Natural Home Remedies For Constipation
It might be a fun topic for stand-up comedians, but it is one of the most troublesome issues to solve for those facing this trouble. Constipation can be annoying and sometimes painful. In addition, it is often accompanied by gas and abdominal pain.
Constipation is a common condition affecting all age groups. Simple lifestyle modifications can help relieve the symptoms of constipation. Home remedies have been used for ages to relieve and manage constipation. However, in some cases, constipation can be a sign of a severe underlying condition. It is normal to feel embarrassed to talk about constipation. Therefore, you must go to see a doctor if your constipation is bad or the symptoms don’t improve.
if you wish to know more about constipation symptoms, remedies and associated lifestyle changes, continue reading!
What Causes Constipation:
You feel constipated when your stool is hard, dry and difficult to pass. A few common causes of constipation are:
- Insufficient water intake
- Insufficient fibre in the diet
- Lack of physical activity
- Undue stress
- A sudden change in the surrounding environment
- Neglecting the urge to pass stools2
Other causes of constipation are
- Certain medicines such as iron tablets and painkillers
- Excessive use of laxatives
- Health conditions like Parkinson’s, depression, multiple sclerosis (MS), and thyroid disorder.
- Digestive disorders include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulitis (colon disease), and coeliac disease.2
Toddlers can get constipated when they are starting with solid foods. Older children can become constipated when they hold in bowel movements.2
Symptoms of Constipation:
If you experience the following signs, you may be suffering from constipation.
- Painful bowel movement
- Sitting on the toilet for longer than usual
- The feeling afterwards that bowel has not been fully emptied
- Dry and hard stools
- Abdominal cramps
- Straining for bowel movement
- Passing bowels less often3
Home Remedies for Constipation:
Guava fruit, also known as Amrood in Hindi, is commonly used in many Indian households. Guava fruit is effective in many health conditions. It may be used as a good source of many nutrients. It may act as a laxative (help facilitate bowel movement). You can consume fresh guava to ease constipation.4
Consuming dates might help you strengthen the digestive system and relieve constipation. In the morning, you can take five to six fresh dates with ghee and black pepper powder. It should be followed by a glass of lukewarm water. This practice may help you relieve constipation.4
3. Black gram
Consuming black grams may help people with irregular bowel habits, facilitate bowel movements and help irregular bowel movements. Fry some black gram seeds and grind them into a fine powder. You can take this powder with buttermilk to relieve constipation.4
4. Betel leaf
Betel leaves may help aid digestion, and facilitate the secretion of digestive juices, bloating and gas. Betel leaf may also help relieve constipation. Chewing on some fresh betel leaves after every meal may help in digestion and relieve constipation.4
5. Bay leaves
Indian cinnamon or tej patra is a common kitchen herb used in Indian households. Adding tej patra to your foods and dishes may help relieve indigestion and constipation. You can take tej patra in the form of tea. To make tej patra tea, you can boil some leaves in water for a few minutes.4 Strain the mixture in a cup, and your tea is ready to drink.
6. Bottle gourd
The leaves of bottle gourd or dudhi might show laxative properties. You can use fresh leaves of a bottle gourd to help relieve constipation. Prepare chutney using the fresh leaves. This chutney can be taken along with food.4
Castor is a common medicinal plant used for a variety of conditions. It might help relieve constipation. The roots of castor can be used along with milk. Take some dried castor root and grind it into a fine powder. Mix this powder with a glass of milk. Boil this mixture and reduce it to half of its initial volume. Drink this mixture to relieve constipation.4
You can make these lifestyle changes to relieve constipation.
8. Increase fibre in the diet
Following a diet rich in fibre may help relieve and prevent constipation. You can talk to your dietician or healthcare provider and plan a diet including a variety of fibre-rich meals. Also, you need to gradually add a little fibre to your diet to ensure your body gets used to digesting it. Some familiar sources of fibre include
- Legumes like lentils, chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans and soybeans
- Whole grain foods like whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal and bran flake cereals
- Vegetables like broccoli, carrots, collard greens and green peas
- Almonds, peanuts and pecans
- Fruits like apples, berries, oranges and pears.5
9. Drink more water
You should drink more water to facilitate bowel movements and prevent dry stools. Apart from water, you can drink fruit and vegetable juices and clear soups. Drinking enough water and other beverages will help you avoid dehydration and relieve constipation.5
10. Exercise daily
Regular exercise is good for bowel mobility. You need to exercise every day for at least 30 minutes. If you have irregular bowel mobility, you must be as active as possible without overdoing it. Exercising regularly may be an excellent way to manage your symptoms and also prevent constipation.3
11. Foods to avoid
Fibre intake is important to relieve constipation. If you wish to relieve or avoid constipation, you must avoid the foods which have low or zero fibre content.5
- Fast food
- Frozen meals
- Processed and microwavable foods
Though studies show the benefits of the given herbs and home remedies in constipation, these are insufficient. Therefore, there is a need for large-scale human studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of these home remedies on human health. Thus, these should only be taken cautiously and never as a substitute for medical treatment.
When to Seek Medical Help:
You must call your healthcare provider and seek medical help if you
- Feel bloated
- Experience pain in your stomach
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood in stool
- Did not pass a bowel movement in three days1
You must not rely on home remedies alone for the treatment of constipation. You should consult a qualified doctor for any advice for the condition if the symptoms do not improve with home remedies.
Constipation is a common but painful condition that may interfere with your daily activities. Home remedies and lifestyle changes can help manage and relieve your symptoms. Common kitchen ingredients like black gram, bay leaf, castor, guava and dates may be used as natural remedies for constipation. Increasing water and fibre intake in diet coupled with regular exercise are other effective ways to manage constipation. However, if your symptoms don’t improve and you are unable to pass a bowel movement for a continuous three days, reach out to your healthcare provider. Constipation can also signify severe underlying health issues requiring medical attention, which is why it is crucial to seek professional opinion instead of self-medicating and relying on home remedies.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the home remedies for constipation?
There are many herbs and ingredients that may be used as a constipation cure at home. For example, you may use ingredients like betel leaves, bay leaves, dates, black grams and castor at home to relieve constipation and facilitate bowel movement.4 These ingredients can be a part of your daily diet through foods and recipes. However, you must not rely only on home remedies to cure your symptoms. Make sure to consult a doctor if the symptoms don’t improve.
Can constipation lead to other complications?
Constipation left untreated for an extended period might increase the risk of developing anal fissures (a tear in the anus that may cause pain and bleeding) and haemorrhoids (piles).2
Do I need to contact a doctor for constipation?
In most cases, constipation symptoms improve with home remedies and lifestyle changes. However, constipation could also be a sign of an underlying health condition. If you experience symptoms like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, gas, blood in stools, and lack of bowel movement for three days, you need to consult your healthcare provider and get treated.1,2
Can drinking water relieve constipation?
Drinking more water may help you facilitate bowel movements and make the stool easier to pass. This may help relieve constipation. Drinking water may be an effective way to manage your symptoms and avoid dehydration.5 However, if your symptoms do not improve and you experience constipation for three days straight, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider.
1. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Constipation – self-care [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jul 18]. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000120.htm
2. Healthdirect. Constipation: symptoms and treatment [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jul 18]. Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/constipation#causes
3. Better Health Channel. Constipation [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jul 18]. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/constipation
4. Ayush Division. Ayurveda offering Herbal healing. Available from: https://www.esic.nic.in/attachments/publicationfile/7d11b02e5abb4717d53b4ce05efabd21.pdf
5. Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Constipation | NIDDK [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jul 19]. Available from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/constipation/eating-diet-nutrition