Constipation means that a person has three or fewer bowel movements in a week. The stool can be hard and dry. Sometimes it is painful to pass. Severe constipation includes obstipation or failure to pass stools or gas and faecal impaction. Constipation is common; in the general population incidence of constipation varies from 2 to 30%.
- The best way to regularise the nature’s call is by increasing your fibre intake – Consume about 25 to 30 gms of fibre a day. Fibre absorbs water & makes stool softer & bulkier, helping speed up digestion and excretion.
- Have a lot of dried beans, prunes, nuts, pears, figs and oats. All of these are considered to be good sources of soluble fibre.
- Flaxseed are rich in fibre content. In addition to this it also contains omega-3 fatty acids beneficial for heart & circulatory system. Have a tablespoon of ground seeds, 2-3 times a day to aid digestion.
- Psyllium seed husk, also known as isabgol, works wonders for constipation. They are soluble in water, expanding and becoming mucilaginous when wet. Ayurveda recommends its use for colon cleansing. Psyllium seed husks are indigestible in human beings and are often used as a source of dietary fibre. Mix 1-2 spoons in a cup of hot water. Let it infuse for two hours; add lemon & honey for taste, and have it.
- If you increase the intake of fibre, make sure you drink lots of water as fibre is extremely absorbent. If you don’t drink enough water, it will only aggravate the problem of constipation as the stool may become small, hard & painful.
- Caffeine in coffee has a bowel-loosening effect. It induces a bowel movement by stimulating the colon.
- If you are regularly constipate, cultivate a habit of having hot drink first thing in the morning. Herbal tea, a cup of hot water with lemon juice or honey may stimulate the colon as well. Lemon juice is a natural laxative and may ease constipation to a great extent.
- Add morning walk or exercise to your daily activities. With exercise, you also help the process of digestion and help to move food through bowel.
- Use acupressure to solve your bowel problem. Apply pressure with your thumb and forefinger to the fleshy web between the thumb and forefinger of the other hand. Try this for two minutes daily.
- Intake of wrinkled fruits is very good for digestion. Prune is one of the oldest home remedies for constipation. It helps to stimulate intestinal contractions to open up the bowels.
- Never ignore nature’s call or it will only aggravate the problem of constipation.
- Keep an eye on what you eat as there are some foods that may have constipating effect on some people. For instance, dairy products can cause havoc with people who cannot digest the sugar lactose.
- Never try to force a bowel movement as it may result in formation of piles or anal fissures.
Constipation usually does not create serious problems. However, it can sometimes signal a serious underlying condition such as presence of colorectal cancer or a bowel obstruction. If constipation lasts for more than two weeks, you must see a doctor. You may have to undergo medication in case you pass blood in your stool, constipation is accompanied by fever, severe abdominal pain and or weight loss.