Top 8 Things to Do for Constipation
Constipation is not fun. Heck, it’s not even really that fun to talk about! But, it’s better to face these issues head-on and talk about natural ways to deal with it than to push it away, hoping somebody else takes care of it.
Just what is constipation? Well, it’s when your bowel movements are hard, meaning tough, or they simply happen less than normal. Everybody has to deal with it at some point.
It’s really not super serious, but you definitely feel a lot better once you are back to normal and have rid yourself of that waste.
Everybody is different when it comes to bowel movements. Some people go three times a day, others a few times each week.
Just how do you get constipated? Here are some top reasons why:
- Not enough fiber or water being consumed
- Not leading an active lifestyle
- Eating too much dairy
- Change in activities or diet
- Suppressing the urge to go #2
- Using laxatives too often
- Eating Disorders
- Colon Cancer
- Certain neurological conditions, like Parkinson’s or MS
If you are wondering what to do when you are constipated, we do have some natural ideas here that you can take advantage of. Check out our ways and feel the relief in a hurry!
Method 1: Senna
Senna is an herb that is derived from the Cassia plants. The leaves and fruit of the Senna plant have been utilized as a stimulant or laxative in tea for hundreds of years.
You can also use the Senna leaves as a means of promoting weight loss or constipation relief.
You can purchase Senna in whatever form works for you: in the form of a powder, a tablet or even a liquid. Kids and adults over age 2 can use it safely.
However, you should be advised that Senna may interact with certain prescription medications. For instance, Senna may interact with the estrogen that is found in contraceptive medications, like the vaginal ring, the patch, or pills. It may make the form of birth control less effective.
Diarrhea in those taking warfarin may increase the risk that serious bleeding may occur. Senna can cause diarrhea, so anybody using warfarin should stay away from Senna.
Senna can also cause your electrolytes to become imbalanced, especially when it comes to potassium levels. Low potassium is problematic for somebody taking digoxin.
You should also avoid Senna if you have any of the following:
- Ulcerative colitis
- Intestinal Obstruction
- Heart Disease
You should also be wary of the side effects of Senna, which can include abdominal cramps, loss of fluid, diarrhea, and disturbances in electrolytes.
Method 2: Working Out
If you are plagued with constipation, working out may be the way to end your woes. You can speed the process up when you exercise. Exercise is great that's just common knowledge. But it is great for more than a healthy heart and better endurance. It’s helpful in getting you to have regular bowel movements.
One of the reasons some people suffer from constipation is lack of activity. So, if you needed an excuse to go to the gym, here it is!
Exercise can help you with constipation by reducing the amount of time it takes for food to go through your large intestine. It limits the amount of water your body takes from the stool. Hard and dry stools are more difficult to expel.
And, doing an aerobic exercise is a surefire way to amp up your heart rate and breathing. This will stimulate the natural squeezing of the intestinal muscles, and thus push out those stools faster.
Do your workout one hour after you consume a big meal. After you eat, blood flow increases to the stomach as well as the intestines as a means of helping your body digest. If you work out right after you eat, the blood flows away from the stomach and instead goes to the heart and your muscles.
Since the ability of your gut’s muscle contractions are dependent on how much blood it has, having less blood in your GI tract leads to weaker contractions, and sluggishly-moving food through the intestines. This just leaves you with bloating, constipation and gas.
The point? Let your body digest one hour before you start working out or doing vigorous movements.
Method 3: Psyllium Husk
Some people have never heard of Psyllium husk, and naturally, they have questions. One really common one we get is “Will psyllium husk cause constipation?”
Nope! To cut to the chase, the answer is NO. As a matter of fact, the real question is, “How will psyllium husk help with constipation?”
Psyllium husk is actually a great way to rid yourself of constipation. It is a rich fiber source, and the nutrient is huge in keeping your bowels healthy. It works by increasing the amount of stool to aid it in its journey through the intestines.
You will find that psyllium husk is a primary ingredient in many fiber supplements, and it is effective in treating constipation.
The best time to take it is, well, anytime you feel you need some help. The supplement we really recommend is miNATURALS Psyllium, and you can take this anytime, anywhere so long as you have a glass of water with you. You should drink one or two 8 oz glasses of water with each of your doses. Be sure that you stay well-hydrated as your day goes on.
Drink plenty of good, clean water as a means of staying hydrated when you are supplementing with a fibrous supplement. As we learned earlier, water and fiber combine to increase the stool and help waste go through the intestines. Having too much fiber but not enough water can make your problem worse.
Method 4: Having Good Posture/Squatting
Remember that silly Internet product that went around, the “squatty potty?” Well, it was more than just a meme. The act of squatting is a natural way to help you get that constipation problem solved! It changes the position of your colon and gives your waste a straight path into the toilet bowl, leading to less strain on your part.
There was actually a study conducted about the placement of toilets. Participants compared three different thrones: one which was 16 inches off the ground, a second which was 12 inches up, and then a squatting toilet. The participants reported on the effort they had to exert to eliminate, and their satisfaction that they were empty and free of waste.
Compared to both seated positions, the subjects had better bowel movements when they squatted with less effort.
If you think you want to try this, just flip over a laundry basket and place your feet on it as if you were watching TV. The idea is to get your feet level with your butt-it is not like a squat at the gym! It’s that simple.
Yoga is another good way to get yourself cleaned out. Traditional yoga is evidence that the angle of your hips, torso, and back can aid in passing feces. There is such pose as the “wind relief” pose, which helps you flatulate.
Hug one knee at a time to your chest. Then do that same action while lying on the floor, creating the same leg and angle torso you would have if you were squatting.
Method 5: Prunes
Prunes are the tried and true methods of constipation relief from grandmothers everywhere, and they’re not lying. A prune is a dried plum that is renowned for its laxative qualities. You will often see people drinking prune juice or eating a prune to help them “go.”
Prunes have many great benefits. They have been used for centuries! They are ingredients that are added to treatments for the following:
- High blood pressure
Note the second to last one: Constipation! Yes, prunes are great for mobilizing the digestive system and lowering the time between your bowel movements. After all, the fruit is high in fiber and contains healthy amounts of sorbitol, a natural laxative.
Potassium is the magic ingredient in prune juice that aids in balancing sodium levels in the bloodstream. After all, it is an elevated sodium that leads to higher blood pressure. Taking in at least 4700 mg of potassium helps in lowering the risk of hypertension.
Prunes are helpful in a number of other ways, too:
- They help preserve liver wellness
- Their juice is safe to help treat constipation in children
- They are naturally nutritious and contain fiber, calcium, potassium, and no cholesterol
- They contain Vitamin A, Vitamin B, zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium
Overall, prunes are great! Just be wary of the juice-it is naturally high in sugars, and also contains a high-calorie count.
Method 6: Coffee
Maybe you’ve seen those silly mugs that say, “Coffee makes me poop.” Well, all jokes aside, it is the truth!
The world’s favorite drink is helpful in many ways, from waking us up to getting us to go #2. The bowel stimulating traits of coffee comes from caffeine and other substances found within the drink.
The consumption of coffee stimulates the muscles of the colon and promotes contraction of the muscles that cause you to have a bowel movement. It is stronger than drinking water!
So, how much should you drink to get the results you want? Well, it varies, but you may want to try black Colombian coffee with at least 150 mg of caffeine, which is the average amount of coffee you can expect from an 8-ounce cup.
And you might also be thinking to yourself, “Coffee is a dehydrating drink! How can it be helpful?” Coffee really only has diuretic effects when you consume it in large quantities, such as those who consume enough to have 500 to 600 mg per day. So, having one or two cups will not harm you as far as dehydration goes.
Method 7: Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed is also known as linseed, and they are tiny seeds that you get from the flax plant. They have been discovered as a way to address health symptoms, including constipation.
They are about the size of sesame seeds, and they may be eaten whole. But, grinding them up allows your body to reap the many benefits of these seeds.
You can enjoy protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and dietary fiber from the flaxseed. You can also enjoy getting vitamins and minerals from them, too.
Flaxseed may improve your heart health, bring down your cholesterol levels, and even reduce the risk of colon, prostate, and breast cancer, say some preliminary studies and animal research.
It may also improve the lives of IBS sufferers, too- one study showed that those with IBS where constipation was predominant may improve with the use of flaxseed, and even may see an increase in bowel movements.
You can safely use flaxseed by drinking lots of water when you eat it, and you will enjoy the nutty taste. You can buy it pre-ground or grind your own. Some ways to enjoy it:
- Add it baked goods
- Add to your oatmeal or cereal
- Mix into a smoothie
Method 8: Drink More Water
Dehydration is a cause of constipation. The food that you consume travels from your stomach to the large intestine, also known as the colon. Thus, if you do not have enough water in your body, the large intestine takes in water from your food’s waste. This makes you get those hard stools that are tough to expel.
The way to alleviate this is to drink plenty of water, especially when it is hot out or you have been exercising. You can also lose fluid by sweating, so keep that in mind on those really hot days (or when you’re stuck in a place with no air conditioning).
This is not a cure for constipation but having enough water will make stools easier to get rid of. Aim for about 8 cups of water a day.
You can also make use of clear soups, teas, and veggie/fruit juices to help you along. Be sure that you stay away from alcohol. This is a diuretic that takes water away and can lead you to be dehydrated.
The Bottom Line
Thankfully, constipation does not have to be troublesome-thanks to these great natural methods!