What is Constipation?
Constipation is defined as a hard, tough stool to pass OR a decrease in frequency of passing a stool.
Many people experience constipation from time to time. Generally, occasional constipation is not alarming. If, however, you have been constipated for weeks or months, you may have chronic constipation, which is a cause of concern. The purpose of a bowel movement is to eliminate the undigested food and toxic by-product which may negatively affect our health.
Chronic constipation may lead to things like:
- anal fissures
- fecal impaction
- rectal prolapse
Numerous studies have demonstrated that gut health is linked to the immune system, autoimmune diseases, mood and mental health, hormonal disorders, skin conditions, and cancer.
What are common causes of constipation?
- a poor diet – diet low in vegetables and high in processed foods
- dehydration – not drinking enough water
- a lack of exercise
- Some medications or vitamins or minerals – eg. calcium and iron. Ingredients in tablets or capsules such as lactose or talc, may also cause constipation.
- Overuse of laxatives
- Nerve issues or blockages in your colon or rectum
- Certain medical conditions including: pregnancy, diabetes, hypothyroidism, or hyperparathyroidism
Natural treatment for constipation
1. PSYLUM HUSK
This is a type of fibre that increases the bulk in your stool, an effect that helps to cause movement of the intestines. It also works by increasing the amount of water in the stool, making the stool softer and easier to pass.
2. FERMENTED FOODS
Fermentation is a natural process through which microorganisms like yeast and bacteria convert carbohydrates into alcohol or acids. The alcohol or acids act as a natural preservative which give fermented foods a distinct zest and tartness.
Fermentation promotes the growth of probiotics. These probiotics can help restore the balance of friendly bacteria in your gut and may alleviate some digestive problems.
Examples of fermented foods include:
Occasional constipation can be treated with magnesium citrate. This supplement is an osmotic laxative, which means it relaxes your bowels and pulls water into your intestines. The water helps soften and bulk up your stool, which makes it easier to pass. Magnesium citrate is relatively gentle and generally would not cause urgency, unless you take too much.
4. VITAMIN C
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. Unabsorbed vitamin C, like magnesium citrate, has an osmotic effect in your digestive tract. That means it pulls water into your intestines, which can help soften your stool. Be warn to much vitamin C may cause urgency and stomach cramping.
Picking the right probiotic is key to treating constipation, as various strains have various functions and potencies.
The following strains of bacteria, which have been shown to improve stool consistency, should be included in your probiotic supplement:
- Bifidobacterium lactis
- Lactobacillus plantarum
- Saccharomyces boulardii
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus reuteri
- Streptococcus thermophilus
- Bifidobacterium longum
Senna is a smooth muscle stimulant, meaning it will stimulate bowel movement (peristalsis) to alleviate constipation.
The primary active compounds in senna leaves are known as senna glycosides, or sennosides. These Sennosides can be broken down by your gut bacteria, but it cannot be absorbed. It is this breakdown of sennosides which mildly irritates the cells in your colon, causesing the stimulating/ laxative effects.
Senna is to be used ONLY as a short-term treatment, for maximum 5-7 days. Long-term senna intake may lead to laxative dependence, electrolyte disturbances, and liver damage.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing posted or published by@ doc_marlo (Dr. Marlo Swanepoel) serve as medical advice. All posts are intended for informational purposes only and under no circumstances is it a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice should you experience any medical conditions or concerns.