No-one is in a hurry to talk about constipation – except us if this blog is anything to go by. Nonetheless, it’s a much more common problem than many assume.
A condition which affects people of all ages, constipation is sometimes linked with stomach ache and bloating, making it one of many gastrointestinal symptoms typically associated with dysbiosis or a lack of dietary fibre.
Unlike some illnesses, it is generally accepted that constipation can be treated by making simple changes to your lifestyle and diet.
In this article, we intend to discuss ways and means of relieving constipation quickly and naturally.
Causes of Constipation
If you do not consistently empty your bowels at least three times per week, you are likely suffering from constipation.
Because there are many possible underlying causes, it can be difficult to say with certainty how constipation comes about.
Common causes, however, include not eating enough fibre, dehydration, a lack of exercise, medication, hormonal imbalances and disease.
High levels of stress and depression can also contribute.
Sometimes, though, it’s a question of routine or a lack thereof – making an effort to schedule regular bathroom breaks can often solve a bout of constipation.
Thankfully, there are many things you can do to ease your discomfort and get things moving once more.
Probiotics for Constipation
As mentioned, an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut is a frequently cited cause of constipation.
As such, it makes sense to top up the beneficial bugs in your gastrointestinal tract to keep things in good working order.
There are many studies illustrating the positive effects of probiotics on constipation symptoms, and in 2017 a meta analysis of the available data was published in the journal Annals of Gastroenterology.
Looking at stool frequently and intestinal transit time, the researchers pooled data from 21 studies comprising 2,656 test subjects.
The most commonly used probiotics in the study were Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species, which makes sense since they are natively present in large numbers within the human gut.
The meta-analysis showed that probiotic consumption resulted in a mean increase in weekly stool frequency of 0.83, and what’s more, probiotics also improved intestinal transit time (SMD=0.65, 95%CI 0.33-0.97, P<0.001).
Make sure to eat plenty of probiotic foods (sauerkraut, Greek yogurt, kombucha, kefir et al) and consider using a high-strength probiotic now and then.
Progurt is the world’s strongest, boasting 1 trillion Colony-Forming Units from human-derived bacterial strains. What’s more, the strains include Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Lactobacillus Bifidus – both of which were extensively used in the aforementioned trials.
Fibre for Constipation
Eating fibre-rich food, including fibre-rich vegetables, is a great way of addressing chronic constipation. In fact, it’s probably the first thing you should look to do, before resorting to supplementation.
Dietary fibre is the name for the edible parts of plant foods, the likes of vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes.
While insoluble fibre adds bulk to your stool and helps it transit more swiftly through the intestines, soluble fibre helps the body absorb nutrients. Both, therefore, perform vital roles as far as constipation is concerned.
Foods you should prioritise for constipation include wheat bran, prunes, kiwi fruit, broccoli, sweet potato, kefir and flaxseeds. Aiming for 10 portions of fruit and veg per day is a good way of getting all the dietary fibre you need.
When eating a higher fibre diet, it is vital to maintain sound levels of hydration to ensure proper elimination: fibre needs water to carry waste out of your body.
As such, it might be a good idea to combine water and vegetables in a green smoothie. Too much hassle? Then try Green Vibrance Powder, which has the benefit of added probiotics! Each serving is nutritionally equivalent to 4.5 servings of fruit and vegetables.
Liquid Chlorophyll for Constipation
Chlorophyll – so-called ‘plant blood’ – is typically associated with detox protocols in the form of liquid chlorophyll.
If you’re unfamiliar with the supplement, it is essentially plant-derived chlorophyll formulated with pure water.
And how does it help with constipation, you might wonder. Well, because chlorophyll is a potent detoxifier, it gets to work on the toxic food products which are backed up in the intestines and likely causing a blockage.
Taking a half teaspoon of liquid chlorophyll every couple of hours is a good idea. Repeat for 3-4 days and monitor the results. We recommend the Juara brand.
Fish Oil for Constipation
Fish oil is a surprisingly effective tool for addressing constipation. The benefits probably stem from the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3, which serves to reduce inflammation in the intestines and colon: noted causes of constipation.
Fish oil, like most dietary oil, is also an excellent lubricant which has been known to assure smooth elimination.
In a 2012 study, the use of suppositories containing 30% free fatty acid extract from omega-3 fish oil proved to be a powerful laxative.
Thirty volunteers were divided into two groups, one of which was given a fatty acid extract while the other was given a placebo. Among the former, 93% reported the urge to defecate after administration while only 37% reported the same from the placebo group.
Thereafter, 90% of the study group had a bowel movement compared to just 33% of the control group.
If you want to give fish oil a shot, try UnoCardio 1000. Not only does it provide a therapeutic dose of EPA and DHA, the most well-studied marine omega-3s, but it also contains 1,000 IU of vitamin D.
This is relevant, since 82% of IBS sufferers are said to be vitamin D deficient.
Supplements for Digestion and Constipation
If simply eating more fibre doesn’t do the trick – and normally it does – you may find yourself reaching for a supplement.
One such digestive supplement we recommend is Rhalax Grani. Combining a number of fibre-rich vegetable-derived ingredients pressed into tablets, it has been created specifically to encourage intestinal transit while reducing bloating.
A primary ingredient in Rhalax Grani is senna leave powder; senna works by stimulating the muscles that line your gut and has been used as a natural constipation remedy for centuries. The same is true for aloe ferox, a medicinal plant closely associated with colon cleansing.
Another supplement which could help keep you regular is Gin Zyme. This doctor-formulated product combines several key digestive enzymes in addition to plant-based ingredients like fresh ginger, hawthorn fruit, citrus peel and medicated leaven, a Chinese bulk herb.
And another popular natural supplement recommended for constipation is psyllium. A well-tolerated, non-fermentable soluble fibre, psyllium husk is available in both capsule and powder form.
Hopefully this article demonstrates that constipation need not be suffered in the long-term. Follow a sensible dietary protocol and you’ll be regular in no time.
If chronic constipation persists despite your best efforts, it is of course wise to consult your medical practitioner to get to the bottom of the issue.