The digestive system is one of the most important systems in our body, since it allows us to obtain enough nutrients to keep the body functioning and surviving. But our body does not absorb all the food, generating after the digestion a series of residues that later we will expel in form of feces.
However, it is possible that at some point and for various circumstances we are not able to excrete these residues, which accumulate in the final part of the digestive tract, or even though we can do so, it is difficult to do so. This is known as constipation, which can cause great discomfort and even be dangerous if there is an accumulation of faeces inside us. That is why throughout this article we will see different remedies for constipation .
What is constipation?
In order to consider what problem we want to act on, it is relevant to make a brief mention of what constipation is or involves.
We give the name of constipation to the medical condition in which defecation and expulsion of fecal waste does not occur with the usual frequency , usually due to the existence of a hardening and excessive dehydration of the stool. Difficulties in defecation at least one out of four times or the absence of evacuation for three or more days are usually considered as such.
Constipation can have many origins, from a low-fibre diet to different functional problems of the excretory organs or even the existence of various diseases of which it can be a symptom. Also the existence of nervous activation such as stress and anxiety can contribute to its appearance.
While constipation is usually a temporary problem (although some people have chronic constipation), it can cause discomfort such as pain if you manage to have a bowel movement, a feeling of fullness or gastric discomfort . In those cases in which the expulsion of faeces does not take place, some type of intervention will be necessary, either on a pharmacological level, through feeding or even in extreme cases through surgical procedures, given that it may end up causing serious health problems.
Different remedies for constipation
Below we indicate a series of different remedies recommended to promote the expulsion of stool and relieve or eliminate constipation.
One of the problems that constipation often causes is the dehydration of the fecal waste and the subject himself. Drinking enough water is not an absolute guarantee of not suffering from constipation, but it is essential to stay hydrated so that the body does not seek the water it needs in elements such as faeces : this makes them hard and difficult to pass.
2. Consume fiber
Another of the elements that most regularly make us go to the bathroom is the consumption of foods rich in fiber, such as cereals, legumes, nuts and fruit.
3. Employs relaxation techniques
The existence of stress and anxiety can make excretion very difficult, which is why it is useful to perform different relaxation techniques. Among them we can find breathing techniques, progressive muscle relaxation or alternatives such as mindfulness.
4. Get a massage
Another way to promote the mobility of our intestines is through mechanical stimulation, by means of various techniques of abdominal self-massage. A gentle pressure should be applied along the digestive tract , and it is advisable to apply circular type movements.
5. Use physical activity
Another possible remedy for constipation to consider is physical activity, which helps stimulate the body. Running, dancing or swimming are among those considered most helpful. Activities that involve direct exercise of the abdominal area, such as doing sit-ups, may also help.
6. Nutrition: use of foods with laxative and probiotic properties
There are many foods that have the ability to stimulate intestinal transit and facilitate defecation. Plums, oranges, bananas, honey, apples, lettuce, broccoli, raisins, papaya, lentils, licorice or yogurt are useful examples, as well as any food that includes a high content of fiber. Usually we are talking about fruits, vegetables and cereals .
7. Use of laxative drugs
Beyond this, and in case the rest of the options do not work, the use of synthesized laxatives at a pharmacological level such as Dulcolax or Microlax can be resorted to. However, it must be taken into account that their use should be sporadic and limited to specific moments, since if continuous consumption is made in the long term, it may cause our body to reduce its capacity to generate intestinal motility naturally or different side effects of varying severity.
- Longstreth GF, Thompson WG, Chey WD, Houghton LA, Mearin F, Spiller RC (2006). Functional bowel disorders. Gastroenterology 130 (5): 1480 – 91.
- Rey, E. (2006). Information to the patient: Constipation. Revista Española de Enfermedades Digestivas, 98 (4). Madrid, Spain.