Constipation is a health problem that happens when bowel movements are either not frequent enough or become more difficult and involve straining or pain. At some time, almost everyone will experience a bout of constipation. The most common cause of constipation is poor health habits, so home remedies for constipation mostly center on addressing the diet and lifestyle changes an individual can make to bring about a bowel movement as soon as possible and to avoid the problem in the future. Over-the-counter medicines can be used as possible home remedies for constipation as well. In most cases, problems with constipation do respond to home treatment involving diet or exercise changes or the use of a mild laxative.
A diet lacking in enough fiber is the most common cause of constipation. Home remedies for constipation that include following a high-fiber diet can be very effective. The soluble and insoluble fiber found in fruits, whole grains and vegetables will help the body form a soft stool and move it through the intestines more quickly. Fresh fruits such as pears, oranges, papaya, apples, and bananas are known to help constipation; dried fruits such as figs, prunes and raisins are very high in fiber and work on the bowels as well. Adding whole-grain breads or bran cereals to the diet also is an effective home treatment for constipation.
Dehydration is a very common cause of constipation, and increasing fluid intake is one of the more helpful home remedies for constipation. Keeping well hydrated by drinking enough water and fruit juices helps the colon soften stools and move them out of the body more easily. Drinking warm water or other warm liquids in the morning can help with constipation. An extra two to four glasses of water a day, in addition to the usually recommended six to eight glasses, is one of the most frequently suggested home remedies for constipation.
One of the most beneficial lifestyle changes an individual can make when dealing with constipation is to increase his or her exercise level. Doctors don’t have a clear understanding of why a lack of physical activity can bring on constipation, but it is commonly seen in people who either do not exercise or are unable to exercise. Walking, running or other kinds of exercise are generally effective ways to deal with constipation.
Other than diet and lifestyle changes, over-the-counter medicines are also useful home remedies. A gentle stool softener or mild laxative can relieve the symptoms of constipation. Doctors recommend caution in using these, because individuals can become dependent on them.