Natural Solutions for Constipation
Constipation is at best annoying and at worst a painful and debilitating problem. It has a number of causes and providing there is no underlying medical problem, can usually be relieved by improving your diet.
Your diet has a tremendous impact on the health of your bowels and by making a few simple changes constipation can be a thing of the past. Constipation is classed as hard stools, difficulty with defecation and irregular defecation.
There are some diseases that can cause constipation though, so if you are suffering from any of the additional symptoms below, I thoroughly recommend getting yourself checked out at your doctors:
• Blood in the stool
• Stomach pain
• Pain when defecating
Using laxatives or enemas regularly can interfere with the natural defecation reflexes and are not recommended for long term use. They can also result in additional fluid loss and enemas can damage the intestinal lining and aggravate haemorrhoids. A diet that does not contain enough fibre or water leads to constipation. Fibre increases the bulk of the stool but also makes it softer and more comfortable to pass. The urge to defecate is increased with a bigger stool and this reduces the amount of pressure needed to pass the stool. This decreases the risk of haemorrhoids.
There are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre is the fleshy parts of fruit and vegetables such as the flesh of a peach or the soft part of broccoli. Insoluble fibre is found in the skin of fruits and vegetables and in the woody parts of plants and grains.
As well as improving digestive health, a diet high in fibre also has the following benefits:
• Helps to control weight by making you feel fuller for longer
• Can reduce cholesterol levels in those with high cholesterol
• Can help control diabetes
• Reduced risk of some cancers and gallstones
It is important to increase the levels of fibre in the diet gradually as a sudden increase can cause stomach pain, diarrhoea and excess gas. Fibre should be increased over a period of 2 - 3 weeks to prevent this. Fibre isn’t the only chapter in this story. A high fibre diet can actually cause constipation if you don’t drink enough fluid. The bulkier stools absorb water to keep soft and if there is not enough fluid in the diet, the stools will become hard and difficult to pass. We need to be consuming 2 - 3 litres of fluid a day to prevent this.
Water is the best source of hydration as it provides exactly what the body needs without extra calories. Taking regular exercise also helps relieve constipation as does heeding the urge to defecate. Repeated denial of this urge causes constipation. Linseeds are a gentle natural laxative and normal service can be resumed by taking a heaped tablespoon a day along with a glass of water.
This natural approach should benefit your health in other ways too as linseeds are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, can ease menopausal symptoms and PMS.
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