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6 Tips To Get Rid Of Constipation Fast

If you catch yourself forgetting the last time you used the restroom for a bowel movement, you may be dealing with constipation. Did you know it is ideal to have a bowel movement once daily? This can be a revelation to many people who go once every 2-3 days and have thought it’s no big deal. While constipation is a spectrum, if you fall outside of the camp of going daily, you could use support to achieve a more regular digestive system.

You may be asking yourself: Why is keeping regular a big deal?

Constipation can feel uncomfortable due to more pressure in the abdomen. People with constipation can report feeling heavy or sluggish. When people with constipation do have a bowel movement, it can be painful and even result in hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoids happen when a blood vessel bursts at the opening of the anus. Hemorrhoids can make bowel movement pain even worse. Recurrent hemorrhoids can happen if constipation remains untreated.

What can be done to keep regular? Below are six tips to incorporate into your routine to keep your digestive system running smoothly.

1) Regular Movement

Physical activity increases blood flow to the abdomen and stimulates the muscles of the intestines to contract. Increased activity and blood flow to the digestive tract help pass the contents of the intestines along.

If the digestive system isn’t getting stimulated through regular movement, the activity and blood flow to the digestive tract may be reduced. Restoring regular movement to your routine can potentially encourage bowel movements.

The next time you feel sluggish, try a brisk walk or exercise class at your local gym to get things moving. If you have a health condition, discuss incorporating more exercise into your routine first as certain medical conditions require supervision under a physician.

2) Adequate Hydration

Logically, being dehydrated causes constipation because smooth bowel movements require water. Without enough water, the risk of constipation increases as stool becomes more dry and hard.

Half the body is made of water. Water is essential for life and many biologic processes. Up to 28% of older adults are chronically dehydrated. In other words, one in four older adults deals with dehydration.

What many people are not aware of is that certain beverages can result in a net water loss from the body, even if those beverages have high water content. These are called diuretics. Examples include coffee, caffeinated tea, alcohol, and sugary drinks such as soda or sweetened fruit juices. People may mentally log these diuretic beverages as “water” without realizing that they actually contribute to dehydration.

Exactly how much water should you aim for daily? The National Academy of Medicine recommends 9 cups daily for adult women and 13 cups daily for adult men. If you have a medical condition, consult with your doctor prior to adding more water into your routine as certain medical conditions may require you to monitor your water closely.

3) Warm Baths or Jacuzzi

Relaxing in a warm bath or hot tub has health-promoting properties. Similar to how exercise increases blood flow to the abdomen, heat in the form of hydrotherapy does the same.

The ideal bath temperature is just a few degrees above body temperature, which averages 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. 100 degrees is generally considered safe. A bath or jacuzzi should never exceed 104 degrees. Most experts say 15-30 minutes is an appropriate amount of time.

It is recommended to consult with your physician prior to incorporating hydrotherapy into your routine, as it is not suitable for all individuals or you doctor may recommend adjustments based on your individual situation.

4) Fiber

If you can’t crack the code of your stubborn constipation, consider nutritional factors that may be playing a part.

Unfortunately, only 7% of adults meet the recommendation for daily dietary fiber consumption. It wouldn’t be far off to say the average adult can benefit from considering more dietary fiber.

Dietary fiber relieves constipation by encouraging the retention of water in the colon, the final section of the digestive tract. As mentioned earlier, water is essential for smooth and easy-to-pass stools.

Fiber also provides roughage and bulk to help stools pass through the intestines. What foods are high in fiber? Legumes, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and vegetables are all high in dietary fiber. It’s recommended to introduce fiber into the diet gradually, as too rapidly can cause digestive upset. Always consult your physician prior to initiating any dietary change.

5) Support Yourself When You Travel

Being out of one’s routine, such as during travel, is a common trigger for constipation. For those who experience constipation regularly, constipation can worsen during travel. If you have an upcoming trip or holiday, a little preparation can help you to keep regular even on the go.

Consider the following tips for keeping regular while traveling:

  • Magnesium supplementation.
  • Carry a gentle, natural solution such as PuriCleanse by Golden Over 50.
  • Maintain good hydration levels.
  • For long flights, get out of your seat every so often to maintain movement.

6) Don’t Delay

If you can help it, go when you have the urge. People often delay using the bathroom for a variety of reasons. However, this habit can contribute to constipation. In fact, the National Institute on Aging advises that holding in a bowel movement can worsen constipation.

There is a saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” This concept applies to muscles and nerves. If an impulse is repeatedly overridden, it gradually becomes less strong until it’s potentially undetectable. Losing the urge to have a bowel movement is when constipation can snowball.

Why does this happen?

Some people prefer the comfort of their own homes. Being busy or in the middle of a task can cause people to delay. There are certainly instances where excusing yourself to use a restroom is not appropriate, such as during the middle of a wedding ceremony or work presentation. However, in many situations, there is an opportunity to slow down and respond when nature calls.

Dr. Laurel Ash ND, MS

Dr Laurel Ash, ND, MS is an Oregon and Washington board-certified Naturopathic Physician. With a passion for nutritional health, Dr Ash earned her doctorate in Naturopathy from the National University of Natural Medicine while receiving her masters in Integrative Mental Health. Her unique combination of evidence-based research and skilled knowledge in holistic medicine has allowed Dr. Ash to successfully treat many with a wide-range of issues.