Chronic constipation is a miserable feeling; it causes bloating, pain from straining to pass hard stools and an overall feeling of unease. There are many treatment options that can be successfully employed from home; however, some chronic constipation requires the intervention of a doctor to get complete relief. The following information should help provide the relief needed and help determine when a doctor should be contacted.
The first thing that should be understood is how laxatives affect the colon. Laxatives are an excellent aid for the occasional bout with constipation; however, long term use can cause the colon to become dependent on them and thus cause constipation to worsen when they are not used.
This does not mean that laxatives cannot be successfully used. There are times when the body has episodes of constipation that are short term and can be treated successfully using over the counter laxatives. However, there are alternatives to harsh chemical laxatives that can be used to keep bowel movements regular. An overview of these options follows.
Home Remedies for Constipation
Home remedies for constipation are typically diet based. These remedies add foods to the diet that help to keep the bowels moving regularly. Some of the foods that are suggested include:
- Grain products: A minimum of six ounces of grain products should be included in the diet on a daily basis. This includes products such as whole grain bread, cereal, barley flour and grits.
- Starchy fruits and vegetables: Starchy fruits and vegetables contain fiber that naturally fights constipation. Some of the best vegetables for fighting constipation include broccoli, cauliflower, apples, prunes, berries, tomatoes, oranges, corn, peas and more. In fact, practically all vegetables and fruits will aid in preventing constipation and when constipated, adding prunes to the diet can help remedy the situation.
- Dried beans: Legumes and dried beans such as pinto beans, navy beans and lima beans are full of fiber and protein. The fiber makes them an ideal constipation combatant while the protein makes the nutritious.
These daily dietary additions will not only help prevent and treat constipation, they are also healthy additions that will keep the body functioning properly.
Other Home Treatments
There are many other home treatments that have proven successful in treating constipation and in some cases preventing it from occurring. Some of these include the following:
- Coffee: It has been found that a cup of hot coffee can stimulate the digestive tract and promote bowel a movement. Many people have trained their bowels to move after having their morning coffee.
- Mineral and olive oil: Adding olive oil to salads or having a spoon of mineral oil daily can provide lubrication to the gastrointestinal tract that will help make bowel movements more regular.
- Exercise: Exercise has been proven to help stimulate bowel movements and keep the body regular.
Treatment for Chronic Constipation
When constipation goes beyond one or two days and the normal home remedies and preventatives are not working, there are some other home treatment options that can be tried before seeking medical treatment.
Juices are a natural home remedy that can often break through even the toughest bout of constipation. Prune juice, tomato juice and even sauerkraut juice have been used to effectively cure constipation. Aloe Vera juice is another frequently used home remedy for chronic constipation. Once the chronic bout is cured, the juice can be continued daily as a preventative.
Psyllium husk and wheat germ are fibers that are found in many over the counter constipation medications. This is usually either mixed into a juice or water and drank or sprinkled over food. The fiber helps to push food through the digestive system and relieve constipation.
Honey is another home remedy that has shown great success in treating constipation. It can be used in foods or as a sweetener in hot tea or simply taken by the spoonful when constipation attacks.
If home remedies do not work to break up chronic constipation, medical intervention may be necessary. This intervention can help determine what the cause of the constipation is and provide any medication indicated by the cause.
Impactions are often the cause of chronic constipation. This condition can be relieved by either manual manipulation or through the use of a colon cleanser such as an enema.
If pain medication is used on a daily basis, it could be the cause of the chronic constipation and may need to be adjusted in order to stop the constipation episodes from occurring.
There are other medical conditions that can cause chronic constipation and the doctor will be able to identify these and ultimately treat the condition in order to treat the constipation.
Treatment for constipation and chronic constipation varies depending on the cause; however, there are many home treatments, as has been shown herein. The best treatment option is prevention and following a healthy diet is the first step in preventing chronic constipation.