Constipation is a digestive condition, which refers to the infrequent, difficult, and sometimes painful passing of stool. Bloating is one of the most common symptoms of constipation, aside from hard or lumpy stools and infrequent bowel movement.
When you are constipated, the longer the stool remains in the colon, the gassier you will get; the more you will feel bloated. Let us find out how to relieve constipation and bloating naturally as well as treatments to help ease these digestive problems.
What is Constipation?
Constipation happens when the passage of stool from the colon to the rectum becomes unusually slow. When the stool stays in the colon for too long, the body will begin to absorb the water in the stool, making it hard and dry. Once the stool is dry, hard, and lumpy, it will be difficult and sometimes painful to expel from the rectum.
What are the symptoms of constipation?
The common symptoms of constipation include:
- Fewer bowel movements, usually less than 3 times per week.
- Hard, dry, and lumpy stool that is difficult, uncomfortable, and at times, painful to pass.
- The sensation of something’s blocking your stool from passing.
- Abdominal bloating
- The feeling of not completely emptying your bowels.
- The need to exert more effort in releasing the stool.
What causes constipation?
In order to know how to relieve constipation and bloating naturally, it is necessary to first learn about the causes of constipation. If you suffer from constipation, these factors might be causing your awful bowel problems:
- Lack of fiber in the diet
- Insufficient water intake (dehydration)
- Lack of exercise or physical activity
- Frequently ignoring or delaying the urge to have a bowel movement
- Changes in mealtime and bedtime habits
- Being fully dependent on laxatives and other constipation medications
- Some medications such as certain antidepressants, narcotics, antacids, blood pressure medications, and iron supplements.
- Other underlying illnesses such as diabetes and hypothyroidism, irritable bowel syndrome, colorectal cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
- Hormonal changes that include aging, postmenopausal, pregnant, and postpartum women.
How to treat constipation?
Constipation can be treated in various ways. Aside from taking constipation medicines, you can address your bowel problems in the comfort of your own home. These home remedies are some of the best ways on how to relieve constipation and bloating naturally. Treatments include:
Increase fiber-rich food consumption
There are two types of dietary fiber:
- Insoluble fiber – This type of dietary fiber is the best in treating constipation as it helps maintain regular bowel movement. It also helps resolve other bowel-related difficulties like hemorrhoids, and fecal incontinence. It is worth noting, however, that if you already have diarrhea, consuming too much insoluble fiber can actually make it worse. Foods that are rich in insoluble fiber include, whole grains, root vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds
- Soluble fiber – When you have constipation, soluble fiber can help improve the form of your stool, making it easier to pass. Soluble fiber-rich foods include oats, citrus fruits, berries, apples, and bananas.
The recommended fiber intake for children and adults is at least 20 to 30 grams a day. However, keep in mind to slowly increase your fiber intake to avoid feeling bloated and gassy.
One of the major causes of why people experience constipation is that they are regularly dehydrated. The most used remedy on how to relieve constipation and bloating naturally is staying hydrated either by drinking more water or eating water-rich foods.
In order to stay hydrated, it is advisable to drink at least 2 liters up to 4 liters of water a day depending, on how active you are. If you are not a fan of water, you can try and infuse fruits and vegetables in it to make its taste more palatable. You can also eat water-rich foods such as watermelon, cucumber, tomatoes, oranges, and pineapples.
Staying hydrated helps ease constipation by preventing the colon from absorbing all the water in your stool. Keeping your body well hydrated does not only help in softening your stool but also reduces bloating.
Doing physical activities either by exercising or just by moving a lot will help improve constipation. Exercising helps stimulate the digestive system making the transit of food in the digestive tract smoother and faster. Being physically active improves the muscle contractions in the colon that makes the expulsion of stool easier and more comfortable. Working out for about 30 minutes in most days of the week can help improve your bowel health and your overall health as well.
Don’t ignore or delay your bowel movement
If you feel the urge to poop, do it. Consistently putting-off a visit to the restroom to defecate will most likely harden your stool and can cause build-up. If this happens, you might also suffer from fecal impaction and hemorrhoids, aside from constipation. Releasing your stool as soon as you feel the urge to go, not only prevents you from having constipation, but it also reduces your risks from acquiring other digestive or bowel problems.
Strictly follow a routine
Having a concrete schedule for mealtime and bedtime is also one of the most important ways on how to relieve constipation and bloating naturally. If you consistently and strictly follow your routine, your body will get used to the process, which helps ease constipation and prevent it from coming back.
If your constipation problems can’t be solved by the remedies mentioned above, then these other treatments might help you out:
- Use laxatives such as stool softeners, fiber supplements, lubricants, stimulants, or osmotics.
- Ask your doctor for prescriptions for constipation. The commonly prescribed medications for constipation are Lubiprostone, Linaclotide, Plecanatide, and Prucalopride.
- For more serious bowel issues, your doctor might recommend you take biofeedback therapy or you might also be advised to undergo surgery.
Constipation can go away on its own after a few days if you address it immediately. Treating your constipation at home as soon as it starts can ease it and prevent it from worsening. However, if treating your constipation at home does not make things better, it is always best to consult your doctor. Although there are a lot of ways on how to relieve constipation and bloating naturally, never self medicate and always ask a professional for any medical advice or concerns.
Learn more about Digestive Health and Constipation, here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.