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CAUSES OF CONSTIPATION AND HOW TO PREVENT OR TREAT IT

 

Isn’t it such a pleasant experience to be able to clear our bowels with ease when we wake up in the morning? Unfortunately, not everyone has the privilege of answering nature’s call with comfort- a condition known as constipation.

              What is Constipation?

Constipation is the inability to clear one’s bowels daily. According to Mayoclinic, “chronic constipation is infrequent bowel movements or difficult passage of stools that persists for several weeks or longer.  Constipation is generally described as having fewer than three bowel movements a week.”

 In ayurvedic medicine, it is believed that constipation is the root of all diseases. Chronic constipation leads to toxins being reabsorbed in the body, thus causing all kinds of health issues. Constipation can lead to piles and even colon cancer.

            Primary Reasons for Constipation

1. Low water intake and dehydration

2. Low fibre diet

3. Overconsumption of refined flour products

4. Lack of physical activity and exercise

5. Medical health conditions such as diabetes, thyroid problems, stress, Parkinson’s

Sickle Cell Anemia and Constipation

Did you know that sickle cell patients often suffer from chronic constipation? And this can feel very similar to a stomach crisis. As far back as I can remember, I have always suffered from chronic constipation. However, I did not realise that this was linked to the many pain killers (opioids) like; morphine, codeine, hydrocodone and acetaminophen, I am given to help me manage my pain, until some years ago when I had a sickle cell crisis and was admitted into hospital for a week. 

During my stay at the hospital, I was given a ton of opioids to help relieve my pain. The opioids helped with the pain, but I became so constipated that a bowel movement was near impossible, and I couldn’t even pass outgas. I complained to the doctor, who immediately put me on stool softeners, but they didn’t help much.

I was discharged after a week when my pain was under control, but I had an excruciating stomachache when I got home, and I couldn’t have a bowel movement. I thought I was having another crisis because the pain was unbearable, so I immediately called an ambulance and was rushed back into the hospital. 

After a series of checks, the doctor concluded that I was suffering from severe constipation. I was unable to have a bowel movement, and I even couldn’t pass out gas. It was such an uncomfortable feeling. I was admitted into the hospital for several more days to get the condition treated. 

Since then, I have been on a quest to find natural ways to cure my chronic constipation.

Do you suffer from frequent constipation? What do you use to help solve this problem? Read on to find out some tips that have greatly helped me resolve this problem.

Constipation Relief 


13 Fail-Proof Remedies to Beat Constipation

Since my hospital admission for chronic constipation, I have been searching for natural ways to cure my constipation.

Below are thirteen natural remedies I have used to stay constipation free over the years. 

⭐Dried prunes

My cousin recommended this remedy, and I can vouch for it. I eat about five to 12 dried prunes daily, and this has helped keep things moving. I have tried fresh prunes too, but they do not work as well for me. However, they seem to work well for others, so do give them a shot. You can blend fresh or dried prunes with some water and drink or add them to smoothies.

Each time I am admitted into the hospital, I ask my husband to get a bag of dried prunes. This proved very effective during my recent hip replacement surgery, as I didn’t need stool softeners. I had a bowel movement the very day and throughout my entire hospital stay, much to the surprise of my doctors.

⭐Aloe Vera 

I started eating one aloe Vera leaf twice a week to prevent the sickling of my red blood cells, and it works very well for that. However, once I started taking it, I immediately noticed it was an excellent laxative as well. So now I have double the benefits of using aloe Vera for my health. Blend it with honey and take half it an hour before any meal.

⭐Chlorophyll

I started using chlorophyll to help build my blood and prevent anaemia. But chlorophyll doesn’t only help make blood. It is a great internal cleanser as well. You can buy liquid chlorophyll from the stores and take a dropper to three droppers in a glass of water daily, or you can simply blend a bowl of green leafy vegetables daily and drink. 

⭐Have Vegetables with Every Meal.

I am not used to having vegetables for breakfast, so this one came as a surprise to me when my nutritionist asked me to incorporate a cupful of vegetables with every meal. Because I find it hard to eat my vegetables for breakfast, I make a veggie juice or smoothie each morning and have that before breakfast. That way, I am getting the maximum benefits from my veggies by eating them raw.

Vegetables that I use for my smoothies or incorporate in all my meals include but are not limited to; spinach, collard greens, mustard greens, Chlorella, spirulina, alfalfa, parsley, broccoli, greens, cabbage, asparagus, green beans and peas, bell peppers, kale, beet leaves etc

Chlorophyll is also available in powder form like spirulina powder, chlorella, alfalfa powders which is easier and quicker to incorporate them in meals for those days when you are pressed for time.

⭐Kiwi

When I am constipated, I find that eating several (at least two) kiwis in the morning an hour before meals do the trick.

⭐Papaya

Eat one whole papaya an hour before meals and viola. Eat it regularly for best results.

⭐Spirulina capsules

I started taking spirulina to boost my immune system. It has helped keep me from colds and flu for the last seven years. But like my other remedies, it has multiple uses, including building the immune system and cleansing the body. Taking five capsules of spirulina daily keeps constipation at bay.

⭐Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

Grapefruits are rich in a soluble fibre called pectin that can help accelerate your colon’s transit time, thus reducing constipation. Taking one tall glass of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice an hour before meals first thing in the morning helps me have a bowel movement very quickly.

⭐Sesame oil 

It moisturises your intestinal tract and keeps things moving. One tablespoon once or twice daily does it for me. You could also add sesame seeds to your daily smoothies.

⭐Castor oil 

It doesn’t taste delicious but helps significantly with digestion. A teaspoon on an empty stomach can bring relief very quickly. It is a stimulant laxative and could cause diarrhoea and stomach cramps, so start with a small dose and increase the quantity as you find out what your body can tolerate.

⭐Probiotics 

I’ve often heard it said that good health always starts with a healthy gut. Probiotics are great for gut health. I take one capsule of 50 billion strength daily to keep my stomach healthy.

⭐Digestive enzymes

I recently introduced digestive enzymes to my daily routine, and my gut is happier for it. I take one digestive enzyme capsule after every meal to help improve digestion, thus preventing constipation.

⭐Fenugreek Powder

Mix half a teaspoon of fenugreek powder in half a glass of warm water and drink it before bed will help aid digestion, facilitate bowel movement, and prevent constipation and stomach discomfort.

Of course, it is always recommended to drink lots of fluids and eat foods rich in fibre to combat constipation. Still, taking it one step further with the remedies mentioned above has helped relieve me in my battle with constipation. 

Not only is unrelieved constipation very painful, but it can lead to other complications down the road. So don’t wait until you are severely constipated to start looking for a remedy. It’s better to be proactive than reactive. 

Extra Tips On How to Prevent Constipation

1. Drink a tall glass of warm lemon water first thing in the morning and 30 minutes to an hour before breakfast

2. Drink about 2 litres of water daily

3. Don’t mix fruits with your meals but eat them by themselves. 

4. Eat fruits at least half an hour before meals

5. Eliminate processed foods like white rice, white pasta and white flour from your diet. Instead, switch to millet, brown rice, brown bread, brown pasta, pumpkin, sweet potatoes etc

6. Eat fibre rich foods. Have vegetables with every meal to help increase fibre content in your food and make it easier to flush out faecal matter from your bowels.

7. Add exercise into your daily routine. Doing activities like brisk walking, jogging, or any exercise of choice, for 30 mins to an hour each day will improve your digestive health. 

Overcoming constipation may not be so hard after all. Just follow the tips shared above and say goodbye to constipation.

 Do you regularly suffer from constipation? How do you solve this problem? Have you tried any of the tips mentioned above for constipation? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

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