How To Fix Constipation?
Laxatives and natural constipation cures
Most of the time, constipation will cure itself without needing any special treatment or medicine. As well, you can usually speed things up (and prevent future constipation) with some changes in the way you live — for example, eating more fiber, drinking more fluids, and increasing your physical activity (especially anything that improves your core strength). Also, try to avoid “holding it in” and poop as soon as you can when you feel the urge.
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It’s also important to not stress over occasional constipation because — fair or not — stress can actually make you constipated. Although prolonged sitting on the toilet isn’t the best thing for you, trying to rush a bowel movement is even worse. If you’re going to poop, relax and take your time.
Laxatives shouldn’t be your first or instant solution to constipation. Just because they’re easy to get, doesn’t mean they’re the best thing for you. A laxative can solve your short-term constipation, and is generally fine for very occasional and single use, but it should be used (or needed) on a regular basis.
In fact, the Food and Drug Administration recommends everyone check with a doctor before using a laxative or, at the very least, read the instructions carefully and follow them diligently. This is because laxatives can have harmful effects.
If you’ve tried a laxative — on your own or on doctor’s orders — and the constipation persists — follow up with your doctor! Don’t suffer in constipated silence.
Types of Laxatives
Stimulant laxatives attempt to counteract constipation by causing your intestinal muscles to contract and relax over and over. One brand name for stimulant laxatives is Senokot.
Fiber supplements laxatives are often considered the safest option, and about as close to a “natural” solution as you can get. Fiber supplements may also be labelled as bulk-forming laxatives. Similar to adding fiber to your regular diet, the consumption of this type of laxative should include drinking lots of fluids as well. A brand name example of a fiber supplement or bulk-forming laxative would be FiberCon.
Stool softeners are just what they sound like. Typically a stool softener will try to resolve constipation by moistening the stool. Think hard modelling clay or dried out play dough… now add some water. Colace and Surfak are two brand name stool softeners.
Lubricant laxatives simply help your stool move more easily through your colon. An example of a lubricant laxative would be mineral oil (Fleet is one brand name).
Osmotic laxatives are similar to stool softeners. They remedy constipation by drawing water into your colon to hydrating your stool and easing bowel movements. Saline laxatives would be one type of osmotic.
Neuromuscular agents are the “high-tech’ solution to constipation. They are designed to affect specific nerve receptors in your digestive system to encourage stool movement through your bowels. Neuromuscular agents for constipation can include 5-HT4 agonists and opioid antagonists and 5-HT4 agonists.
Laxatives are usually the first course of treatment for constipation and most often resolve the problem. Should laxatives not work, your doctor may have to remove impacted stool manually or through surgery.
Natural Treatments for Constipation
Most of the constipation treatments listed below are actually lifestyle choices. While they can help for bouts of constipation, it’s best to incorporate them into your daily life and avoid being constipated in the first place.
Increasing Your Fiber Intake
Fiber helps bind moisture to your stool, softening it and making it easier to pass — obviously easing or avoiding constipation. The average adult should get about 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily. If possible, it’s best to get your fiber from natural sources such as fresh fruits and vegetables. These days you can also find a number of products with added fiber, for example, cereals. You can also use fiber supplements that can be mixed with water for drinking, sprinkled on food, or mixed into recipes.
Drinking water is key to avoiding or fixing constipation. Without enough water, your stool will become drier and harder, and make bowel movements more difficult.
Regular physical activity can ease or prevent constipation. The increased blood flow from any activity can help, but exercise that helps work and/or develop the core muscles aids in bowel movements.
Don’t Hold It In
Obviously there are times when it’s not convenient to poop, but holding back a bowel movement for a long time, or on a regular basis, can cause constipation as you mess up the normal cues for pooping.
Although mostly anecdotal, there’s a lot of evidence that squatting, or raising your feet on a platform to get your knees above your hips, can encourage bowel movements.
When To See A Doctor For Constipation
As mentioned earlier, if your doctor has prescribed a treatment or drug for constipation, and nothing changes, follow up with them.
Other reasons to see a doctor about your constipation include the following:
- extreme discomfort or symptoms that continue to get worse
- Blood in your stool or bleeding from your rectum
- constipation that begins suddenly without any reason
- long-term constipation that doesn’t respond to lifestyle changes
- Constipation that is accompanied by constant pain in the abdominal region or lower back
- Constipation accompanied by a fever
- difficulty passing gas
- Constipation with vomiting
- unexpected weight loss while constipated
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