Embarrassing as it may be, we have all suffered from constipation at one time or another. According to the National Health Interview Survey, as many as 3 million Americans suffer from frequent or chronic constipation. While constipation is not recognized as a degenerative disease or serious disorder, people who are constipated often feel bloated, uncomfortable and even sluggish.
Chronic constipation is infrequent bowel movements or difficult passage of stools that persists for several weeks or longer. Though occasional constipation is very common, some people experience chronic constipation that can interfere with their ability to go about their daily tasks. Chronic constipation may also cause excessive straining to have a bowel movement and other signs and symptoms.
Why People Get Constipated
There are a number of reasons why people get constipated. These include not eating enough dietary fiber, not drinking enough liquids (water), lack of exercise, ignoring the ‘urge’ to have a bowel movement and plain old stress. Other causes include having a lazy colon that does not contract properly, causing waste materials to pass through the colon slowly; food allergies that can cause the colon to contract; or mechanical obstructions that inhibit the movement of waste materials. Many prescription drugs and certain neurological disorders can also slow down the movement of waste materials through the colon. Constipation can also be brought on by an abuse of laxatives that over time can damage the nerve cells in the colon and interfere with its ability to contract properly. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to relieve chronic constipation naturally.
Constipation Prevention and Treatment
1.Consume a high fiber diet made up of lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. If that is not possible, incorporate a dietary fiber supplement such as psyllium hulls, Natures Sunshine’s Nature’s Three or Irritable Bowel Fiber into your daily health routine. Dietary fiber holds water and helps to keep the stool soft, while added bulk helps to move the stool through the colon.
2.If other fiber supplements fail in your attempt to become regular, try taking Chitosan (a form of dietary fiber) along with vitamin C. The chitosan binds to fats from the foods we eat making the stool soft and smooth. The vitamin C helps to activate the chitosan in the stomach.
3.Drink plenty of water, especially if you are taking supplemental fiber.
4.Try eating a few dried prunes or drinking some prune juice. In addition to adding fiber, prunes have a mild laxative effect.
5.Avoid sugar and other processed foods.
6.Begin a regular exercise program to help promote normal bowel movements.
7.If you think allergies are the cause of your constipation, try an elimination diet to help you to identify what may be triggering your body and causing your colon to contract.
8.Meditate, do yoga, go for a walk. Do things that will allow you to reduce your stress levels and help your body to relax. This can help relax your colon.
Get a colonic to flush out any old fecal matter that may be trapped within the colon or try a colon cleanse.
9.Take a good probiotic such as acidopholis or bifidophilus to help promote a healthy environment within the colon.
10.Peppermint (3910-9) has a long history of helping relax the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract.
11.Supplementation with magnesium and large doses of vitamin C have a mild laxative effect on the body.
12.If all else fails, herbs such as casgara segrada, turkey rhubarb or herbal combinations such as Natures Sunshine’s LBS II and LB-X can be used to evacuate the colon. While these should be used with caution, they are less aggressive than many commercial laxatives that are available at the supermarket.