It’s not a popular topic of conversation, but being constipated can be uncomfortable and even painful. If you have less than three bowel movements in a week, you are suffering from constipation. And if you’re used to at least one bowel movement per day, missing just one could make you extremely uncomfortable.
Occasional constipation is relatively common and can be brought on by medications, dietary changes, or even stress. Constipation is chronic when it continues for weeks or even longer. In either case, home remedies can be effective.
There are many solutions for constipation, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs. They act as stimulants, lubricants, and softeners, all in an attempt to make having a bowel movement easier.
But there are also solutions in your kitchen or medicine cabinet. Some of these homemade laxative recipes use similar methods, including increasing fiber with food and lubricating the digestive system with oil. The difference: Home remedies can be gentler and easier on your budget.
The simplest dietary solution for constipation is to increase your fiber intake. Eating a fiber-rich breakfast can regulate your bowel movements within days. However, be sure to increase your water intake as you increase your fiber intake, or you could worsen the problem. Fiber needs water to help it move through the digestive tract.
Try a combination of oatmeal and flax meal. Flax meal is ground flax seeds, which are extremely rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. You can further increase the fiber factor by stirring in some raisins, as dried fruit is very high in fiber too.
Castor oil tastes pretty horrible, but the results are fast. You can expect relief from constipation within two to six hours of taking it, so best to take it when you have some time to spend at home.
Lessen the gross out factor by keeping your castor oil in the refrigerator and adding it to a glass of orange juice.
Everyone knows prunes are good for digestive health, but eating several prunes can feel a lot like taking medicine. Consider adding pureed or baby prunes to various dishes such as oatmeal or those that contain chocolate, for a much tastier remedy.
Mix things up by adding other high-fiber dried fruits like apricots and raisins. Dried figs are another great option. Have as a snack or with your breakfast.
Okay, it’s not really a recipe, but there’s nothing that can get things moving like simple hydration. Constipation largely happens because the colon has absorbed too much fluid from the waste in your intestines, leaving dry and hard stool behind. Staying hydrated can both prevent constipation and get things moving again.
Get plenty of exercise, have a few cups of coffee, and limit the amount of dairy in your daily diet to help ease yourself back into regularity. Getting out and moving can help your body move things through your digestive tract. If constipation continues to be an issue, talk to your doctor. Occasionally, it can be a sign of something more serious.