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Constipation Remedies

Constipation remedies should address the cause not the symptom. The root of constipation typically begins with diet: too many sugary or fried foods, too much meat, caffeine or alcohol and too little fiber.  We also do not drink enough water or have enough exercise.  These constipation remedies, many of which are critical to daily regularity involve lifestyle changes. That is not always easy for people. However, breaking the challenge into smaller steps usually helps. And there are a number of supplements or aids that can assist during the transition period.

Diet Changes
In her book Healthy Healing, A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone Dr., Linda Page notes:

“The rewards of a regular, energetic life are worth it. A high fiber, low fat diet, with lots of fresh foods helps cure and prevent colon problems, including constipation. Even a gentle, gradual change from low fiber foods helps almost immediately.  In fact, some experts believe that a gradual change is preferred to a drastic change.  Progress can be felt fairly quickly but if constipation is a chronic problem, it may take three to six months to rebuild tissue elasticity with good systol/disastol action.”

Step one of Dr. Page’s constipation remedies plan involves high fiber from fresh vegetables and fruits, cultured foods to encourage enzyme production and high ph (alkalizing foods) to prevent irritation.    She suggests 6- 8 glasses of healthy liquids daily, avoiding milk and other dairy beverages.

Supplements and Medications
Be judicious with antacids that contain aluminum or products that kill friendly bacteria. Friendly bacterial is needed to break down foods for absorption. Whatever does not get absorbed ends up in the colon.  Poorly absorbed calcium supplements can also clog up the colon. Use ones shown to be better absorbed, such as AdvaCAL from LaneLabs. Some medication (such as antidepressants) can discourage regularity. Check with your doctor before making any changes.

Lifestyle
Start with a 30 minute walk daily. Increase your duration or frequency over time, based on how you feel and guidance from a health professional. Yoga or weight bearing exercises can help, and improve your bone health as well.

The Mayo Clinic lists a number of “alternative” constipation remedies for children, which can be applied to adults.

•    Relaxation strategies. Slow, deep breaths may help your child release his or her pelvic floor muscles and overcome anxiety related to bowel movements.
•    Mental imagery. Thinking about a favorite place or imagining an easy, comfortable bowel movement may reduce anxiety about having a bowel movement.
•    Massage. Gently massaging your child's abdomen may relax the muscles that support the bladder and intestines, helping to promote bowel activity.
•    Acupuncture. This traditional Chinese medicine involves the insertion and manipulation of fine needles into various parts of the body. The therapy may help promote more frequent bowel movements.

Good Bowel Habits
Most health experts recommend never holding or delaying a bowel movement. Consider setting aside a certain time of day for elimination, to establish a routine.  To help establish a pattern, supplements such as H2Go can work with your system, without creating high level dependency risk that many laxatives have.

Ultimately, a good diet, active lifestyle and well-chosen supplements/medications can be the best of all constipation remedies.