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Top 7 Strategies for Constipation

Constipation can be uncomfortable and frustrating to deal with. It can disrupt your daily routine and cause abdominal pain, bloating, and discomfort.  Fortunately, there are many effective ways to resolve constipation and maintain regular bowel movements.  Here are some tips to help you alleviate constipation and get back to feeling more comfortable.

BUT FIRST – What is considered constipation, exactly?

 Stay hydrated:  Drinking enough water is essential to maintain bowel regularity.  When there is insufficient water in the colon, stool becomes hard and difficult to pass.  Aim to drink at least eight to ten glasses of water per day to help keep things moving through your digestive system. 

Add more fiber to your diet:  Dietary fiber adds bulk to stool, making it softer and easier to pass.  Include fiber-rich foods in your daily diet, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.  Ensure you increase fiber intake gradually to avoid discomfort or bloating.

Exercise regularly:  Regular physical activity can help keep the digestive system healthy and promote regular bowel movements.  Even light exercise such as walking or cycling can help alleviate constipation.

Manage stress:  Stress can cause constipation by slowing down the digestive system.  Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, can help you manage your stress levels and improve your bowel movements.

Try natural remedies:  Some natural remedies can help alleviate constipation, such as prunes or prune juice, flaxseed, aloe vera, and probiotics.  Senna tea is another option however it can cause cramping but be cautious with this option.  Magnesium citrate in an initial dose of 150mg before bed can prompt a bowel movement the next day.  You may need to increase this amount to 300mg or 450mg if lower doses are not enough.  Too much magnesium citrate can cause constipation so start with low doses initially.  For guidance on choosing the best brand, product, or type of probiotic, consider scheduling an appointment:

Avoid triggering foods:  Some foods can make constipation worse, such as processed foods, high-fat foods, and dairy products.  Avoiding such food triggers could lessen the severity of constipation and ease the symptoms.

Consider medical options:  In some circumstances, medical intervention may be necessary to alleviate constipation.  Chronic constipation, particularly if associated with bloating can be a sign of Small Intestinal Methane Overgrowth.  Hypothyroidism is another condition that can be associated with chronic constipation.  Avoid over-the-counter options such as Mirilax it contains polyethylene glycol (PEG).  PEG can be a significant allergen, thereby creating inflammation.

In conclusion, constipation does not have to be a chronic condition.  With lifestyle adjustments and natural remedies, you can alleviate constipation and maintain regular bowel movements.  If you have tried many of the options listed above, consider making an appointment to go over your health history and identify the root cause. 

Bianchi, A., Bottau, P., Calamelli, E., Caimmi, S., Crisafulli, G., Franceschini, F., Liotti, L., Mori, F., Paglialunga, C., Saretta, F., Tosca, M., Cardinale, F., Licari, A., Miraglia Del Giudice, M., & Caffarelli, C. (2021). Hypersensitivity to polyethylene glycol in adults and children: An emerging challenge. Acta bio-medica : Atenei Parmensis92(S7), e2021519.

Zhang, J., Gao, N., Jiang, H., Li, H., Cui, X., Tang, S., Jin, C., Tian, J., & Li, B. (2022). Comparative study on alleviating effect of kiwi berry (Actinidia arguta) polysaccharide and polyphenol extracts on constipated mice. Food research international (Ottawa, Ont.)162(Pt A), 112037.