Almost everyone has and/or will experience constipation at some point in their lives. It can be an extremely uncomfortable and embarrassing ailment. Luckily, it is only in rare cases that constipation is attributed to a serious medical condition.
What Is Constipation?
A simple definition of constipation is difficult or less frequent bowel movements. Because everyone's body composition is different, there is no sure way to define what is normal. For one, two or three bowel movements per day is both normal and necessary, while for another one bowel movement every two or three days is normal. Perhaps the best way to judge is to be in tune with your body and pay attention to your needs. If there has been an absence of bowel movements for several days, you feel gassy and bloated, and/or you have difficulty passing stool, you may be constipated.
What Causes Constipation?
There are many possible causes of constipation. Some of the most common causes of constipation are:
- Poor eating habits
- Inadequate fluid intake
- Excessive dairy in the diet
- Disruption in regular life routine (ie. travel, new job, etc.)
- Certain Medications
- Lack of exercise
If you are experiencing constipation on a frequent basis, there may be a need to make a change to your lifestyle. It also may be time to see a doctor.
What Natural Constipation Remedies Can I Use?
There are a plethora of natural constipation remedies available, and deciding which one is right for you is a very personal and sometimes difficult decision. The three constipation remedies we will discuss here can be used both to prevent and to treat constipation.
1. Proper Eating Habits
Eating a balanced diet is the most important decision that we make that will effect our body's ability to stay regular. People that are especially prone to constipation should add natural fiber sources to their diets. Raisins, dates, prunes, figs and other fruits are easy snacks to add in throughout the day. Flaxseeds are also very rich in fiber, and can be added to smoothies, sprinkled on salads, or added to other foods to easily increase fiber.
Magnesium also helps the intestines and colon to function properly. Foods such as almonds, spinach, peanuts, and other green leafy vegetables and nuts are high in magnesium and can help if you are experiencing constipation. Dr. Oz also suggests that combining calcium with a magnesium-rich diet is an even more effective constipation home remedy.
2. Adequate Fluid Intake
A common problem for people of all ages is inadequate fluid intake. The Institute of Medicine estimates that men need approximately 13 cups of fluids per day, and women need approximately 9 cups of fluids each day. That's over three quarters of a gallon of fluids for men each day. And while everyone's bodies are different, many people still do not get what they need which can cause many problems, including constipation.
3. Sufficient Exercise
As we push our bodies into physical activity all of our bodily functions are kickstarted into performing at their highest levels. As we move away from a sedentary lifestyle and towards an active lifestyle, our bodies are able to function normally. This general physical health plays a huge role in staving off uncomfortable conditions such as constipation.
The best way to treat and prevent constipation is to balance healthy eating, adequate fluid intake, and exercise each day. Not only will this help with constipation, but overall health will improve as well. Lifestyle changes aren't easy, and a lifestyle change may be required to get and stay well, but the rewards are enduring.