Constipation is uncomfortable and can make life miserable. When you’re feeling weighed down and bloated, you want fast relief. Fortunately, you may be able to use natural remedies to relieve your constipation.
What Is Constipation?
Constipation is defined as having less than three bowel movements per week. It may be chronic, or happen occasionally. Some symptoms include:
- hard stools
- straining to have a bowel movement
- feeling as though you are “blocked” or can’t empty your bowels
- needing help emptying your rectum
- abdominal pain
- nausea and bloating
6 Natural remedies for Constipation
It’s pretty easy to find herbal preparations for constipation. In fact, many over-the-counter laxatives contain herbal ingredients. Here are six herbal therapies you may want to consider for your constipation.
- Fish Oil: Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to play a role in a large number of bodily functions, including digestion. Some studies have shown that omega-3s can be helpful in managing symptoms of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which include constipation. Fish oil, derived either from diet or in supplement form, is a rich source of these fatty acids.
- Castor Oil: Castor oil is a yellowish liquid that can be used as a home remedy for constipation because of its laxative property. One study in Nigeria found that oral castor oil helped children with chronic constipation to move their bowels. An upside to castor oil for constipation is that it works quickly. However, it was warned that it shouldn’t be taken at bedtime, due to its quick effects.
- Fibre: One of the best known home remedies for constipation is fibre. The recommended dosage — 20 to 35 grams per day — can be found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fibre is also a convenient constipation remedy since most people already have these items in their homes. Fibre supplements such as psyllium (Metamucil) or methylcellulose (Citrucel) can be used as well.
- Lemon juice: The citric acid in lemon juice acts as a stimulant for your digestive system, and can also help flush out toxins and undigested material that may have built up along the walls of the colon. Mixing the juice with water not only lessens the intensity of the lemon flavor, but helps get you the fluids you need to get everything moving normally again.
- Herbs: Commonly used bulk-forming herbal laxatives include flaxseed, fenugreek, and barley. If you opt for flaxseed as a constipation remedy, you should remember that flaxseed oil is different from the actual flaxseeds, which are available as whole or crushed seeds; flaxseed oil is not a constipation remedy. Stimulant herbs for constipation include senna, Cascara segrada, and aloe.
- Probiotics: Probiotics are the bacteria inside our intestines that promote digestion. Examples of probiotics are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Sacchromyces boulardi, and they are available in supplement form and some foods, such as yogurt. Some studies have shown that probiotics are an effective non-drug cure for constipation. Like fiber, probiotics are relatively easy home cure for constipation because they are available in foods that many families already have in the refrigerator.