Are you feeling constipated, stuffed up, clogged or backed up? We’ll show you how to get rid of constipation and get relief from that horrible, stuffed up feeling.
What Is Constipation?
Being constipated means your bowel movements are difficult or happen less often than normal.
It isn`t fully understood why some people get constipation and not others. One theory is that most of the liquid or water is being absorbed from the stool and therefore making it dry and hard, and hence harder to pass.
If you aren’t drinking enough water, your body will go searching for any surplus water in your body, including from your stools.
What Causes Constipation?
A lot of things can influence your bowel movements and constipation:
- diet (lots of dry food, salty food, few water-rich foods)
- not drinking enough water
- lack of activity
- depression and
What’s ‘Normal’? How Often Should I Go?
Almost everyone experience constipation at some point and it`s usually nothing serious.
The important thing to remember is that we all are different, and hence a normal bowel movement for you might be different from what’s normal for someone else.
Normal bowel movements can be anything from three times a day to three times a week. So finding and understanding your own normal is pretty important.
Working as a chiropractor and physiotherapist, I often see clients who feel bloated and simply clogged up.
The first thing I do is help them rule out any serious illness with questions like “has there been blood in the stools?” “do you have severe stomach pain?” and “is there a family history of bowel cancer?”
If yes, then you need to see a GP.
If the answer is no, which it usually is, then you can proceed to look into things like diet, stress levels and toilet habits.
How to Get Rid of Constipation – 9 Top Tips
These are my 9 top tips that I recommend for my clients to try. There are also a few simple exercises that can help, below.
1. Drink more water
This is the number one thing you can do regularly to help get rid of constipation. Try keeping a water diary to keep track of your daily intake of water. Think of ways to drink water more regularly. Do you drink 8 glasses of water every day?
2. Fill up on fibre
Fibre help bulk up the stools and therefore easier to pass. A teaspoon of flax seeds ground up in 1/2 cup water can help, as can psyllium husks.
Other good sources of fibre are fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. Have you tried prunes?
Refill your gut with healthy, living awesome bacteria. Some research out there also suggest that probiotics might help with bloating and constipation as well. Ask at your local pharmacy or contact us for help with brands.
Moving will get things moving. It doesn’t matter what you do, walking, yoga or weight lifting, just move!
Your movements, as in moving your legs and arms around, will facilitate bowel movements.
5. Reduce Stress
Stress doesn’t make things better, so take control over the stressors in your life and perhaps your bowel movements will improve. Have you tried meditation or mindfulness?
6. Go with the urge!
If you need to go to the bathroom, go!! Holding back doesn’t do you any good. Your body will keep absorbing more water from the stool, making it harder and drier.
7. Have you heard about the poo stool?
It`s a little stool you put your legs on whilst at the toilet, putting you in a squat like position, like we used to do “back in the day”. This position might help ease your bowel movements as well. Who knew?
8. Check your medication
Some side effects might include constipation. Always discuss with your GP before you make any changes to your medication.
These are the absolutely last solution. If nothing else works, talk to your GP and have him or her help you find some laxatives that might help you. Remember, laxatives are only to be used for a short term and only when nothing else works.
When You Need Quick Constipation Relief
If you are really ‘stuck’ then there are two things you can do to move that stool.
- Drink a few glasses of warm water at once – this will help to rehydrate you and promote peristalsis and bowel movement.
- Use about 1 tsp of solid coconut oil as a suppository – this will help to soften and lubricate the stool and create some momentum.
If you try #2, you will need to sit on the toilet a while to capture the coconut oil as it is expressed.
When to See Your Doctor
- You have severe stomach pain
- Constipation lasts more than two weeks
- There is blood in your stools
- You have unexpected weight loss
- You are unable to have a bowel movement.
At Home Exercises for Constipation
Here are some easy exercises you can try at home to try and speed up your bowel movements. These exercises can be found here.
The clue is to try to facilitate and improve the actual movements of your intestines, so all sorts of exercises that makes you move your legs and upper body might help:
Lie on your back, glue your lower back to the floor.
Lift your legs up, one at the time and make cycling movements with your legs. You can also try to pull one leg at the time closer to your abdomen, and then stretch it out.
Remember to breathe.
Image source: Seek 4 Fitness
Standing up, lift your knee up, curl your upper body down towards your knee.
Straighten up, do the same on the other side.
Image source: Fortifit
Lie on your back, feet bent, try to relax. Breath all the way down to your lower back. Gently stroke your tummy in a circular motion, going from right hip, up, down towards the left hip and across.
Image source: MageMassage
What Does a Healthy Stool Look Like?
The Bristol Stool chart is a fantastic guide to what a healthy, normal stool looks like.
So there you have it – if you want to know how to get rid of constipation, then these simple strategies might help you get there.
Do you know any effective home remedies for constipation? Let us know in the comments.
- Americal Journal of Clinical Nutrition: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/100/4/1075.full.pdf+html
- Enders, G. (2015). Gut, The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ (Sjarmen med tarmen. Cappelen Damm AS), pp 124-129. (ISBN 978-82-02-45566-8).
- Nature: http://www.nature.com/ajg/journal/v109/n10/abs/ajg2014202a.html
- Web MD accessed 2016: http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/for-women
- Virtua.org accessed 2016: https://www.virtua.org/articles/how-to-deal-with-constipation
Downsize Me Healthy Lifestyle Coach
I’m a chiropractor, physiotherapist and qualified health and wellness coach who loves helping women create healthier lifestyle habits.