Surprising Ways To Ease Constipation
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The technical definition for constipation is having less than 3 bowel movements a week, but how often you ‘go’ is highly personal and varies greatly from person to person. Some only have a 1 or 2 bowel movements a week and others have multiple each day, as long as your toilet pattern doesn't stray too far from your normal routine, you’re probably just fine. But, if you are struggling with constipation and having difficulty on the toilet then take a read of today’s blog at some of the best natural (and many surprising!) ways to ease constipation.
One of the world's oldest fibre crops, renowned for its excellent health benefits. It is so well loved throughout history for it’s bowel regulating abilities one 8th century king made it law for his subjects to regularly eat linseed to keep healthy. Linseed is a form of laxative that adds bulk to the stool, making it softer and easier to pass. Try taking linseed ground linseed sprinkled over your breakfast in your smoothie or baked into some muffins. Take linseed alongside an increased fluid intake and you might just notice more regular toilet trips.
Proper hydration is the key to full body health but is vital for a healthy bowel. A healthy bowel movement is about 75% water, constipation can occur when the stool water content falls below 70%, this causes the stool to become too hard for the body to pass. Keeping hydrated is key to reducing constipation as fluid keeps the food you eat moving throughout the intestines, also keeping them smooth and flexible too. Find it hard to keep hydrated? Why not treat yourself to one of these hydration reminder bottles, so you can always keep on top of your water intake. A glass of hot water with lemon or even a herbal tea can be another great way to up your liquid intake and ease constipation. Drinking hot water helps your intestines to contract and push food through your system effectively
Psyllium is a soluble fibre derived from the seeds of Plantago ovata, an herb grown mainly in India. It has excellent water solubility and because of this, it can help ease constipation. Psyllium can absorb water and become a thick, viscous compound that resists digestion in the small intestine. It works by increasing the bulk of stool and binding to partially digested food in the small intestine. You can take Psyllium husk in powder/loose form or in a capsule for more convenience
Orange juice, broccoli and popcorn (high fibre foods)
Orange juice can provide your body with more fibre to stimulate the bowels however prune juice is proven to be a more effective juice for relieving constipation. Prunes are high in dietary fibre, but much of it is lost in the juice-making processes. Instead, prune juice acts as a laxative because it contains sorbitol, magnesium, and potassium, all of which improve bowel function. Just like prunes, broccoli is high in fibre and can reduce constipation if included into your diet, pair this with an increased water intake as this will make the fibre in the broccoli more efficient. Popcorn is another high fibre snack you can include into your diet to encourage bowel movement and reduce constipation, be sure its air popped and not popcorn laden with butter as the high fat content can worsen constipation. Other high fibre options include oats, grains and fruit and veg like pears, avocado, peas carrots
Drinking Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a powerful natural laxative. It has a high fibre content as well as anti-inflammatory properties. It’s gel texture helps lubricate and soften stools to help them with a smooth exit. Aloe is also rich in nutrients and vitamins that help stimulate the digestive tract for healthy and regular bowel movements. Try this drinking aloe to easily incorporate it into your diet
There are a variety of essential oils that can improve constipation, the top 5 from healthline.com are:
Ginger oil - "Used to improve digestion and nausea, it has digestive stimulatory effects that can increase gastric motility, preventing and treating constipation. To relieve constipation with ginger oil, mix 3 to 5 drops of ginger oil with 1 ounce of carrier oil like coconut oil or grapeseed oil. Massage the mixture onto the abdomen. Do this two to three times a day as needed."
Fennel oil - "Fennel seed is a powerful digestive stimulant that can act as a laxative when ingested, relieving constipation quickly. Fennel essential oil is most effective as a digestive stimulant when mixed with a small amount of carrier oil and massaged onto the abdomen. Do this two to three times a day as needed."
Peppermint oil- "Peppermint contains antispasmodic properties which can relax the muscles in the digestive tract, making the bowels looser. Combine 2 drops of peppermint essential oil with 1 teaspoon of warmed carrier oil, like coconut or grapeseed oil. Massage this mixture onto the abdomen and inhale the aroma. The massage will increase movement of the bowel, and the inhalation will help relax those muscles. Do this two to three times a day until your constipation is relieved. Studies have demonstrated that inhaling oils can be as effective as applying them directly to the skin."
Rosemary oil- "Contains spasmolytic effects which means it relaxes the muscles this can jump start the digestive system getting things moving quicker. Inhaling rosemary oil can have all the desired effects that you’d need, though some people also use it as a massage oil for aromatherapy benefits. You can mix the oil into a massage lotion, or you can add a few drops to an air diffuser to get the full benefits."
Lemon oil- "Contains a high number of anti-oxidants which improve digestion and reduce inflammation, both factors can allow the digestion process to flow more smoothly. Mix lemon oil into a carrier oil, and massage it into the skin. You can also put lemon oil in an air diffuser and inhale the scent of the oil to achieve the desired results. Avoid exposure to sunlight when applying lemon essential oil."
Pooping using a stool
Did you know that we as humans are actually designed to squat when we poop? Our ancestors did it and so do most of the World’s population today. Squatting puts less strain on the large intestine and is the best position for bowel movements. This is how we are actually designed to poo. WebMD says Stool stays in your rectum - a collecting chamber at the end of your large intestine. A U-shaped muscle called the puborectalis wraps around your rectum. This muscle keeps the lower part of your bowel bent to hold the stool inside until you're ready to go. It works much like a kink in a garden hose that prevents water from getting out. The slight bend in your colon stops you from letting go and having an accident." Read all about it on our blog.
Abdominal massage can be really useful in easing constipation and trapped wind. Massage can promote contraction of the intestine and helps speed up the time it takes for stool to reach the anus. Abdominal massage can also break up and soften stool so it can be moved through the intestines more smoothly. There are plenty of great guides and videos on how to perform massages to ease constipation, so why not give it a go?
How constipation affects the pelvic floor
A large number of women are affected by constipation and this puts a huge amount of strain on the pelvic floor. Chronic straining - because of constipation - weakens the pelvic floor muscles. The rectum is very close to the bladder and when it is full of hard stool it can press on the bladder which reduces the bladder's capacity. This can cause you to leak urine. Weakened pelvic floor muscles can also lead to faecal incontinence where soft stool can leak out around the hard constipated stool.
So treat your constipation and take the pressure of your pelvic floor... why not try our award winning Kegel Weights add some extra oomph to your Kegel exercises. They are the dumbbell for your pelvic floor and help to quickly and safely strengthen your pelvic floor so you can say goodbye to leaks and worries.
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