Did you know that you are considered medically constipated if you have the following symptoms:
- fewer than 3 bowel movements per week
- hard stools 25% or more of the time
- straining to have a bowel movement 25% or more of the time
How to Help Constipation: Start with Causes
There can be many causes of constipation, ranging from poor diet to pregnancy or a change in routine. Before you can know how to help constipation, you have to know the causes of constipation. Common causes include:
- not drinking enough water (usually 6-8 glasses per day)
- not enough fiber in the diet (about 35 grams per day)
- lack of regular exercise or mobility
- eating too much dairy
- overuse of laxatives (causes your digestion to become "lazy")
- disruption to regular diet or routine
The answer? "Lots!"
How to Help Constipation: Natural Solutions
Some of natural solutions that help constipation are very simple. For example, you can increase your water and fiber intake or start a regular exercise program. If you are traveling, you may need to pay even more attention to your water and fiber intake, as well as the amount of exercise you get.
If you take medication that causes dry mouth or is a diuretic, you may need to drink more water and take in more fiber than usual.
If you have become dependent on laxatives, which can actually cause your digestive system to shut down or become less active, you can transition away from the laxatives by adding more fiber and water to your diet. In addition, taking 2-4 acidophilus capsules in the morning, 2-4 bifidus capsules at night, and 2-4 enzymes with meals can help wake up your digestion. Expect to see results from this regimen within a few days (being sure to use spring water or well water to take these supplements). Spectrabiotic, a full-spectrum probiotic, often works well in an "emergency" situation ... when you really can't go!
One sure key to success is an open mind. Be open to using multiple natural solutions when you consider how to help constipation. You may want to increase your water and fiber intake one week. The following week you might add in probiotics or enzymes. Finally, top off your new healthy regimen with a short period of exercise each day!
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