Constipation is not a disease but merely a symptom that can normally be set right by proper diet. Altering food habits should be the first step in fighting constipation. People should desist from going to chemists as a first choice.
Inculcating fine habits will help rid constipation. Drink lots of water and fresh fruit juices. When the body is hydrated, the colon does not absorb too much water from stools. This way stools stay soft and bulky which in turn helps bowel movement. Avoid soft drinks and other caffeinated drinks that make you dehydrated. However, coffee stimulates stomach muscles in some people and may be helpful in passing stools easily.
Regular exercises will help keep the intestinal muscles active. Aerobics like exercises squeeze the muscles in the colon and promote free passing of stools through the intestine. Jumping exercises like skipping stimulate bowel activity. We know that physical inactivity is one of the causes of constipation. Unfortunately, the typical American diet causes constipation. It is full of processed food with high fat and calories and fewer fluids. Including plenty of fiber in the diet will help tackle constipation. Fresh vegetables, fruits, and nuts have both soluble fibers and insoluble fibers. Both the fibers actively participate in keeping the bowel movement active. The quantity of fibrous food should be gradually increased in the diet until you get at least 25-30 grams of fiber per day. Avoid eating junk food such as chips, cakes, and cookies. They are mostly made up of processed grain which contains very less or no fiber at all. Milk and other dairy products are low in fiber content. Hence, they are best avoided when you are faced with a constipation problem. Supplement your diet with non-fermentable fiber such psyllium which will support bowel movement.
Going to the toilet when the body gets the signal is very important. If you miss the signal, they become weak with time. Sit on the toilet for a longer time, even if there is no sign of passing stool. You can train your body by visiting the bathroom should be at the same time every day it gives a cue to the body for the bowel movement. Squatting position also helps in bowel movement as the muscles in the gut squeeze.
Foods such as yogurt and other cultured foods like a pickle, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, and kimchi contain a beneficial bacteria called probiotics. This bacteria helps in easing digestive issues like diarrhea and constipation.
Foods such as garlic, onions, and banana have prebiotic fiber. Prebiotic fiber feeds bacteria into your gut and helps in balancing your gut bacteria. This, in turn, will improve digestive health. It is long touted that sleeping position influences bowel movement. If you sleep on your left side, you are most likely to have bowel movements when you wake up.
Using herbal laxative like senna will help ease constipation. Senna contains chemicals called sennosides. Sennosides irritate the lining in the intestine and this has an effect of a laxative. Do not use senna when you have diarrhea. Pregnant women should consult a doctor before using senna. Senna is not meant for prolonged use.