This post was last updated on September 20, 2016
If you don’t feel like using store bought medication to relieve constipation, there are quite a few home remedies you can try. Constipation happens when you find it harder than usual to pass a bowel movement. It is usually not harmful and happens to everyone at some point in their life.
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How to Relieve Constipation
While there are over the counter medications for constipation relief you can purchase, natural remedies are typically just as effective. Simple changes can help treat occasional constipation, like diet changes and drinking plenty of water. However, there are many other ways to relieve this condition which can be found around your home.
Many people think that if they are not having a certain amount of bowel movements per day they are constipated. In fact, the number of bowel movements you have varies person to person. There is no need to worry if you are having three bowel movements a week or three a day, as long as you don’t feel uncomfortable.
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Home Remedies for Constipation
To treat tough bowel movements many turn to homemade remedies for constipation as opposed to laxatives. Relief may be just around the corner in your home, so make sure to take a look before heading to the store.
For starters, be sure to add fruit and vegetables to your diet. Constipation may be a sign that you need to eat more of these foods, which are high in fiber. Fiber helps to push stool through your digestive tract.
Always try to eat whole fruits and vegetables, which have more fiber than juices. For example, prunes are a great source of fiber so be sure to keep a few handy around the kitchen. Adding beans to your diet is another great way to fight constipation, as they are packed with fiber.
Soybean oil, safflower oil, and vegetable oils also may help to lubricate your intestines, and have other health benefits. Take two to three tablespoons of either oil per day until your constipation goes away. Be sure to cut back on butter or margarine on the days you take the oil to reduce excess fat in your diet.
If taking oil straight from the bottle is not for you, try mixing it with herbs and lemon juice to make a tasty salad dressing for the same effect. The lemon juice is not only for taste but helps stimulate your digestive tract with citric acid. If you don’t have oil simply mix the juice from one lemon or one teaspoon of lemon juice into one cup of warm water and drink it. For best results, be sure to take oil on an empty or near empty stomach.
Simple life changes like exercising more have been shown to reduce constipation. When you get up to move, so do your bowels. You don’t have to run marathons but a simple walking exercise can improve your symptoms.
To start, make an effort to take a short walk each day. As you continue to exercise, deliberately increase the amount of time you spend walking until you are able to maintain a steady pace for 30 minutes.
It is also important to drink plenty of liquids throughout the day. Water aids in digestion and helps maintain a healthy intestine. Stay away from beverages high in caffeine and alcohol content which can cause dehydration.
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When Constipation Is Serious
If your problem with constipation does not go away, do not ignore it. Severe constipation symptoms such as stomach pain, bloody stools, or unexplained weight loss may suggest other, more serious complications. Make an appointment with your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms
UPMC’s Digestive Disorders Center treats many diseases in the digestive tract with some of the nation’s leaders in the field. In addition, our physicians conduct numerous clinical trials to improve patient outcomes and care.
About Digestive Disorders
The UPMC Digestive Disorders Center cares for a wide range of gastrointestinal conditions and diseases, from diagnosis to treatment. Upon referral from your physician, we coordinate your testing and treatment. If you have a complicated condition, we can refer you to one of UPMC’s digestive health centers of excellence. Most of our office visits and outpatient procedures take place at UPMC Presbyterian or UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in Oakland. We also provide inpatient care at UPMC Montefiore or UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland.