(A) What is It??
Constipation is a condition in which there is difficulty in emptying the bowels, usually associated with hardened feces.
(B) Reasons For Constipation
Constipation, a condition that is often treated as a joke can be very uncomfortable and sometimes painful for a person suffering from it. Clinically defined as condition where a person has difficulty in passing motion or suffers from infrequent bowel movements, constipation can have a number of ill effects on your health. While there are a number of home remedies to remedy the condition, the knowing about the cause for the onset of constipation is as important as treating it. So, to help you out, here are 10 common causes of the condition.
Low water intake or dehydration: If a person drinks lesser water than required, it causes the body to use up its resources quickly. Your body will then try to compensate for the lack of water by absorbing it from as many sources as it can, and bodily waste is its first target, leading to constipation. This makes the feces or waste product dry and difficult to pass out. To add to this, the slower the food you eat passes through your intestines, the more water the colon absorbs from the food making the problem even worse. You may also like to read about the other consequences of not drinking enough water.
2. Sedentary lifestyle: In today’s day and age where almost everything is computerized, a sedentary lifestyle has become the norm. The body relies on exercise for various functions like producing mucus (an essential fluid used to lubricate the anus) and to keep up its metabolic rate. When we are sedentary, the body metabolizes less, leading to constipation. Sitting for long hours can do a lot more damage to your body than you think, here’s why.
3. Certain drugs or medication: There are some drugs that can cause constipation like antidepressants, calcium channel blocking drugs and diuretics (both are usually prescribed for hypertension and heart disease).
4. Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the drastic hormonal changes that a woman experiences could lead to constipation. Another known reason is the growth of the foetus which can put pressure on the digestive tract leading to slower passage of food. You may also like to read about some natural remedies to beat constipation during pregnancy.
5. Aging: As people age, their bodily functions also change. It has been found that in old age, a number of people suffer from constipation, due to a slower rate of metabolism and digestion.
6. Overuse of laxatives: Most people adopt the use of laxatives in order to make their bowel movements regular. Laxatives are known to be habit forming, which means that the more you use them, the higher doses you will need to get the same results. If you are on laxatives, it is best you slowly wean off their use.
7. Cancer or other systemic diseases: There are a few conditions like colon cancer or other systemic diseases like diabetes, hypothyroidism, Parkinson’s disease that can lead to constipation. In such a case it is best you visit your doctor for medical help.
8. Constipation can also be a glaring sign that you are suffering from a bowel obstruction. When it is very severe and a person does not pass motion for days on end, it is known as ‘obstipation’.
9. Milk or dairy products: Some people suffer from a condition called ‘lactose intolerance‘, a condition which occurs when a person is allergic to milk and milk products. This condition can cause either diarrhoea or constipation.
10. Controlling the urge to use the washroom: Some people tend to control the urge to use the washroom. Although certain situations may warrant this, controlling bowel movements on a regular basis could lead to constipation. This is because when you control yourself faeces moves higher up in the rectum and could lead to incomplete elimination.
(C) Home Made Remedies for Constipation
Lemons are always handy at home not just to make food tangy or lemonade, but also for many emergency medicinal purposes like weight loss, skin care, proper digestion, eye care, peptic ulcers, respiratory disorders, etc.
Lemons, or more specifically the juice from lemons, can treat constipation. This is one of the simplest and most effective treatments that you can try at home.
Figs are very high in fiber and act as a natural laxative. Figs are rich in anthocyanins and polyphenols (2).
3. Castor Oil
Being a stimulant laxative, castor oil stimulates the small and large intestines and improves the bowel movement.
Honey is highly beneficial in relieving constipation as it acts as a mild laxative.
Flaxseeds have many medicinal properties and are one of the richest plant sources of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
Prunes or dried plums are widely accepted as a remedy for constipation in traditional medicine.
Magnesium is the fourth important essential abundant mineral in the body. It is vital for bone development. Although this mineral is abundant, many people are magnesium-deficient.
Spinach is really good for the digestive tract, especially when you are suffering from constipation.
Molasses is one of the best natural laxatives to get your bowels moving.
10. Water and Fiber
Most often, the cause of constipation is lack of fiber in the diet. Fiber is a kind of material that binds to water in the intestine. This adds volume to the stool and the water softens the stool (13).
Fennel seeds are useful in treating issues like indigestion, bloating, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome as they encourage smooth muscle movement in the digestive tract.
Grapes contain insoluble fiber that helps produce regular bowel movements.