Defining constipation

It’s not a popular topic of conversation, but being constipated can be uncomfortable and even painful. If you have fewer than three bowel movements in a week, then you’re considered to have constipation. If you’re used to having at least one bowel movement per day, missing just one can 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 may 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 it easier to have a bowel movement.

But there are also solutions in your kitchen or medicine cabinet. Some of these homemade laxative recipes use similar methods, including increasing your fiber intake with fiber-rich foods, and lubricating your digestive system with oil. On the plus side, home remedies can be gentler on your digestive tract 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. 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 it’s best to take it when you have some time to spend at home. Pregnant women shouldn’t take castor oil.

To mask the taste, keep your castor oil in the refrigerator and add your dose 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.

Mix things up by adding other high-fiber dried fruits such as apricots and raisins. Dried figs are another great option. Eat them 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.

Getting plenty of exercise, having a few cups of coffee, and limiting the amount of dairy in your daily diet are just a few things you can try 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.