.
If you can avoid using laxatives, do so. Wheat bran, and psyllium or methylcelluose, are good ways to put more fiber in your body if you’re not getting it in your diet. Mix them with plenty of water and drink up, and you’ll find it a lot easier to do what you need to do. Flaxseed and senna are also recommended natural remedies to add to your diet if you’re constipated—be careful not to overdo it, though, particularly with senna!
5. Check out your medications to see if they may be causing the problem.
Some medications, including over-the-counter ones, have constipation as a side effect and may inflame your bowels further, leading to other digestive problems. Tylenol, Oxycontin and codeine are just some of the most well-known examples. Talk to your physician and ask if you can switch to a medication that will not interfere with your bowel movements.
6. Monitor your bowel movements and avoid holding it in.
One thing that definitely aggravates constipation is messing with the body’s natural rhythm. If you need to go, go and do it—don’t hold it in and cause yourself pain through constipation in the future. Give yourself enough time on the toilet to relax and get it done properly, instead of causing yourself discomfort.
7. Have a little lemon juice with warm water.
Lemon juice is a good way to stimulate your colon in the morning and get things moving—it’s also a good way to rid the digestive walls of undigested matter thanks to the citric acid, so squeeze the juice of a fresh lemon and mix it with some warm water to start your day. There’s a reason why this drink is often called a “digestive” in some European countries!
8. When in doubt, go for prune juice.
If the other remedies just aren’t cutting it, prune juice is considered a classic cure for constipation thanks to the high amounts of fiber in the fruit. Have one glass in the morning and one at night—don’t drink them in rapid succession as this may aggravate your system and cause diarrhea. Similar, milder juices include pear and apple juice for the same reason—the fiber in the fruit juice will spell an end to your stomach woes and help you go.
9. Incorporate more yogurt into your diet.
Yogurt that has live microbacilli in it will work wonders on your digestive system and help prevent constipation, so have a cup a day—this will allow good probiotics to flourish in your gut and fight stomach inflammation.
10. Don’t just sit on the toilet—squat over it!
Squatting over the toilet may be easier for a lot of people than simply sitting on it to jumpstart your body and rid yourself of waste. It’s bizarre, but simply being in that position may actually help your body read that physical cue and end your constipation.
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