Natural ways to relieve constipation
Regular bowel movements are important for your health because without them toxins can accumulate and be reabsorbed into the bloodstream. There are many ways to increase bowel movements if you are suffering from constipation and it can usually be managed effectively on your own. Unfortunately too many people rely on laxatives to relieve constipation. This often interferes with kidney function and can cause a large amount of fluid loss and ultimately weaken the muscles that are needed for bowel movements. Additionally, the body rebounds after taking laxatives by holding on to all of the available water it can get, which can lead to water retention and/or bloating.
If you are only having a bowel movement less than three times a week, they are hard to pass or/and are a hard consistency you are likely constipated. Other symptom can include a sense of incomplete emptying, bloating, pain, gas and haemorrhoids. They can even lead to fatigue and skin conditions.
Fortunately, constipation is often preventable and there are many natural relief remedies and lifestyle changes available that can help improve bowel function.
What causes constipation?
Causes can include:
- Dehydration from a low fluid intake
- Caffeinated drinks.
- Lack of dietary fibre such as nuts, seeds, broccoli, cucumbers,kiwi, carrots and root vegetables.
- A high gluten-containing diet can promote constipation.
- A sedentary lifestyle such as an office-based job or excessive television watching
- Obesity is another factor that can increase the risk
- Certain medications can cause constipation including: anti-depressants and antacids.
What can I do when I am constipated?
- Daily exercise such as walking and yoga helps your bowels to move properly.
- A reduced or gluten-free diet
- Adequate hydration by drinking at least two litres of water a day, start your day with a glass of water with the juice of a lemon.
- Eating a large breakfast containing healthy fats such as eggs and avocado can stimulate bowel movements.
- Increasing dietary fibre.
- Abdominal massage can improve constipation by encouraging movement of waste through the colon and reducing feelings of stress.
- Magnesium can help with normal muscle functioning. This can be taken via a supplement or Epsom salt bath.
- Probiotics and prebiotics have been shown to be beneficial in relieving constipation
- Psyllium and Flaxseeds are both mild bulk forming laxatives
There is no one size fits all and it may be a case of trial and error to see what multitude of things work for you. If you have tried several things and nothing seems to be working it may be worth testing for underlying causes such as Thyroid Function or Gut dysfunction.