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4 Ways to Help Yourself with Constipation

Help Yourself with Constipation

We’ve all been there—you haven’t had a bowel movement in two days, and you feel like you can’t have one until you have an enema or until your husband tries to help you with the plunger (don’t worry, I don’t judge!). Before you visit your doctor, though, there are some steps you can take to ease your constipation and get things moving again.

What is constipation?

Constipation is often a symptom of other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), hemorrhoids, colorectal cancer, anal fissures, or certain medications.

To rule out these risks, get speedy medical attention if you experience persistent constipation with rectal bleeding or severe abdominal pain.

For example, blood in your stool may indicate you have hemorrhoids and are passing hard stool with small tears in your anus and rectum. These cuts can become infected and cause pain when you go to the bathroom. If your pain worsens or does not get better after two days, visit a doctor right away.

Here are four ways to help you when dealing with constipation problems...

1. Drink more water

Most constipation-related causes stem from the fact you are consuming enough water. Most people are chronically dehydrated and don’t realize it.

If you feel like your stools aren’t moving right, increase your water intake – about 10 glasses a day should do it. Water tends to make your stool softer and easier to pass. If dehydration is an issue for you, make sure that you’re getting at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day (for example, if you weigh 180 pounds drink 90 ounces or 15 cups).

2. Herbal teas

Drinking tea helps stimulate the bowels, causing the movement of feces through the colon faster than usual. That's because certain types of tea contain caffeine or other stimulants which act as natural laxatives.

Here are some teas to try: Chamomile, mint, ginger-lemon honeybush, fennel lemon balm.

3. Start your morning with hot water with lemon

Drinking hot water with a squeezed lemon, first thing in the morning is a potent remedy for constipation. You can add a teaspoon of honey, or drink an herbal tea if lemon water is not your thing.

If you need more relief, you can try a warm glass of water with apple cider vinegar before bed. If that doesn't work, you may want to check your stool for blood or mucus (pink-tinged stools can indicate constipation) and look into dietary changes.

Often eating more fiber and drinking more water helps relieve constipation. And if all else fails, talk to your doctor about over-the-counter medication; there are products available specifically for occasional constipation relief.

4. Try laxatives only when you have to

If you have chronic constipation, go for a high-fiber diet, exercise regularly, and stay hydrated. It’s best not to rely on laxatives—they may ease your discomfort in the short term but can be habit-forming or even cause complications like ulcers.

Your digestive system is like any other muscle: The more you exercise it, the better shape it’ll be in and that will result in regularity for you (without making things worse).

Add probiotics

There’s a lot of buzz around probiotics. Some studies have shown that they may be more effective than antibiotics in treating certain types of infections. One issue with antibiotics is that they can upset your balance of healthy bacteria (especially if you take them over an extended period).

Adding probiotics helps restore a healthy balance. Most yogurts contain probiotics, but there are also other sources such as supplements and some fruits and vegetables. The National Institute of Health recommends looking for live and active cultures on food labels if you want to include these in your diet.

Over-the-counter medication

If all else fails, talk to your doctor about over-the-counter medication; there are products available specifically for occasional constipation relief.

These include Senokot® or Lactulose which you take in pill form. Both medicines come in different doses, so it's best to follow the instructions on the label carefully.

Some other treatments are things like suppositories (such as Glycerin), enemas, colon hydrotherapy, oral laxatives (such as Miralax), and rectal suppositories such as Dulcolax). Talk to your doctor about what would be the best option for you!

The final word

So whether you are suffering from constipation due to work, excess sugar, or even medication side effects, there are a variety of simple things you can do on your own to overcome constipation.

Overcoming constipation doesn't have to be complicated and many home remedies will provide instant relief for those who suffer from constipation regularly.

It is never fun having a backed-up feeling and it feels miserable while it is happening. But if you want relief fast, consider trying some of these home remedies. If they don't help, consult with your doctor about other options more suitable for you.

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