You must know that feeling when nature calls and you have to answer. Well, your body knows what is best for you and when it tells you to go to the bathroom there is a good reason for it. Believe it or not, pooping is as necessary as eating. Unfortunately, everybody does not have this privilege. Some of you might have a hard time getting their rectum empty and this condition is commonly known as constipation. If you suffer from it, do not be worried. You are not alone, almost 5 to 20% of the general population suffers from constipation.

So what exactly does constipation mean, clinically? According to the U.S Library of Medicine, constipation is a condition when a person has three or less than three bowel movements in a week associated with stools that are hard, dry and is painful to pass. If it happens occasionally to you, there is nothing serious to worry about. Just a few diet and lifestyle changes will get rid of it. However, constipation becomes a matter of utmost concern, if it becomes long standing as it could lead to several diseases from internal fermentation of stool and release of toxic gases. Prompt remedies and treatment should be taken to stimulate bowel movement and release such toxic build up. What all can you do to treat the condition, you may wonder! Well, this article will tell you everything you should do to get it right. Read the whole article to know more.

  1. Home remedies for constipation
  2. Fennel seeds for constipation
  3. Prunes for constipation
  4. Figs for constipation
  5. Flax seeds for constipation
  6. Kiwi fruit for constipation
  7. Castor oil for constipation
  8. Ispaghula (Psyllium) for constipation
  9. Oats for constipation
  10. Probiotics for constipation
  11. Tips for reducing and avoiding constipation

Whenever the word constipation comes to mind, usually people think in one direction i.e. toward laxatives. Although they do work, there are a whole lot of other cheaper and milder options, which could give you an easy passage of stool. Unsurprisingly for all these options, you don't even need to go to a pharmacy. No need to buy stuff because almost everything is available in your household only. Let's explore what all home remedies you can do and use:

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Fennel seeds are also known as sauf in Hindi. You may have noticed fennel seeds being served after a delightful lunch or dinner. Did you ever spare a minute and give it a thought? Here, lies the reason, fennel seeds contain high fibre content and has laxative activity, which softens stools and promotes their easy passage through the alimentary canal. Along with this, it has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory (reduces swelling), hepatoprotective (prevents liver problems), antioxidative properties and many more to the list.

They are widely used for medicinal purposes to cure digestive, endocrine, reproductive and respiratory issues. Moreover, fennel seeds also have vital importance in Indian culinary and other diverse cuisines. It is also used to make herbal tea. Well, this can be attributed to its sweet aroma. Adding to its unique aroma, it is commonly used as a mouth freshener too.

Amazed, right? Certainly, fennel seeds should be the go-to home remedy if you want to get rid of constipation. Here is how you could use fennel seeds in various ways:

1st method:

  • Take 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds, chew it slowly
  • Consume fennel seeds 4 to 5 times a day until you get relief from constipation

2nd method:

  • Take 250 gram of fennel seeds, slightly roast it
  • Blend the seeds to make a powder out of it
  • Store the powder in an airtight container
  • Eat 1 teaspoon of fennel seed powder with lukewarm water, three times a day until you get a normal bowel movement

3rd method:

  • Take 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds and 1 cup of water
  • Make the water boil along with fennel seeds
  • Drain the water after a few minutes, enjoy the fennel infused water
  • Drink this concoction 3 times a day to get rid of constipation

Prunes are dried plums. Those who still do not recognize them, prunes look similar to dates but are different in properties. They are highly rich in fibre content (6.1 gram/100 gram) along with abundant phenolic compounds. These constituents of prunes attribute to its stimulatory effect on the large intestine, which results in easy passage of stool from the rectum.

A study done in the UK to assess the gastrointestinal effects of prunes demonstrated that prunes increased stool frequency and improve stool consistency significantly. It was further indicated that those prunes are as effective as psyllium husk in treating constipation.

Now, you know the various digestive benefits of prunes. If you genuinely want to defecate without difficulty, consume prunes regularly. Here are the various ways in which you can take prunes:

  • Take 2 to 3 prunes in the morning and eat it with lukewarm water
  • Repeat the consumption of prunes in the night, before going to bed
  • You could also eat prunes with lukewarm milk

With an increasing incidence of constipation among people, figs are a welcome rescue. Interestingly, fig is the first fruit cultivated by humans in a subtropical climate. It is rich in simple sugars, minerals, water and fibre content. It also has an abundant amount of potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, manganese and sodium with minimal fat content. With all these benefits, you should definitely snack on figs, even if you are not suffering from constipation. But if it is a case of constipation, consumption of figs becomes a must. According to a study, figs have a laxative effect and increase the weight of stool, thereby making its passage easier. Here are a few ways to add figs in your daily routine:

  • Eat a whole fig fruit without peeling it in breakfast or evening snack
  • Eat dried figs with lukewarm milk before going to bed
  • You could also make a paste of dried figs and eat 1 tablespoon daily with milk before going to bed
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Flax seeds are one of the most beneficial seeds for human consumption. They contain several medicinal properties that aid in an overall improvement in health. Flax seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acid, polyunsaturated fatty acids and soluble fibres. But, when it comes to providing relief from constipation, soluble fibres present in these seeds take all the credit.

In vivo studies (animal based)reveal the dual effectiveness of flax seeds in relieving constipation as well as diarrhoea. It has also been claimed that flax seeds have laxative properties, which is responsible for maintaining normal bowel movement. To make the best use of flax seeds, use them in the following ways:

1st method:

  • Roast 250 grams of flax seeds
  • Consume 1 tablespoon of flax seeds daily with water or with milk two times a day

2nd method:

  • Roast 250 gram of flax seeds
  • Grind it in a mixer grinder to make its powder
  • Eat 1 tablespoon of flaxseed powder with water or milk two times a day

3rd method:

  • Another effective way of consuming flax seeds is adding a handful of flax seeds into your smoothie bowl, fruit juices or cereal bowl

Another fruit in the list with high fibre content, which in turn increases bowel movement, is kiwi fruit. This sweet-sour fruit contains 2 to 3 gram of fibre per 100 gram. It also contains a biological compound known as actinidin, which helps in increasing motility (ability to allow movement) of the gastrointestinal tract.  A clinical study including 54 people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), demonstrated that regular consumption of kiwi fruits can help improve bowel function and decrease colon transit time within 4 weeks.

Another clinical study, including 30 individuals with constipation also reported notable improvement in defecation on increased intake of kiwi fruit in the diet.

So, if you also want to get rid of constipation, encourage yourself to include kiwi in your diet thereby increasing your overall dietary fibre intake and relief from constipation.

In case you are suffering from consistent constipation, try eating at least 2 kiwi fruits per day or add kiwi fruits to your smoothie bowls. It will increase your stool frequency, stool volume, and soften your stools promoting their easy passage. What else could you need, eh?

Castor oil is extracted from castor beans and is considered as a powerful laxative. It stimulates the gastrointestinal tract and induces defecation. When you take castor oil orally, it tends to inhibit water absorption from the large intestine and stimulates intestinal movement by releasing neurotransmitters. However, sometimes, the patient may end up with abdominal cramping too. Moreover, castor oil may also cause uterine contraction, thereby add ing risks to your pregnancy. So, if you are pregnant and having constipation, switch to another home remedy, there are a bunch of them with copious nutritional benefits.

If you are an otherwise healthy individual, you can definitely consider castor oil as an alternative for constipation. Here is how you can make use of castor oil for constipation remediation:

  • Take 1 teaspoon of castor oil and consume it with a cup of lukewarm water
  • You can also add castor oil in any fruit juice if you dislike its natural taste
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Ispaghula or psyllium husk is a commonly used laxative amidst Indian population. Ispaghula has a very high water binding capacity, hence it makes the undigested food easy to pass. This special husk also gets fermented in the colon and has a stimulatory effect on the motility of the gastrointestinal tract, forcing the undigested food to get out of the gut early as well as easily. Now, coming to how you can use ispaghula for defecation, here are the steps to be followed:

  • Take 1 cup of water and 2 tablespoons of ispaghula
  • Add the husk to the water and leave it for 2 minutes
  • Drink the whole ispaghula mixed water
  • In case of severe constipation, have this drink 2 times a day for easy passage of stool

Oats are one of the healthiest foods you can add to your daily routine. They are not only delectable but also nutritious. They contain ample amounts of fibres, which make them an excellent remedy for constipation relief. Oats being a versatile cereal, you can be creative with them as much as you want. Add them to your smoothie bowls, cookies or salads or you can just cook them the old fashioned way and make an oats porridge for yourself. Here are some easy recipes that can help you include oats in your diet:

Ist method:

  • Take 2 handfuls of oats and 250 ml of warm milk in a bowl
  • Add few berries, ripe bananas, flax seeds to it
  • Enjoy the healthy bowl for breakfast

2nd method:

You can also make porridge from oats

  • Take 2 handfuls of oats and cook it with water or 250ml of milk
  • Add ripe bananas into it till all the items get caramelised
  • Enjoy the porridge by sprinkling some cinnamon powder

A probiotic is a liquid rich in beneficial living bacteria like Lactobacillus, which improves gastrointestinal activity and lowers the pH of intestine. Furthermore, probiotics also contain anti-inflammatory (reduce swelling) and immunomodulatory (enhance immune response) properties, which work on the digestive problems related to dysmotility (lack/absence of proper function of intestinal muscles).

Another extremely important role of probiotics is to correct the altered intestinal environment caused by the internal microflora like the presence of methane gas in the gut, which can slow down the food transport. In simple word, probiotics enhance waste elimination from your gut by promoting the overall health of your gastrointestinal system.

Apart from the above-mentioned remedies, following are some easy to repeat tips for enhancing your bowel movement and with it the passage of food through intestinal cavity:

  • Drink plenty of water: How can anyone underestimate the role of water in our health? Water is a vital liquid that maintains and regulates normal body functions. When it comes to digestion, adequate availability of water is the key. Water helps soften stools and flush out the undigested waste from intestines. Along with this, water is also needed for proper digestion and absorption of food. So, it is best to keep yourself well hydrated to maintain the optimal functioning of your digestive system. (Read more: Benefits of drinking water in the morning)
  • Fibre rich diet: If you pay attention to most of the home remedies mentioned above you might note that a lot of them are rich in fibre. Fibre rich diet will help provide bulk to your stools and also help soften them so they can be easily expelled from your gut. Furthermore, fibres also promote the development of healthy microflora in your gut, which, in turn, are beneficial for healthy digestion and absorption of food. The recommended daily fibre intake is at least 25-30 gram per day. Few rich sources of fibres are whole grains, legumes, green leafy vegetables and fruits.
  • Physical activity: 'You should be physically active to maintain good health’, is a very common saying among people. Well, there are valid reasons behind the saying. Regular physical activity helps you burn all the excess calories that you take all through the day so there is a balance between your energy intake and expenditure. When it comes to constipation, increased physical activity has a direct impact on bowel movement. Ideally, you should do up to 30 minutes of exercise daily, but if you remain constipated most of the time, increase your physical activity duration in order to improve your digestive and overall health.


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