The Best Remedies to Help Treat Constipation
Constipation is an uncomfortable condition characterized by a range of factors. While this condition can be defined as an infrequent passage of stool, constipation can also mean straining to pass stools, hard stools, and the feeling of incomplete evacuation. Generally, constipation is when there are fewer than three stools per week. Symptoms include discomfort in the lower abdominal region, gas, bloating, physiological distress hemorrhoids, and rectal bleeding or anal issues. Constipation can be caused by a range of factors, including diets low in fiber, a sedentary lifestyle, certain medications, hormonal imbalances, and diseases that effect the colon. The goal for constipation treatment is one bowel movement every two days or so without straining. The best ways to achieve this goal and help relieve constipation include lifestyle changes, over the counter medications, and biofeedback. Read more to find out how these top remedies can help treat constipation.
Fortunately, constipation treatment includes many simple lifestyle changes. To begin with, physicians recommend an increase in fiber every day. Adding fiber increases the weight of stool and allows it to pass more quickly through intestines. Fiber is part of all fruit and vegetables, which are easy to add to a daily diet. Whole grain breads and cereals are also good, as well as beans, flax seed, and chia seed. Increasing physical activity is also recommended, as exercise increases muscle activity all over the body, including the intestines. Exercising most days of the week can help get things moving in other ways.
In addition to lifestyle changes, there are many over the counter medications that can help relieve constipation. Fiber supplements, like Metamucil and Fibercon, can help add bulk to stool in addition to fruits and vegetables. Laxatives help intestines to contract and push things through the colon; popular products include Dulcolax, Senokot, Phillips Milk of Magnesia, and Miralax. Lubricants like mineral oil help stool move through the colon more easily, while stool softeners moisten the stool and make it easier to pass. Enemas can also be used to soften stool and produce a bowel movement.
Biofeedback is another way to help train the body to relax and tighten muscles to avoid constipation. A biofeedback therapist can help patients loosen pelvic floor muscles to allow stool to pass without straining. During biofeedback sessions, a catheter is inserted in the rectum to measure muscle tension. The therapist then works with the patient to alternately relax and tighten muscles, using the catheter as a measurement gauge. If these strategies do not help relieve constipation, surgery may be an option; however, this is usually reserved for chronic constipation caused by a fissure or blockage.
It is important for physicians and their patients to distinguish between ordinary constipation and chronic constipation. If the symptoms are sudden and do not go away, the underlying cause could be more serious in nature - for example, there could be tumors in the colon or elsewhere in the intestinal tract. Constipation should receive immediate assessment if accompanied by nausea, vomiting, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, and involuntary weight loss.