According to the American Medical Association, some 20% of all Americans suffer from some constipation. That comes down to almost 8 million doctor visits every year. It can be caused by all sorts of factors such as medication, disease, lifestyle choices, and so on. However, for most people, the cause of their constipation is unknown. That is also known as idiopathic constipation.
Having constipation is characterized by having less than three bowel movements a week. In addition to that, it can be followed by a series of unpleasant symptoms such as abdominal bloating, pain due to a dry stool that is difficult to pass, and discomfort every time you need to go to the bathroom.
Fortunately, there are natural remedies that can help treat constipation. All of which can be done at home, without any medical assistance, and are backed by science. Here are the top five natural remedies that can help you relieve constipation.
#5 Eat Probiotic Foods
Probiotic foods are one of the best natural solutions for chronic constipation. According to research conducted by the British Medical Society, people suffering from chronic constipation have an imbalance of their gut bacteria. Probiotic foods have a strong positive effect on gut bacteria, which results in improved balance, thus prevent constipation. Also, probiotic foods are known to produce short-chain fatty acids and lactic acid, which make it easier for a stool to pass.
Some of the most widely used probiotic foods are yogurt, kimchi, pickles, kombucha, Sauerkraut, tempeh, etc. Each of them contains live and very friendly bacteria that can help you tackle your constipation.
#4 Eat Prebiotic Foods
This type of food contains dietary fiber, which improves the stool’s bulk and consistency. Each of them is very significant when it comes to frequent bowel movement. They also have a profound effect on digestive health by actively feeding your gut bacteria. Prebiotic foods are bananas, onions, and garlic.
#3 Increase Your Physical Activity
Studies have shown mixed results on the effects of exercise over constipation. According to some of them, there is no direct link to whether exercising can affect the frequency of bowel movement.
However, other studies have discovered that exercising can alleviate the symptoms of constipation. There are many reports of people that noticed significant improvements after they started exercising.
#2 Stay Hydrated
There are multiple studies confirming that being dehydrated can lead to constipation. The best way to prevent that is simple – drink enough water. Also drinking water can help you find relief when constipated.
Some researchers even claim that sparkling water is more effective than regular tap water.
At the same time, that doesn’t mean that you need to turn to carbonated drinks like sugary soda as it can even make things even worse.
#1 Increase Your Fiber Intake
Both health researchers and doctors agree that more fiber in your diet can help you battle your constipation. The increased fiber can improve the consistency of the bowel movement, as well as the bulk of the stool. That way, it is much easier for the stool to pass.
According to a recent study, 77% of all people suffering from constipation reported vast improvements after supplementing their diet with fiber. However, the same studies also revealed some downsides to the fiber as well. For example, even though the increased fiber does increase the frequency of the bowel movement, it does not help with the other symptoms.
What matters most is to choose the right type of dietary fiber. Fibers are divided into two main categories: insoluble and soluble fibers. Insoluble fibers are the ones that need to be avoided as they can only worsen the problem if the patient has a bowel problem.
Soluble fibers are much more suitable for dealing with constipation. This type of fiber is found in nuts, seeds, beans, peas, lentils, barley, and bran. They are excellent water absorbers and turn into a gel type of paste that improves the consistency and softens the stool.