Old age brings with it a whole lot of health conditions, difficult or irregular bowel movements being just one of them. Remember the Deepika Padukone & Amitabh Bachchan movie, Piku? Among younger adults, constipation may be a manifestation of an underlying medical condition as well. Now most times, constipation can be resolved with home remedies or doctor-prescribed laxatives. In severe cases where you haven’t passed stool for over 3 days, it’s always good to get checked out by a doctor because you may have intestinal inflammation.
6 Home Remedies You Can Try As The First Line Of Treatment For Constipation
1. Reach Out For Water
Dehydration is one of the primary causes of constipation. So, the moment you feel constipated, load up on water content to stay hydrated. Rather than drinking a bottle of water at one go, keep sipping on it at regular intervals. Apart from drinking the water that you do at home, you can get your hands on sparkling water to rehydrate yourself. Studies have found that sparkling water helps cure digestion and chronic idiopathic constipation. However, steer clear of drinking sparkling water if you have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Hydrating yourself definitely doesn’t mean drinking carbonated drinks and sugary sodas that do you more harm than good, not only for constipation but in every possible way.
2. Load Up On Fibre
Fibre is known for boosting the consistency of bowel movements and also easing their passage. It also aids in the bowels making their way through the digestive system quicker. No wonder, medications for constipation are often high on fibre to improve stool frequency. However, it may not be helpful for certain symptoms of constipation like bloating and gas. This is because not all categories of dietary fibre are effective for various effects of digestion.
Fibres are of two kinds: insoluble fibre, and soluble fibre. Insoluble fibres add bulk to stool and assist in making your poop pass easily. Bran and whole grains are some examples of insoluble fibre. On the other hand, soluble fibres absorb water, which helps in softening your poop and maintaining a healthy consistency.
3. Brew It Up
Yes, this is one of the very few instances where coffee, and that too the caffeinated variety, actually comes in handy. Coffee stimulates the muscles of the digestive system and the gut like meals do. A cup O’ joe also comprises small quantities of soluble fibres that improve the balance of bacteria in the gut, thus, preventing and treating constipation. Coffee works even better among people with IBS, although it may also aggravate digestive symptoms.
4. Increase The Intake Of Probiotics
Probiotics are live, beneficial bacteria that are naturally present in our gut and work wonders in treating constipation, even chronic constipation. And those with chronic constipation often have an imbalance of bacteria in their gut, something that probiotic-rich foods can efficiently treat and prevent. Foods like dahi (yoghurt), buttermilk, cottage cheese and other types of cheese like gouda, mozzarella, and cheddar.
5. Follow A Daily Fitness Routine
Here’s something that’s not related to diet. A fitness routine helps in easing bowel movements versus leading a sedentary lifestyle. If you’ve already been following a fitness regimen and yet are experiencing constipation, increase the intensity of your workout. Walk, run, jog, hit the gym, swim, do Zumba – anything that catches your fancy and interests you enough to be able to sustain at least till the time you’ve got relief from constipation. While you’ve chosen your form of workout or are doing a mix of two or more forms of exercise, don’t miss out on doing a few squats and see how it benefits you.
6. Include Prebiotic Foods In Your Diet
Prebiotics are an indigestible carbohydrate that helps in boosting digestive health, a step ahead of dietary fibres that aid in reducing constipation by improving the bulk of your poop and consistency. Prebiotic fibres contribute to digestive health by feeding the beneficial bacteria that grow in the gut. This, in turn, improves probiotics and enhances the balance of the gut bacteria. In some people, it may also make poop softer and increase the frequency of bowel movements. Some examples of food rich in prebiotics are garlic, banana, onions, chickpeas, and leeks, among others.
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