Constipation is uncomfortable in more ways than one; if you’ve ever experienced it then you know firsthand that this is true. Not only is it uncomfortable to go through, it’s very uncomfortable to talk about as well. For this reason, when it comes to how to get rid of constipation you may not know quite where to begin. But there’s no reason to feel ashamed! At some point in their life, everyone will experience constipation, no matter their age, sex, or race.
We will talk about how to get rid of constipation, talk about what causes constipation in the first place, and give you some strategies for preventing an altogether. There’s a very important piece of conventional wisdom that you should remember: “what goes and must come out”. It makes sense then that part of eliminating (excuse the pun) constipation can often begin with maintaining a healthy diet. So why not start there?
What is Constipation Exactly?
Constipation is characterized by a lack of frequency in bowel movements or an increased difficulty in making bowel movements. The sensation of constipation can run anywhere from mildly uncomfortable to downright painful. If you are ensuring what you are experiencing is constipation, take a look at the following symptoms. This will give you some place to start if you need to see your physician about potential constipation.
- Experiencing the need to strain during elimination more than 25% of the time you use the bathroom.
- Having hard or difficult to pass stools more than 25% of the time you use the bathroom.
- Experiencing difficulty having a complete bowel elimination more than 25% of the times that you use the bathroom.
- Having less than 3 bowel movements per week.
As we noted before, most everyone will experience minor constipation at some point in my life. If you find that you are experiencing the above symptoms for months at a time, then it is time to see a doctor as this can point to chronic constipation.
However, if you are only experiencing minor constipation then there are some ways that you can remedy the situation yourself. We’ll get to that in a moment, but first let’s take a look at some of the common causes of constipation.
What Are Some Potential Causes of Constipation?
Part of knowing how to get rid of constipation includes understanding why you are constipated in the first place. If you are “slow to go” than there are actually a number of surprising potential causes. Let’s take a look at those here:
- Stress – It seems like there’s nothing that stress won’t interfere with! And it looks like your bathroom routine isn’t safe either.
- Dehydration – Like stress, dehydration is a common culprit in constipation and other uncomfortable physical symptoms. There really isn’t a bad reason to up the amount of water they drink every day and knowing that can help get rid of constipation is definitely great motivation.
- Decreasing Your Fiber Intake – Fiber is one of the things that really “gets things going” so to speak. By straying away from high-fiber fruits and vegetables in favor of iron rich foods like red meat, you may be inadvertently causing constipation.
- Increasing Your Dairy Intake – Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese, can do all kinds of crazy things to your tummy. Even if you find that these foods don’t typically affect you, if you suddenly started increasing your consumption of them that could be an underlying cause of your constipation.
- Taking Antacids or Other Supplements – Tough break! By taking antacids to soothe one aspect of an unhappy stomach, like nausea or heartburn, you increase the possibility of causing another: constipation. Some people believe that calcium or aluminum are the most likely culprit in antacids. This aren’t the only sources, either; iron, calcium, and other supplements may be making it tough to go.
- Resisting the Urge to Go – Hey, no one likes to go in public. But “holding it” could be causing your constipation, too.
- Being a Couch Potato – Changing to a more sedentary routine, or not getting up and out enough can wreak havoc on your gut.
Let’s Talk About How to Get Rid of Constipation
Now that you know causes constipation, you’re probably very anxious to learn how to get rid of constipation. We don’t blame you at all! Let’s get right to some of the ways that you can cure or alleviate uncomfortable or painful constipation. If you read the list above, the most of these will come as no surprise to you, as you will likely find that they correlate with the causes of constipation. What could be easier?
Increasing Your Water Intake
There really isn’t an argument against drinking more water, as we mentioned before. Here’s a good reason to get your recommended eight glasses a day: even downing 3 to 4 glasses of water when you first begin to feel the symptoms of constipation can be the easiest fix when it comes to how to get rid of constipation! Give it a try. Your intestines need water to keep everything in good working order. When you become dehydrated, this is what makes it difficult to “go”, so replenishing your hydration levels will get things “moving” in the right direction again.
Implementing an Exercise Routine
Exercises can cure a lot of things, so it should come as no surprise that it can cure constipation too! This doesn’t mean that you need to become a marathon runner, or start bench pressing huge amounts of weight all of a sudden. If you need to ease into a routine, there are plenty of things that you can try. For instance, you could start slow with tai chi, which is easy enough to pick up. On the other hand, you could start thinking about something to make your exercise routine little more exciting. The important thing is to get up and get moving. Whether you decide to just take some leisurely walks, or get into something slightly more intense, make sure that you are integrating at least 30 minutes of exercise into your routine every day.
Knowing Which Supplements to Take
Supplements like protein replacement, calcium chews, or additional vitamins can be a great idea. But it is important to learn which supplements are best for which jobs, and how each will affect you before you begin taking them. Remember that we said earlier that certain supplements, like calcium or those that have aluminum in them can make bowel movements difficult. Another common culprit is iron. We all need iron, but know that if you suddenly increase your iron intake, you might end up with a little intestinal discomfort. Sometimes, we need a little bit of good bacteria, too! There are plenty of gentle probiotic supplements that you can take to get things moving again!
Say Goodbye to Stress
Oh, stress! It really is such a nasty, pervasive thing. Stress can cause everything from headaches to muscle tension and knots to the dreaded condition of constipation. Stresses a part of life, and while it would be great if it didn’t exist it unfortunately and certainly dies. But there’s no reason to stress out about that! There are lots of ways to ensure that stress does not rule your life, you just need to be willing to learn the strategies to ensure that it doesn’t. The benefits of eliminating stress will extend far beyond knowing how to get rid of constipation; it can improve your quality of life in many other ways as well! When you think about it like that, there’s really no good argument against getting rid of all the stress in your life.
Who Doesn’t Love a Good Massage?
There are few things as relaxing and enjoyable as a nice massage. Applying pressure can really “take the pressure off”, in more ways than one. A lot of people swear by acupressure, which operates under the idea that by applying pressure to certain points on your body you can alleviate all kinds of symptoms, and that includes constipation. Additionally, there are some massage techniques that you can learn that are specially designed to teach you how to get rid of constipation by directly massaging your abdomen. The best thing about both of these techniques, is that you can do them yourself – no partner required! This is another way to “kill two birds with one stone”, because massage is one of many methods that you can employ to decrease your stress, which as you remember, can also help remedy any constipation that you might be experiencing.
All of these strategies can help teach you how to get rid of constipation, and you may wish to try each of them before you decide to go get treatment over-the-counter. There’s nothing wrong with a trip to your neighborhood drugstore, but it’s worth noting that certain over-the-counter medications for constipation can cause a kind of “rebound effect” by weakening the bowel muscles over time. Simply speaking, this means that in the long run you could end up experiencing more constipation at a higher frequency.
Always remember that prevention is the best cure. By keeping the aforementioned list of common constipation causes in mind then you can eventually develop habits that can knit constipation in the bud, stopping it before it even starts. One common cause of constipation that we haven’t even mentioned yet is actually pregnancy. You can learn specific yoga techniques that were designed with expectant mothers in mind as a gentle and effective way to alleviate constipation that is caused by pregnancy. Additionally, remembering to maintain a diet that is bold healthy and high in fiber, like a vegetarian diet can also ensure that you will stay regular.
Constipation can be uncomfortable, but don’t think for even a moment that you are the only one that experiences it-there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. As we established, almost everyone will experience constipation at some point, so there is no need to compound the discomfort of constipation by being wary of asking how to get rid of constipation.
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