What is it, what are the symptoms,
natural remedies…and a healing diet?
Although constipation is an unpleasant subject that is not generally a regular topic of casual conversation, it is an issue that affects everyone at some point and in some unfortunate cases, affects people on a daily basis. It can afflict the young or the old, the well nourished or the junk-food eater, the athlete or the couch potato, the educated or the uninformed. If you are human, you will most likely deal with constipation at some point in your life.
Webster’s defines constipation as the “abnormally delayed or infrequent passage of dry hardened feces.” It is also categorized as bowel movements that occur less than three times a week. Two elements are key however, and that is the frequency and consistency of the stool.
You should expect to have a bowel movement at least once a day, some individuals have three a day. You may feel something is amiss if you have bowel movements that occur every other day or only three times a week.
Consistency, however, actually affects frequency. A lack of fluid in your diet makes stools that are much harder to pass and slows your ‘transit time’ (how long it takes for you to have a bowel movement) the one plays upon the other. Even if your bowel movements are regular but are lacking in moisture, that may still be considered constipation, particularly if they do not occur daily.
Many symptoms accompany your constipation:
- You may experience abdominal discomfort and cramping
- You may have an urge to evacuate but upon visiting the bathroom are unable to do so.
- You may notice uncomfortable pressure anywhere along the route of your large intestine, from your ribcage down past your naval and hipbone to your rectal area.
- If you have hemorrhoids, you may notice discomfort or pressure there.
- You may experience headaches when you are irregular.
- You may feel weak, with no energy or lacking your usual enthusiasm for daily tasks.
Everyone’s system is unique and reacts to irregularity differently.
Authorities on digestive health such as I, Dr. Robert, believe that normal healthy bowel movements should be firm and moist, but not runny or too loose that they don’t hold their shape. We maintain that your bowel movement should take place at least once a day to keep toxins in the intestines from passing back through the intestinal wall and being reabsorbed. If you are straining at your stool it also may be considered a constipation symptom.
Constipation natural remedies and treatments
Any effort that effectively combats the two major elements of constipation, fluid level and frequency can be considered a treatment or remedy. There are many over-the-counter medicines you can use that promise relief from constipation and some of them work quite well.
However there is a danger from regular use of over-the-counter medicines because your body can become dependent upon them, returning to a constipated state when you discontinue their use. You will have achieved temporary relief but will soon find yourself back in the same dilemma of irregularity.
There are natural constipation remedies and treatments that you can use for occasional constipation or irregularity that are much easier on your system and carry none of the side effects of over-the-counter medications.
The following are general recommendations which may provide relief. It is always recommended to consult with an expert to address your individual causes.
Prune Juice-The one of the oldest and most well known constipation aid. In many cases a good-sized glass of prune juice (with pulp) before bedtime will often bring results by morning. Prune juice often provides enough stimulation to produce a sufficient bowel movement, providing you with a natural remedy.
Herbs-Herbs such as senna and many others have been used for constipation remedies throughout history. In the case of senna, although it is a natural herb, care must be taken in its use, as it is also habit-forming and your body can become dependent on it for regularity. One-time use for an occasional problem will not cause dependence, but use over time certainly could.
If you use herbs to relive constipation, please proceed with caution and under the care of a doctor trained in herbal use.
The most effective remedy to combat constipation, particularly chronic constipation, is a healthy diet. This is best achieved by eating a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables with a minimum of refined foods like white flour, white sugar, pre-packaged or pre-made selections.
Listed are some excellent foods for a healthy and healing
- Salads are excellent for your diet
- Light steaming or stir-frying your vegetables is beneficial and easier for some people to eat in large quantities
- Carrots are fabulous to ‘tone’ your colon
- An Apple-A-Day actually can keep your stomach doctor away!
- Adequate water intake is critical and your daily requirement is based on your weight, but you can just rely on the “eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day” rule.
Hopefully some of the tips above will provide you with some relief when it comes to your constipation issues. Remember, what works for one person may not work for you.
If you’re looking to read further about my digestive problem services
click here or feel free to contact me for a no charge consultation at 201.618.3534.
Robert Galarowicz, ND
Naturopathic Doctor, Clinical Nutritionist
AIM Center - Alternative Integrative Medical Center
1 Sears Dr. Fl#3
Paramus, New Jersey 07652
The AIM Center office is located in bergen county, nj within driving distance of dumont, n.j. oradell, n.j. river edge, n.j. emerson, n.j. teaneck, nj, saddlebrook, n.j. bogota, n.j. demarest, n.j., n.j. fairview, n.j., nyc-manhatten, brooklyn, queens, ny, hoboken, n.j. forest hills, n.y. key gardens, n.y. rego park, n.y. new milford, nj, richmond hill, n.y. ozone park, n.y. thronwood, n.y. fresh meadows, n.y. bayside, n.y. jamaica, n.y. south richmond hill, n.y. hollis, n.j. howard beach, n.y. south ozone park, n.y. glen oaks, n.y. bellerose, n.y. new hyde park, n.y. rockaway, n.y. saint albans, n.y. glen cove, n.y. haworth, n.j. roslyn, ny. cambria heights, n.y. new hyde park, n.y. greenvale, n.y. roslyn heights, n.y. and albertson, n.y.