Constipation is a common condition in which there is
- Infrequent bowel movements
- Hard stool that is difficult to pass
- Sense of incomplete evacuation
Bowel movements that are reduced to 3 or less per week are considered as chronic constipation. A Gut survey estimated 22% of Indians suffer from constipation with approximately 13% complaining severe constipation.
Constipation prevalence in the Indian population (Metro vs non-metro cities)
Causes of Constipation
The slow transit of the stool and absorption of too much water in the colon causes constipation. It can occur due to multiple causes which include
- Age (older more prone to constipation)
- Diet and Lifestyle (Key factors)
- Irregular eating habits and Low fiber diet
- Low fluid intake, dehydration
- Immobility, lack of exercise, changing routines and sedentary lifestyle
- Voluntary withholding of stool ( pain apprehension, traveling, laziness)
- Stress, hormonal, psychological, neurological, metabolic disorders, certain drugs, cancer, and pregnancy
The condition is very rarely reported due to shyness or social taboo
Instant Home remedies for constipation
Diet and Lifestyle modifications may help in relieving symptoms of constipation.
- Stick to the schedule of going to the bathroom at the same time every day
- Add fiber to the diet: Fiber absorbs water and swells, thereby adding bulk to the stool. Total dietary fiber intake should be 25 to 30 grams a day from food
- Have a bowl of 1 or 2 fiber-rich fresh fruits every day. Fruits are extremely rich in water content, vitamins, minerals and digestive enzymes that may help in relieving and preventing constipation
- Vegetables are rich in fiber such as Spinach, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, sweet potatoes, provides essential nutrients and can be consumed as cooked form, in stews or soups, boiled, roasted and salads
- Consume whole grain as oat bran, barley, wheat bran, jowar roti, bajra chapattis, buckwheat dosa, etc. with beans and lentils
- Have nuts (raisins, apricots, and prunes) and seeds (Chia seeds, flaxseeds) every day to keep constipation at bay.
- Add probiotics to the diet
- Drink plenty of water (at least 8 glasses of water per day) to improve the transit of the stool
- Regular exercise aids in the movement of the stool through the colon
- Raising feet or squatting may make a bowel movement easier
- Never hold stools if there is an urge
- Take fiber supplement (Bulking agent): psyllium (Non-fermentable soluble fiber), Guar gum and acacia fiber
- Natural Ingredients may help to relieve constipation such as
- Aloe Vera gel or juice
- Senna tea
- 1 tsp of Castor oil with warm milk or fruit juice
- Mint or Ginger Tea
- Fennel powder with warm water
- Fenugreek (cooked leaves and powdered seeds)
- Lemon juice with warm water
- Figs: 5 to 8 figs soaked in water overnight or boiled in a glass of cow’s milk
- 1-2 tbsp. of Blackstrap molasses with warm water
- Gulkand (Rose Petal Jam)
- Sesame seeds: Add to Cereals or salads
- Triphala tea
- Bael or wood apple fruit pulp or juice
*Note: Drink plenty of fluids when increasing fiber intake as it absorbs water.
Drink warm water and consume a fiber-rich diet.
Prunes, figs, papaya, apple, pears, citrus fruits, spinach, and fenugreek.
Yes, it may help in constipation relief.
There is no research supporting its role in constipation.