Constipation is the infrequent bowel movement and is generally described as having less than three bowel moments in a week. This condition can last for several weeks or longer. It is one of the most common health conditions that people in the country suffer on a daily basis. It is estimated that around 20% of people in the country suffer from constipation. Chronic constipation can result in unpleasant symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and experiencing pain while passing stools. These symptoms can also have a negative effect on the quality of life in the long run.
Having said that, it is easy to treat constipation with some simple home remedies, some of which are mentioned below:
- Stay hydrated
Drinking less than required water can result in constipation. Dehydration is one of the major reasons why people suffer from constipation. So, it is highly recommended to drink at least two liters of water to avoid symptoms of dehydration. Apart from treating idiopathic constipation, water can also help in relieving the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. However, avoid drinking carbonated water like flavored soda as it can worsen the symptoms of constipation.
- Caffeinated drinks
Coffee stimulates the muscles in the digestive system which can stimulate bowel movement. Some studies suggest that coffee is at least 60 percent more effective than drinking water. Coffee also contains a small amount of soluble fibers, which can prevent constipation by improving the balance of gut bacteria.
- Eat more fiber
Increasing fiber in the daily diet also increases the bulk in the consistency of the bowel movements, which makes it easier to pass. A recent study has revealed that more than 70 percent of individuals with chronic constipation benefit from including soluble fiber in their daily diet.
Insoluble fibers such as whole grains, vegetables, and wheat bran add bulk to the stools helping them pass more quickly. On the other hand, soluble fibers such as oats, nuts, beans, and lentils soften the stools and improve its consistency. So, it is important to form a balance of both types of fiber to avoid constipation.
- Herbal laxatives
These contain a number of plant compounds called glycosides. These compounds stimulate the nerves in the guts, thereby speeding up the bowel movement. Herbal laxatives are available as OTC (over the counter) medications which can be taken orally or rectally. However, it is recommended to consult a doctor before using the same.
- Low-FODMAP diet
Fermentable Oligo-Di, Mono Saccharides, And Polyols or FODMAP diet is usually recommended by nutritionist, dietitians or doctors to treat constipation. It is an elimination diet, often used to treat IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). A FODMAP diet involves consuming certain types of foods such as eggplant, capsicum, cucumber, lettuce, cantaloupe, almond milk, soy milk, eggs, firm tofu, dark chocolate and avoiding whole grains and red meats.
It is important to keep a check on all symptoms that might indicate constipation. Consult a health expert before making dietary and lifestyle changes to get relief from constipation. For people who have tried several remedies and have not experienced any relief from constipation, it is recommended to talk to a gastroenterologist to check if it is a symptom of an underlying disease.