How to Relieve Constipation: Complete Guide 2023
Constipation can easily be managed but when left untreated, it can lead to serious problems.
The right type of food, fiber supplements, home remedies, and exercise can effectively relieve or treat constipation. Laxatives, medical treatment, and surgery are options for people with chronic constipation.
We discuss more details about constipation in the rest of the article.
Table of Contents
What is Constipation?
Constipation can be described as having tough bowel movements, which could be infrequent. You may experience having small stools, bloating, and a feeling that you still need to poop.
Some reasons for constipation are even counterintuitive such as not eating enough fiber, and taking too much of a laxative. Also, things as simple as diet and lifestyle changes, and resisting nature’s call can make you constipated.
Constipation can also arise as a result of certain medical conditions affecting the nervous system.
What are the symptoms of Constipation?
The symptoms of people experiencing constipation may vary greatly. The most common is having fewer than 3 bowel movements in a week.
Stools are characterized as being hard or small, due to the fact that the colon has absorbed too much water.
As a result, it makes constipation worse by making it harder to pass stool during bowel movements. It is possible that you will feel uncomfortable that there are some left but can’t come out.
Constipation can also lead to bloating and abdominal pain. The longer your digestive contents stay in the stomach, the more it can ferment and produce gas due to bacteria.
What are the causes of Constipation?
Different factors play a role in contributing to constipation. It could simply be due to things like stress and resisting the urge to poop, or other diseases.
One of the common causes of constipation is not having enough water and fluid intake. With the loss of the stool’s water content as it passes through the colon muscles, it significantly hardens.
Overproduction of methane can cause constipation by slowing the travel time of stool, which loses more water content. This is caused by methanogenic bacteria when there are fewer probiotic bacteria in the gut.
Another reason is eating too much food with more fiber content, or eating too little of it. More fiber means bulkier stools and less fiber means more compact stools.
Antacids with aluminum or calcium, as well as medications such as iron pills, and narcotics contribute to constipation, too.
Medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and hypothyroidism increase your chances of constipation.
All three types of inflammatory bowel disease, namely, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and indeterminate colitis can all cause constipation.
Others seem totally unrelated to the digestive system: stress, pregnancy, cancer, depression (when taking antidepressants), and neurological conditions.
Neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and muscular dystrophy can have issues with their pelvic floor muscles. With such, treating constipation can be more challenging, but biofeedback therapy can help.
It is also possible for someone to suffer from functional constipation, which presents itself without any apparent cause.
How is Constipation treated/prevented?
There is no single way to treat or prevent constipation because the causes can vary from person to person. We have listed the different ways how you can prevent or treat constipation through natural means or otherwise.
Ensure Proper Hydration
Drinking water and lots of other fluids help even those with chronic constipation, instead of taking an osmotic laxative. Natural vegetable and fruit juices, and thin soups would help with your daily goal for intake of fluids.
However, you should limit your caffeine intakes such as by enjoying less amount of coffee, tea, and artificial drinks. Caffeine is a diuretic that makes water less available for use in your body.
Moreover, there is a right amount of water for each person, especially for those with certain medical conditions. Unless you are advised by your physician to have a limit on your fluid intake, drink more water.
The right amount of hydration will make stool pass smoothly during bowel movements by preventing the formation of hard stools.
Discover Home Remedies
There are plenty of foods that you can eat at home that you probably didn’t even know were prebiotics. Prebiotics are indigestable to humans but serve as a food source for gut bacteria.
Bran cereal, grain bread, bananas, chickpeas, and Jerusalem artichokes are a few examples. You can also add onion, garlic, and leeks to your food.
Moving on, you can also consume probiotic food and drinks such as yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut. Kombucha is another healthy option although it can cause irritable bowel syndrome for some.
Some snacks have natural sorbitol, which acts as a laxative. You can eat prunes, raspberries, blueberries, apples, and avocados as natural remedies for constipation.
Most chewing gums also have sorbitol as an alternative to sugar. Moreover, chewing the gum itself stimulates the activity in your digestive tract.
Drinking coffee in moderation can stimulate digestive muscles. However, do it in moderation as it can cause dehydration.
When you have forgotten to eat properly leading to impacted stools, you can try tap water enemas. Also, consider using saline solution or soap suds, and ensure that the tubing and enema bag are sterilized.
Eat fiber-rich foods
High-fiber foods generally help relieve constipation if you are not eating enough in the first place. However, you should see for yourself what amount works best for your bowel movements.
A low-fiber diet can lead to chronic idiopathic constipation. Eating whole grains, brown rice, fruits, and vegetables rather than processed products would help with severe constipation.
Beware of the added refined fiber to processed foods that wouldn’t contain it in the first place. It is not only bad for digestive health but could also cause liver cancer.
Fiber can be classified as fermentable and non-fermentable, as well as soluble and insoluble. You should ask your physician which combination is best for you especially if the goal is to treat chronic constipation.
The recommended amount for daily consumption is 30 to 38 grams of fiber for men, and 21 to 25 grams for women.
Engage in regular exercise
Physical movement helps the nervous and digestive systems assist in preventing constipation by stimulating the nerves and muscles in the digestive tract.
Once you swallow your food, it goes through the gastrointestinal tract through peristalsis or involuntary wave-like movement of muscles.
Oddly, the digestion process is highly dependent on the nervous and circulatory systems. Aerobic exercise improves the performance of both of them through better blood flow.
Moderate exercise is better than light exercise or strenuous exercise. The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of it each week, aside from 2 days of muscle exercise.
Take Supplements that help promote regular bowel movements
Food supplements can provide improvement in the overall digestive process. We have compared the most popular choices in the market:
|Top Consumer's Choice|
|Best Prebiotic Fiber Blend|
|Best Value Supplement|
|Best for Probiotic Weight Loss|
1. Top Consumer’s Choice: Sane Viscera-3
Constipation leads to a longer fermentation process inside the stomach, potentially leading to the production of more gas.
Sane Viscera-3 boasts of its triple-action formula that promotes the balance of gut bacteria.
Even better, it can make your poop smell-free.
It also contains just the right amount of prebiotic fiber to help with the natural digestion process.
Full Article: Viscera 3 Reviews: Does it Really Work?
2. Best Prebiotic Fiber Blend: SynoGut
SynoGut contains glucomannan, which is not your typical type of dietary fiber. It is water-soluble, water-absorbent, and plant-based.
It helps form the bulk of your poop without irritating your intestines, as long as you drink enough water. The prune extract and aloe vera also act as natural laxatives.
Moreover, it has Lactobacillus acidophilus, a probiotic strain of gut bacteria that boosts the immune system. The bentonite clay content assists with the natural detoxification process of the body.
Full Article: SynoGut Reviews: Does it Really Work?
3. Best Value Supplement: FloraSpring
FloraSpring is a weight loss supplement but has a special mix of probiotic “diversifying strains” that help solve gastrointestinal problems.
The five strains of bacteria it contains have a combined effect of antimicrobial action, body fat reduction, detoxification, and immune system boost.
It is an all-natural product that is free from soy, gluten, and dairy. However, constipation isn’t its direct target.
4. Best for Probiotic Weight Loss: BioFit
BioFit consists of 7 strains of probiotic gut bacteria. This product works by improving metabolic activities, leading to reduced fat and weight.
Also, it helps prevent high blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Aids in gastritis and irritable bowel syndrome.
BioFit is not for children and pregnant or nursing women.
Full Article: BioFit Reviews: Does it Really Work?
Use over-the-counter medications
Laxatives or OTC medications for constipation can resolve mild cases of constipation. They can be any of the following:
- Stool softeners such as Docusate calcium in the form of a capsule, tablet, liquid, suppository, or enema.
- Bulk-forming laxatives or supplements with psyllium, methylcellulose fiber, or calcium polycarbophil could be in tablet, liquid, wafer, or packet form.
- Osmotic laxatives such as polyethylene glycol, magnesium citrate, magnesium hydroxide, or sodium phosphate in oral, enema, or suppository form.
- Stimulant laxatives such as glycerin or bisacodyl suppositories and senna or sennoside in capsule, oral liquid, enema, or suppository form.
- Lubricants such as mineral oil in oral liquid or enema form.
Seek Medical Treatment for chronic constipation
For people with chronic constipation, or even IBS-C and opioid-induced constipation, prescription medications may be needed.
These include linaclotide, lubiprostone, methylnaltrexone, naldemedine, naloxegol, and plecanatide.
Take note that they may cause side effects such as abdominal pain, bloating, loose bowel movement, gas, and nausea.
Rectal prolapse can both cause and arise from constipation. It can only be resolved through surgery.
Constipation can easily be managed with the right diet, proper hydration, and an active lifestyle. Otherwise, medical interventions are also possible.
The two best products that one can take for constipation relief are Sane Viscera-3 and SynoGut. Sane Viscera-3 contains prebiotic fiber, probiotic bacteria, and postbiotics that help ensure good digestion and immune response.
SynoGut on the other hand helps with the body’s natural detoxification process especially if you eat processed foods. It also ensures the bulkiness of your poop regardless of what you eat due to the expandable and soluble fiber.
Sane Viscera-3 and SynoGut help relieve constipation by ensuring an improved digestive system. Prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotic ingredients support the overall health of the body which in turn mitigates digestive issues.
If you have pre-existing medical conditions that make constipation worse, it’s best to consult your physician and avoid self-medication.
How to Relieve Constipation FAQs
Do I need to eliminate fiber from my diet?
You should try to reduce your dietary fiber intake to manage not only constipation but also bloatedness and gas. However, do not confuse this with fiber supplements that make your poop have more volume and easier to pass.
How instant do laxatives work?
Saline laxatives work as fast as 30 minutes compared to stimulant laxatives that take at least 6 hours to work. Others work longer: osmotic laxatives and stool softeners in 24 to 48 hours, and fiber-based in 12 to 72 hours.
How often is a healthy bowel movement?
A regular or healthy bowel movement is considered to be 3 times a week up to 3 times a day. It differs between individuals but anything less than 3 times a week is constipation, and more frequent could be diarrhea.
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Author: Vanessa Richards
Vanessa is a mom of 3 lovely children and a software geek. Outside of her career as a health and wellness instructor. She enjoys writing and researching on topics such as finance, software, health and culinary.