Constipation occurs when your stools are difficult to pass, you don’t feel like you pass all of them, or it takes four or more days between bowel movements.
Constipation might cause you to feel bloated or uneasy all the time. Due to persistent constipation, you could also face negative side effects like intestinal blockages.
Constipation is an issue for 15% of Americans, according to statistics.
This article will discuss the symptoms of constipation and remedies you can try, even if you’re expecting or have hemorrhoids.
It could be helpful to start by examining the route that your food takes during digestion.
Your digestive system
Your mouth to your rectum is the boundaries of your digestive system. The following are a few of the major digestive organs:
- Small Intestines
- The stool eventually leaves the large intestine through the rectum.
Nutrients are taken in along each section of the digestive system, while waste products from food breakdown are eventually expelled from the body.
Food material is moved along the digestive tract with the aid of certain movements, such as churning in the stomach and peristalsis (a rhythmic movement) in the intestines.
The likelihood that the stool will activate the intestines’ natural motions and advance increases with its softness and bulk. Your pelvic floor muscles cooperate to push stool out of the rectum when it’s time to use the restroom.
What does it feel like to be constipated?
One or more breakdowns of the anticipated channel where stool is eliminated can cause constipation.
Slow-moving stools, firm stools, or having a problem with the nerves and muscles required to pass a bowel movement are a few examples.
Constipation can, therefore “feel” like a variety of symptoms. Examples comprise:
Cramps in the intestines, feeling as though stool is stuck in the rectum and is unable to escape, fullness in the stomach or pelvis
Feeling heavy or uncomfortable in the abdomen and lower back
Experiencing back pain
It can be challenging to distinguish between stomach and intestine discomfort at times. Your intestines may feel like they are bloated or cramping as they press upward on your stomach.
As a result, even if the source of your constipation is actually in your intestines, you could have stomach discomfort.
When is constipation a serious medical issue?
Constipation can occasionally cause a medical emergency.
If you suffer any of the following, get quick medical advice and treatment:
Even after using self-care methods at home, such as laxatives, symptoms don’t improve or get worse.
Constipation alternates with diarrhea and ongoing pain after attempting to have a bowel movement.
These signs and symptoms could indicate an intestinal blockage or bleed in the digestive tract. These situations may be life-threatening.
What are the constipation remedies?
Treatments for constipation can range from dietary changes to prescription drugs. Surgery can be necessary if a scar or impediment is preventing you from passing faces.
You can employ a variety of at-home self-care techniques to lessen the likelihood of constipation, such as:
Drink enough water so that your urine has a light yellow hue.
Eating fruits, whole grains, and vegetables that contain at least 25 grams of fiber per day.
Exercising frequently, such as by walking, riding a bike, or dancing. These components of physical exercise can make the stool move more quickly by imitating the stool’s natural motion.
Consult your doctor about any possible medications you’re taking that have an impact on constipation. You shouldn’t, however, discontinue taking your medications without first consulting your doctor.
Additionally, there are over-the-counter (OTC) drugs like fiber supplements that can help to reduce constipation.
How does being constipated feel during pregnancy?
Constipation affects pregnant women more frequently than the general population. Congestion affects between 11 and 38 percent of expectant mothers, according to estimates.
Constipation in pregnant women is more probable due to a number of causes, including:
Decreased levels of the hormone multiline and elevated levels of progesterone delay intestinal movement.
The stool dries out due to increased water absorption in the intestines.
Supplements that include more calcium and iron can raise the risk of constipation.
A swollen uterus strains the intestines and slows their motion.
The lower level of exercise.
If you’re pregnant, constipation may initially be difficult to identify since you may be unsure whether your symptoms are related to pregnancy. Bloating and pressure-like symptoms in the abdomen are two examples.
Due to worries that the prescriptions might have an impact on the unborn child, you are not permitted to take the same medications you took before becoming pregnant.
Additionally, there isn’t much information available regarding the safety of using laxatives to encourage bowel movements while pregnant.
However, some treatments do not appear to be linked to unfavorable side effects, such as:
Mass-forming substances (although these can cause gas, cramping, and bloating in some pregnant women).
- Laxatives that are lubricating, like mineral oil
- Stool softeners like sodium docusate (Colace)
Electrolyte imbalances caused by laxatives might occasionally make you feel sick and perhaps harm your unborn child.
This is why it’s crucial that women who are pregnant undertake lifestyle changes like consuming more fiber, drinking more water, and exercising more while taking these medications for a short period of time (if tolerated).
When you have hemorrhoids and are constipated
Swollen blood vessels, or hemorrhoids, can develop inside or outside the rectum. They may bleed and hurt to pass during bowel motions.
Because your bowel motions may already be difficult to pass or pass more slowly than usual due to hemorrhoids, this may be particularly challenging for you. The two situations together might make using the restroom a very unpleasant experience.
However, you shouldn’t try to delay using the restroom when the urge strikes if you have hemorrhoids and are constipated. When you eventually pass the stool, doing so can aggravate hemorrhoids and put further strain on the bowels.
If you have hemorrhoids, shifting your body position while using the restroom may assist relieve pressure on the rectum. When an illustration, imagine placing your feet on a small step stool as you use the restroom. Stool passage may be facilitated by this.
Treating constipation with hemorrhoids
Treatment for your hemorrhoids and constipation might lessen the likelihood of developing either problem. Examples comprise:
After using the restroom, carefully and completely clean the anal region. Some folks might discover that washing the area or using baby wipes helps.
Consuming lots of water to soften stools.
Use steroid lotions like OTC Preparation H, or other anti-inflammatory creams, to the region to lessen itch and skin irritation.
Consuming foods high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and grains, naturally, increase the bulk of the stool and ease the passage.
Speak to your doctor if you still experience hemorrhoid symptoms, such as blood in your stool.
What causes constipation?
There are various underlying causes of constipation. These may consist of:
- Dietary changes, such as lower fiber or not drinking enough fluids
- A background in colon surgery
- Digestive system issues in the past, such as irritable bowel syndrome
- Pelvic floor disorders in the past
- Intestinal blockages
Additionally, taking specific drugs, such as:
- Antacids with calcium and aluminum in them
- Blockers of calcium channels
- Supplemental iron
- Opiate pain relievers
- Drugs for the treatment of Parkinson’s illness.
Constipation can occur when the colon’s motion slows down for no apparent cause.
How to Make Yourself Poop for Relief from Constipation
Constipation solutions including taking a fiber supplement, consuming foods high in fiber, and giving yourself a colonic massage could help things move along. Other treatments can involve using a laxative, suppository, or enema.
Constipation: What is it?
Less than three bowel motions per week or stool movements that are challenging to pass are signs of constipation. This can result in prolonged stooping and straining.
Constipation has a variety of underlying reasons and is frequently seen as a symptom rather than a true illness. Constipation may be brought on by dehydration or eating too few fiber-rich meals. Constipation can also be brought on by stress, hormonal changes, spinal injuries, muscular issues, malignancies, and structural issues with the digestive system, among other, more serious conditions.
A 2014 study found that the typical length of the entire gastrointestinal transit is between 10 and 73 hours. However, your exercise and eating routines, age, sex, and state of health all have an impact on how many bowel movements you have each day. There are no recommended minimum amount of bowel movements, however, going three or fewer times a week has the potential to be harmful.
Continue reading to find out more about how to treat both short-term and long-term constipation, as well as when you should seek medical counsel.
Advice for overcoming constipation quickly
The following quick remedies for constipation will help you have a bowel movement in as short as a few hours.
1. Take a fiber supplement, first.
If your constipation is brought on by a diet that is poor in fiber, fiber pills are easily accessible and effective in causing bowel movements. They function by giving your faces more volume or heft. This facilitates the movement of poop through the intestines and out of the body.
Fiber supplements are available offline and online. Here are a few typical examples:
- A polycarbophil calcium (FiberCon)
- Phylum methylcellulose (Metamucil, Consul) (Citrucel)
2. Consume meals to relieve constipation
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases states that eating meals high in fiber can help you feel less constipated (NIDDK).
Among the foods high in fiber are:
- Cereal or whole grain bread
- Full-fat spaghetti
- Fruits with a lot of fiber, such as apples, and bananas
- Leafy greens, broccoli, and other fibrous vegetables
- Brow risotto
- Lentils and beans
- Smashed peas
- Nuts like almonds, pecans, and walnuts
Drinking enough water will assist your stool to go through your system, so be sure to do so while consuming these items.
A good approach is to stay away from meals that might cause constipation worse, such as:
- Other low-fiber foods such as chips
- Boxed and frozen meals are examples of prepared foods.
- Fast food products
- Deli meats, hot dogs, and some freezer dinners are examples of processed foods.
3. Sip on some water.
Regular bowel movements require adequate fluids. An average of 1.8 liters, or seven to eight 8-ounce glasses, of clear fluids each day, is advised by researchers. Your size, sex, and whether you are pregnant or nursing can all affect how much your body actually needs. A large glass of water or another clear beverage may cause you to have a bowel movement if you are constipated and haven’t been drinking enough water.
4. Utilize a stimulant laxative.
Laxative stimulants might take up to 6 to 12 hours to start working. They work by constricting the intestines to force a bowel movement. Stimulants are available over-the-counter (OTC) at your neighborhood pharmacy. Popular choices comprise:
- Bisacodyl (Dulcolax, Ducodyl, Correctol)
- Sennosides of senna (Senokot)
The NIDDK states that severe constipation that is unresponsive to other treatments should be treated with laxative stimulants. Until all potential secondary causes of constipation have been ruled out, you should also avoid using laxatives.
5. Take an osmotic laxative
Osmotic laxatives function somewhat differently than stimulant laxatives. They are made to facilitate the passage of fluids through the colon. Several instances include:
- Magnesium hydroxy acetate (Phillips Milk of Magnesia)
- PEG, or polyethylene glycol (MiraLAX)
- Citrate of magnesium
- Lactulose (Kristalose)
Remember that osmotic laxatives often function a little more slowly than stimulant laxatives. They should start working in two to three days.
You can get stronger PEG with a doctor’s prescription (GoLYTELY, NuLYTELY).
6. Make use of a lubricant laxative
Mineral oil and other lubricant laxatives work by giving your intestines’ walls and stool mass a smooth coating. This makes it easier for faces to pass more readily through your colon and leave your body.
7. Use a softener for your stools.
Dehydration, which can result in hard stool, is one common cause of constipation. By removing water from your intestines, a stool softener, such as docusate sodium (Colace) or docusate calcium (Surfak), can moisten the stool. This allows the stool to exit your body more easily.
8. Perform an enema
Enemas come in a variety of varieties that you can test. Enemas function by allowing the faces to become soft enough to cause a bowel movement. Stools are pushed out of the rectum with the help of enemas. They are available for purchase online or in pharmacies.
- Enemas come in a variety of common forms.
- Phosphate of sodium (Fleet)
- Water-based enemas
9. Consider a suppository.
Rectal suppositories are one form of treatment for constipation. By softening the faces, these suppositories are placed into the rectum to aid in promoting bowel motions.
Glycerin or bisacodyl suppositories are typical varieties that you can purchase at your neighborhood pharmacy.
10. Squat to go to the bathroom.
The next time you have to go, bring a tiny footstool with you into the restroom. It can be easier to pass stool without straining if you put your feet up on a stool in front of the toilet while you poop, putting your body more or less in a squatting position as opposed to a seated position.
11. Take a workout.
Walking, yoga or light running can help you have more bowel movements by improving the blood flow to your belly.
12. Try getting a colon massage
People whose constipation is brought on by the sluggish transit of stools through the colon may find that manually massaging the colon helps to activate the bowels.
According to a study from 2021, people with chronic constipation may benefit from using an automatic belly massager to speed up the transit time of their stools.
13. Use natural cures
Some natural therapies, like taking probiotics, may help treat and prevent constipation. In fact, some studies have shown that taking these supplements increases the frequency of stools. Probiotics are generally thought to be safe, however, there are some circumstances in which they could not be. For instance, immunocompromised people shouldn’t usually use them.
Additionally, before ingesting any herbs or drinks to relieve constipation, you should consult a doctor. Clover, fennel, and senna, according to 2019 research, may assist with constipation, but herbal supplements may conflict with other over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications you may be using.
Advice for kids
A child who has fewer than two bowel motions each week is said to be constipated. Constipation in children can result in firm stools that are challenging to pass, just like it can in adults.
Globally, it is believed that 3% of children experience “functional constipation,” or constipation without a known underlying cause. You may aid your child in getting rid of constipation by encouraging them to exercise frequently and boosting their water and fluid consumption.
Small children who have completed toilet training may also benefit from daily, consistent, five to ten-minute sessions on the toilet, ideally right after meals.
You should visit a pediatrician if, after a week, your child’s condition has not improved. Children with constipation may also have the following additional signs, which necessitate prompt treatment:
- Abdominal squeezing
- Lack of appetite
- Slim down
- Constipation before your child turns a month old
Advice about pregnancy
Additionally typical during pregnancy is constipation, particularly in the third trimester. It might also happen soon after giving birth.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises increasing your fiber intake through meals in these circumstances so that you reach a daily minimum of 25 grimes. It’s crucial to boost your water intake along with your fiber intake.
When used briefly, stool softeners might be safe to use while pregnant. After making dietary modifications, if you still experience symptoms, consult a doctor to determine the safest course of action.
Treatment for sporadic v/s persistent constipation
First-line drugs, such as OTC laxatives or stool softeners, can help with occasional constipation. But persistent or chronic constipation can call for a prescription.
Another illness, such as irritable bowel syndrome, may be the source of constipation (IBS). If so, addressing the underlying issue may help your symptoms. Idiopathic constipation, which has an unidentified etiology or starts suddenly, is another possible type of constipation.
Possible therapeutic options include:
Idiopathic constipation or IBS sufferers may benefit from using linaclotide (Linzess) or plecanatide (Trulance), which can assist promote bowel regularity.
Lubiprostone (Amitiza), which by boosting fluid in the digestive tract can assist soften stools and increase bowel frequency.
Prucalopride (Recolor), helps those with chronic idiopathic constipation maintain bowel regularity.
It’s vital to discuss alternative treatments for chronic constipation with a doctor before taking prescription drugs for constipation because their long-term safety is up for debate.
Severe constipation therapy
A laxative stimulant may help those with severe constipation that doesn’t respond to dietary adjustments or conventional laxatives. Consult a doctor if you discover that you need to take laxatives in order to pass a bowel movement.
There may also be biofeedback therapy. You can benefit from this treatment to retrain your colon’s muscles to cause regular bowel movements.
Even though surgery is often viewed as a last resort, severe constipation can occasionally be related to an underlying medical issue that necessitates it… Examples include surgeries to correct a rectal prolapse or blockage or to remove the colon.
Lifestyle adjustments that can facilitate pooping
The aforementioned tips can aid in encouraging a speedy bowel movement to ease temporary discomfort. However, some of the lifestyle modifications listed below can also help you avoid constipation more long-term. Try to include this advice into your everyday routine for consistency:
Increase your intake of fiber if at all possible. Consume fresh produce, whole grains, lentils, and beans to increase your intake of fiber. Depending on your age, you should consume between 22 and 34 grimes of fiber daily. Start with a modest dose of a fiber supplement if you need to take one for chronic constipation, and then gradually increase it. Consuming a lot of fiber may make some people feel bloated.
If you can, try to work out most days of the week. This can involve going for a daily stroll, jog, bike ride, swim, or another sort of physical activity. Light exercise can keep the bowels healthy and promote appropriate circulation.
Drink a lot of liquids every day, primarily water and other clear liquids. At least eight 8-ounce glasses of clear liquids should be consumed each day.
Maintain stress control.
Try not to “hold in” your stool. Additionally, attempt to have your period at roughly the same time every day.
Whenever to visit a doctor
A person who experiences chronic constipation may find it difficult to concentrate on their regular activities and chores. Consult a doctor to rule out any serious causes if your constipation persists for more than a week and doesn’t improve with medication. If your constipation is accompanied by faintness, exhaustion, cramps, or spasms, consult a doctor immediately soon.
Constipation, whether it be short-term or long-term, can be uncomfortable and its symptoms don’t always appear when and where you expect them to.
Fortunately, the majority of constipation cases can be treated at home with self-care techniques. Call a doctor if your symptoms don’t go away or if you have discomfort or bleeding.
Less than three bowel motions per week are considered constipation, as are bowel movements that are challenging or difficult to evacuate without straining.
Increasing your fiber intake, using a laxative, using a suppository, or using a stool softener are all examples of home remedies for constipation. A colonic massage, mild exercise, or attempting the squat position might also be beneficial.
Consult a doctor about your symptoms if you often encounter constipation or if it lasts more than a week. They can perform tests to rule out other issues that could be contributing to your constipation and prescribe a medicine to ease it.
It could be wise to consult a doctor if you have less than three bowel motions per week, difficulties with your bowel movements, or other pain.
Consult a doctor right away if you get dizziness, exhaustion, cramps, or spasms in addition to your symptoms.