Ask yourself – when was the last time you went to the bathroom? If you’re suffering from constipation, you probably paused to think a while before answering.
A 2011 survey by United BioSource Corporation estimated that about 30.8 % of American men and women experience chronic constipation. Be it an unhealthy diet or lack of exercise, constipation can be caused by a number of factors. Most of these however, are are easy to tackle by oneself.
Sometimes though, constipation can be severe and a doctor’s opinion is well advisable. In those cases, treatments such as regular enemas and other laxatives may be prescribed. But before you head to the doctor, or self-prescribe any medicines, try these simple tips to get your bowels moving.
Water Is Your Best Friend
Drink six to eight glasses of water daily to soften your stool.
Hard stool can be extremely harmful for your rectum walls, often tearing or damaging it beyond repair. The best and easiest solution for constipation is to drink six to eight glasses of water on a daily basis. Keep an empty 64-ounce bottle by your side, and remind yourself to keep drinking. After a while, you won’t look at it as a compulsion anymore.
If your bathroom time is set in the morning, two glasses of warm water as soon as you wake up can get the bowels moving too.
Tickle your sweet tooth
Prunes or prune juice is the oldest remedy in the book.
While you may have heard of the classic cure, it’s important to understand why these tiny, sweet fruits are so useful. Prunes act as a natural laxative, owing to its high content of fiber and sorbitol. Both these nutrients add bulk to your stool, making it easier to go.
Apples and plums are good alternatives too owing to their high fiber content, especially in their skins. So the next time you think if peeling the skins, remember its perks!
Have people advised you that coffee is not good for your health? Maybe, maybe not.
While most people need a cuppa in the morning simply to wake them up, caffeine has proved to be a natural stimulant for the digestive system. However, like everything else, coffee too is good only in small proportions. A cup or two a day could wake your bowels, but more than that, could have the opposite effect.
A diuretic, coffee tends to make you urinate frequently, which could dehydrate your body and cause constipation. So watch your mug and don’t go overboard!
Exercise is found to be directly proportional to your bowel movements.
Have you ever felt like using the washroom after a nice, long walk or run? Or were you stuck at the office, sitting at a desk the entire day?
Any kind of physical activity be it running, walking or swimming, stimulates the body’s bowel function. It decreases the time taken for food to move through your intestines, allowing the stools to remain moist. Though there’s isn’t a given scientific explanation, a healthy routine of thirty minutes of exercise (at least) three times a week is said to be enough to prevent constipation. Don’t be too ambitious however and exercise immediately after dinner, that could cause cramps!
Squat. Don’t strain.
Last but definitely not the least, squatting is the way to go!
With constipation comes the desperate attempt to force stool out of your body. While this might (more likely not) do the job, forcing causes more harm than good. It increases the risk of rupturing rectal tissue, also known as prolapse of the rectum. There is however, a healthier and easier way out.
If you can’t go even after 15 minutes of trying, prop your feet on a kitchen stool/toilet seat and bend your knees without sitting down completely. This creates a natural pressure on your lower abdomen, which helps the stool to move along easily.
If this doesn’t work either, make sure you see a doctor without delay!