There is nothing sexy about being backed up. Nothing pleasant, nothing healthy, nothing comfortable. While it’s a fairly common occurrence for many people, it’s can be incredibly toxic, as well. If we are frequently constipated, we can actually leach the toxic waste from the literal, ahem, solids, back into our bodies. But don’t worry, there are many practices we can incorporate into our daily lives that should alleviate and prevent constipation as much as possible.
This is essentially the number-one remedy we should consider for any and all ailments, but definitely in times of intestinal duress. Water lubricates our bodies, including our bowel movements. A hydrated stool is a moving stool: dehydration can cause the stool to literally harden in place within our intestines, there to stay, like a brick. Once this happens, it’s time to bring in the big guns, or visit Urgent Care. So let’s stay hydrated and not let it get that far.
Move your body to move your guts.
It’s super helpful, with digestion in general, to do a little post-meal movement. When we consume a large meal or something high in carbohydrates (concentrated energy), it’s great to go for a brisk walk or plan a workout of some kind after 30 minutes to an hour so that your body knows how to allocate that energy and begin digesting. Exercise also helps constipation by minimizing the time it takes food to move through our system, namely the large intestine. In this way, our body doesn’t have the time to absorb as much water from the stool, leaving it, as we mentioned earlier, properly lubed up for an easy exit. You’re welcome for that image.
Digestive enzymes help food digest better before it reaches your colon, so that your body absorbs the most nutrients as well as breaks down the food properly. For this reason, enzymes help with gas and bloating associated with constipation and indigestion as well. Our pancreas pumps out the enzymatic juices that help us to properly digest, but for many, it’s not always functioning optimally, which is where an enzyme could come in handy.
Try non-fermentable or soluble fiber supplements.
Fiber is crucial for comfortable, regular bowel movements. Insoluble fibers like grains and veggies add bulk and roughage to the stool, making it a clean sweep with definitive movement. Soluble fibers, like fruits and legumes, hydrate and gel, making for smooth, easy movements. Psyllium husk is a fantastic non-fermentable fiber supplement that is amazing for constipation without causing any other digestive duress. You can take in in a pill or quickly down it mixed with water. Don’t wait too long, or else a gel forms, and it’s hard to choke that down!
Essentially, this is also fiber, but it’s fiber that feeds the good bacteria in our gut, which we need on the regular, especially if we want to get the most out of our probiotic supplements. Alliums like garlic, leeks, and onions are fantastic, but bananas, white potatoes, as well as cooked and then cooled white rice, sunchokes, and chicory are all fantastic examples of prebiotic fiber that keeps your good bugs well and fed.
Careful with this one, as it can be a powerful laxative if abused. Magnesium citrate is also known as a type of osmotic laxative. They are different from stimulant laxatives because they don’t cause spasms the way stimulants do, which is like a jumpstart for your intestines. They help to move water and fluids through the colon, which rushes things along … and right out.
In desperate times, try an enema.
This is something that may be performed at a doctor’s office, but there are also at-home kits. If things have escalated to the point of considering an enema, meaning it’s been days or even a week sans bowel movement, we recommend talking to a professional. However, enemas are fairly simple to administer, though intimidating and may take some practice. It’s essentially an injection of water to the lower bowel in hopes of rehydrating and moving stagnant stool. If you’re considering doing this at home, speak with a professional first to avoid mistakes or injuries.