Constipation means different things to different people. For many people, it simply means infrequent stools. For others, however, constipation means hard stools, difficulty passing stools (straining), or a sense of incomplete emptying after a bowel movement. The cause of each of these symptoms of constipation vary, so the approach to each should tailor to each particular person.
Common Causes of Constipation
- Lack of exercise
- Low fluid intake
- Lack of exercise
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Excessive intake of calcium or iron
- Certain medications
- Weak bowel muscles
Home Remedies for Constipation
Coffee is our friend – Caffeine is a natural stimulant for the digestive system, so indulging in a cup of joe will help get you up and running in more ways than one. Coffee is a diuretic and makes you urinate more frequently, and if you drink it an excess, it can cause constipation by dehydrating your body and drawing out water that would typically soften your stool.
Change in diet – You might be eating more greasy food than usual or may have started a new weight-loss program, any change in your diet could trigger the odd bout of constipation. Certain foods can also bring this on high-fat or processed food, alcohol or even too much caffeine.
Dairy products or refined carbohydrates can be constipating for toddlers. ‘Avoid cow or buffalo milk or goat milk if any given to child or baby. If the baby is formula fed, add intermittent water sips between feeds, or replace one feed with water for a week. Stools get hard when the moisture content of feeds or stools get lesser, or the phosphate content rises,’ advises Dr. S Kondekar, the pediatrician from Mumbai.
The Right Diet – According to David Frawley, author of the book Ayurvedic Healing: A Comprehensive Guide, the right kind of diet would be one without oil, fat or sweets. You must also avoid things like cheese, bread, potatoes, and pork. And instead, you should include warm milk, ghee, licorice tea, and ginger juice. Individual Ayurvedic doctors also recommend herbs like aloe, psyllium, and rose.
Castor Oil – Being a stimulant laxative, castor oil stimulates the small and large intestines and improves the bowel movement. Only swallow one to two teaspoons of castor oil on an empty stomach. To improve the taste, you can take it with a fruit juice.
Within a few hours, you will notice a vast improvement in your condition. You must not repeat this remedy for a prolonged period as it can cause side effects.
Grapes – Grapes contain insoluble fiber that helps produce regular bowel movements.
- Eat a small bowl of grapes or half a glass of fresh grape juice daily.
- Another option is put 10 to 12 dry seedless grapes in milk, boil it for a few minutes and drink the solution in the evening. This particular remedy works great for young children who have constipation and to prevent future episodes of it.
If fresh grapes are not available, then eat raisins soaked in water for a day or two. You must eat the soaked raisins along with water on an empty stomach in the morning.
Grease it Right – It’s important to oil the tracks, and so doctors suggest you add more olive oil or ghee to your diet. Castor oil works too. It’s an excellent laxative as it increases the movement of the intestines and helps clean them out.
How to have it: Take a spoon full of oil or use a measuring cup to be sure. Have it on an empty stomach and wait for around 8 hours or so for it to work its magic.
Exercise – Even a daily 15-minute walk can help move food through your bowel more quickly. If you feel sleepy after a heavy meal, try to move around instead of lying down. Jump starting the digestive process can help you avoid that painfully full feeling that often follows a large meal.