Constipation is a normal occurrence that everyone will experience at one time or another within their lifetime. The older we get, the higher the tendency to become constipated. The age of forty seems to be a benchmark. People in this age bracket usually have a robust schedule, and there is usually less time for them to eat well, and exercise. Making eating disorders or bad eating habits a common cause of constipation.
Constipation is simply the inability to discharge digested food from the colon. The intestines are designed to remove nutrients from the food we eat. In the final stages, moisture is removed to allow well formed stools to pass out of the body easily. When the organs supporting the colon are not functioning properly, they either remove too much moisture and cause constipation or too little, and cause diarrhea.
Constipation can be a very painful condition, accompanied by stomach cramps, bloating, and pain sitting or standing. At its worst, fecal impaction or a blocked colon could result.
As the waste remains in the colon, some of the toxic waste from the stool might be reabsorbed into the bloodstream, causing fevers in some individuals.
The environment we live in also contributes to the tendency to be irregular. Stress and worry are key triggers which upset the normal body functions. As we stress out over the numerous interruptions in our lives, certain key organs fail to produce the enzymes and gastric juices which regulate the bowels for healthy passage of the waste from the body.
Similarly, our bodies react to the drugs we take into our system. Often after surgery, the patient will not have normal bowel movements until the drugs used wear off. The body seems to go into shock, and many vital functions either stop or slow down. Recreational and Prescribed drugs will send our systems into shock. Unfortunately, coffee drinkers have a high incidence of constipation, because it is a stimulant which alters the body’s normal chemistry.
Another contributing factor is the bad habit of holding back when we feel the need to “go”. Many people think because they are too busy, it can always come later. By then, moisture is reabsorbed leaving the stools hard and dry. The victims may end up passing a stool, but there is always a tendency that some of the now toxic waste will remain in the colon.
Unfortunately, most of us reach for the laxative before we really know what the cause of the problem is. Until the actual cause of the condition is treated, no solution will be permanent. The constipation will return time after time until the individual’s health is in jeopardy. If the causes are environmental; stress, drugs, or prolonging trips to the rest room, eliminating that cause will be the only way to insure complete relief.
METHODS OF RELIEF
Relief can come in several ways. There are the mechanical, drug induced, and natural methods of obtaining relief.
A. Diet –
1. Eat Right
To stem the continuous occurrence of constipation in the daily life of an individual, the best thing is to change your eating habits. This can safely be said to drastically reduce the incidence of constipation as most of the constipation people get is from eating low fiber foods and excess fatty foods. Foods that are rich in fiber such as wheat, bran, psyllium husks work wonders in the relieving constipation and its frequent occurrence.
2. Drink Lots of Water
The lack of sufficient fluids, particularly water ,is also an important contributor to constipation. Because we are always in a rush, we often forget to drink at least eight glasses of water everyday.
Individuals who do a lot more exercise are often better physically that those who live a sedentary life. They look younger, brighter, their eyes sparkle, they have boundless energy and are generally healthier. They have a limitless zest for life and as a result of all these can fight diseases because they have a vibrant, healthy immune system. Recent stats have proved that people who lead sedentary lives are more prone to constipation that those who are active. So, just getting up and walking around the block in the morning is good enough to get your bowels moving.
B. Mechanical Relief –
Mechanical methods include enemas and colonics. Some naturopathic physicians suggest you have a colonic at least once a year to remove any waste that has failed to pass through the system. Colonics are performed by a doctor in his treatment center. The patient is injected with as much warm water as possible while reclining on a bed. The solution is held in the bowel for a period of time and then the gates are opened and the re-moistened waste is discharged. The results are so drastic, that this is not appropriate to do at home. Since the only reason it is stuck in your colon is it is too dry to come out, the added moisture is very effective.
Enemas are very similar, except on a much smaller scale. Usually using a water bottle held above the body while sitting on a toilet, or reclining in a bathtub or other receptacle, water flows into the rectum, and adds moisture to the colon. At some point the water is discharged, along with some of the waste. Often a second or third treatment is required to unplug the colon. Hospitals used to use this method frequently, and most nurses are trained in administering this treatment. However, the latest research on enemas and colonics seems to indicate that these methods cause as much harm as the good they do.
People who use A homemade colon cleanse enema tend to apply more water quantity than the commercially available ones; for instance, a homemade colon cleanse enema contains ¾ of water, peppermint, frankincense or fennel. Sometimes they combine one or more of these together or even all at the same time. It is important to note the role these oils play in getting an individual to have bowel movements. They act as stimulators of the colon muscles which in turn contract to expel the stool in the colon. Please note that in case you settle for this option, you need to add nothing more than 1-3 drops of the oils to the water you’ll be using as an enema.
While you may be satisfied with this, it is better that you know that applying it is pretty difficult. It entails having to lie down comfortably, being close to the toilet, the temperature of the water being between ninety eight and one hundred and three (98-103) degrees Fahrenheit, bag containing the enema hanging at least 2 ft above the body
There are numerous drug related laxatives on the market. Again these are only temporary solutions until the real cause can be found and treated. Like all drugs, they cause an organ to interrupt its normal function, and adjust to provide more moisture in the colon. As the largest organ in the body, the intestines use the gall bladder, liver, pancreas, and stomach to increase or decrease digestive enzymes, bacteria, and digestive acids as needed to accomplish its function. Anytime you change the way an organ functions, you risk an unfavorable reaction. Often laxatives over do their correction and the patient develops diarrhea, the opposite condition. The very last thing we want is to be subject to a mere chemical. Many people who have become very familiar with laxatives can even swear to its ability to make an individual dependent on it for bowel movement. Feelers that we are getting from health boards all over the world are that we avoid laxatives as much as possible.
1. Hyperosmolar Laxatives
These are compounds that can’t be digested or absorbed into the intestine. As a result they remain in the colon to retain the water that is in the colon. Hence, there is a softening of the stool as a result of the presence of moisture. Examples of this are sorbitol, lactulose and polyethylene glycol. These laxatives are only available by prescription. They have side effects -hence the restriction in access to it- and are used for the long term treatment of constipation. Part of the side effects it has on the body is abdominal bloating and flatulence. This occurs as a result of the laxative being digested by bacteria and its subsequent turning into gas. If this continues, a reduction in the dosage usually reduces the incidence of bloating and flatulence. In some cases however, the gas may reduce in volume by itself.
2. Saline Laxatives
These are laxatives that are made up of ions that can’t be absorbed by the colon. Examples of such ions are phosphate, citrate which can be found in the following combination’s: sodium phosphate, and magnesium hydroxide. They function by drawing water into the colon which in return softens that stool. This treatment has its disadvantages. People with weak kidneys may find it hard to expel resulting in the formation of kidney stones. This happens if it is used over a long period of time. Thus, short term usage in perfect order. It may also cause diarrhea which may lead to dehydration if the amount of fluid lost by the body is not replaced immediately. Saline laxatives are found in solutions such as Milk of magnesia or Epsom Salt.
3. Stimulant Laxatives
These incite the small intestine and colon muscles to push their substance faster. This they do by increasing the water content in the small intestine or inhibiting the amount of water absorbed by the colon. These laxatives can be found in Castor oil, Senna and Aloe Vera oils. They are quite useful in alleviating and curing constipation but also has its disadvantages. Because of its potency, it can instigate diarrhea which would result in dehydration if the individual does not take liquids. They can also cause intestinal cramping and long term intensive use can result in colon damage and worse constipation. Finally, not all of the constipation help methods are applicable. You can either consult your physician or get a quick, fast relief from constipation.
D. NATURAL REMEDIES
Before the advent of patent medicines, before there were doctors, people developed constipation. How did they handle it? Ancient Americans, the Aztecs, Mayas, and even the American Indian found that plants growing naturally had the desired effects on the body. And because they were all natural, they had no side effects. Many of our modern drugs are synthesized in factories to mimic the results of these naturally occurring herbs. One might ask, “Why manufacture something like a natural occurring substance. Unfortunately, it is expensive to grow and harvest the volume of the drug needed to satisfy the need. Or in otherwise “Greed.”
1. Boysenberry. The juice of this fruit is capable of functioning as a gentle laxative. It is to be used in the case of mild constipation not chronic ones.
2. Cantaloupe fruit is a very great fruit and is adequate for helping to relieve constipation. Its high fiber content is what actually makes it very useful to those who have constipation. It is also a rich source of both Vitamins A and C and lots of minerals.
3. Flaxseed Oil has been proven time and again to be an effective constipation remedy. All you need for maximum results is to take 1-2 tablespoonfuls with lots of water immediately after lunch or dinner.
4. Elder flower Tea is also very effective. Use as many times as it is needed daily.
5. Epsom Salts is also another good remedy. To use it as a constipation remedy, mix one teaspoonful in half glass of water just before bed. Please note that it is bitter, so the taste does not hit you unawares.
6. Adding roasted black gram powder to chapatti made of wheat including the husks too can enhance constipation relief.
7. Molasses which have high calorie content are also very good. Beware though as it has a strong taste and you’ll want to add fruit juice or milk to it when taking it. All you really need is two tablespoonfuls of black strap molasses just before sleeping at night.
8. Take half a cup of cabbage juice twice a day. This is very effective in treating and curing constipation.
9. If you have got access to mango, take one in the morning right after brushing before breakfast, and one at night after dinner. Mangoes are very effective bowel movers. There is a sure guarantee that you’ll have to “go” at least twice before nightfall.
10. Create a mixture of Spiegel seeds and warm milk. This is done by dipping the Spiegel seeds (5-10g) in warm milk (200g). To this, mixture, add sugar and you have for yourself a highly effective treatment method.
11. If you are suffering from chronic constipation, take a drink of figs dipped in water in the morning. If taken in copious amounts, you’ll definitely find yourself reaching for the next available toilet.
12. If you want instant relief from constipation, drink water that has been kept in a copper container and has been left overnight. It acts as a superb constipation relief.
13. Get half a glass of water and mix one-quarter (¼) of Epsom salts with it for fast constipation relief.
14. Also try pouring a whole sachet of Andrew’s Liver Salt in a glass of water sand gulp down immediately. This will also produce a fast constipation relief.
E. COLON CLEANSES
Doctors specializing in natural medicines recommend at least one colon cleanse a year to eliminate the toxins and excess waste that builds up over time in the intestinal tract. The body is like a highly functional machine. A machine as we well know must go through a period of complete readjustment, cleaning, realigning, refurbishing etc, so also should our body.
There are several good colon cleanses on the market. results vary from one manufacturer to another. Some are natural, other use ingredients you may have trouble pronouncing, because they are synthesized rather than natural.
Thanks to Darwin Saunders