What is Constipation?
Constipation is a medical condition that occurs when a person has difficulty passing his or her bowel movements or has difficulty in emptying the large bowels in the stomach. There can be various reasons for such a health condition. One reason could be that the person’s stool might be passing too slowly from the colon, making the entire process of excreting this bowel very slow. It is believed that the slower the process of the movement in the colon, the more water is going to be absorbed by the colon, and the harder the bowel. Although there is no defined amount of bowel movement to be certain that the person is suffering from constipation, it is said that if the bowel movement happens less than three times in a week, the person is said to be suffering from constipation.
Certain times it is found that one’s constipation could be a result of some sort of blockage in the large intestine. In such cases, this issue cannot be treated with homemade remedies of Ayurveda. These cases are cases of serious medical attention, and it is very important to contact the doctor immediately in such cases. In other instances, constipation might also be a result of less intake of water or any sort of fiber. In such cases, the stool hardens and often doesn’t want to come out. These cases can be easily treated with home remedies or Ayurveda and do not create a lot of problems.
Symptoms of Constipation
The main symptoms of constipation are as follows :
- The first and foremost sign of constipation is when one faces medium to severe difficulty in passing stool. This might be a painful experience as well. Initially, the amount of pain while passing stool might be less, but with time when the problem develops furthermore, the amount of pain often increases.
- Another symptom of constipation is when one strains hard while passing the stool. One usually has to apply bare minimum efforts in the passing of stool, but when one has to strain really hard and force the stool to come out, one definitely has constipation. During this procedure, one might also end up facing normal to severe bleeding from the rectum area. Such cases might go fatal and requires immediate medical attention.
- One of the most basic signs of constipation is when a person is observed to pass less stool than usual. In these cases, the bowel movement is restricted due to various different reasons and results in stomach pain, nausea, and other symptoms.
- Most of the time, it is observed that often when people suffer from constipation, they end up passing a lumpy, dry, or hard type of stool. In such cases, the entire bowel that is stored does not pass out properly, resulting in constipation, which might get severe at times and might need immediate medical attention.
Constipation also comes along with other kinds of symptoms that do not necessarily happen in the very beginning but might happen after the problem recurring multiple times. Such symptoms include :
- Severe sort of constipation might result in severe pain in the abdomen. The suffering might not only be restricted to pain, but also it might cause very painful cramps in the lower abdomen.
- While suffering from constipation, one might feel very bloated, and in worse cases, the person might also experience nausea or vomiting.
- A very common result of constipation is the loss of appetite. Unless the bowel movement is clear, one does not feel like consuming any food.
Complications due to Constipation
Constipation is an extremely uncomfortable feeling, but it does not include some massive risk factor like other brutal diseases. Although in severe cases, constipation might get fatal, but if a diagnosis is done in an early stage, it can be easily cured with simple medication and lifestyle changes. However, sometimes constipation becomes a symptom of some other severe diseases or underlying conditions as a colorectal cancer. If not so, constipation can cause further damage, which can be extremely brutal and painful.
Some kinds of damages that severe constipation can cause are as follows:
- Severe constipation often results in straining of the rectum because the stool does not come out easily with normal pressure. In such cases, the condition often results in rectal bleeding. Rectal bleeding might get severely painful. In such cases, sometimes there is so much swelling that the person cannot even sit properly.
- Constipation, when sometimes becomes serious, might also result in anal fissure. An anal fissure is a small tear around the anus which happens due to the passing of very hard stool or pressure. Anal fissures are very painful and might often result in severe bleeding and burning.
- Severe kind of constipation sometimes also results in symptomatic hemorrhoids, which are known as piles in colloquial language. Hemorrhoids are nothing but swollen, inflamed blood vessels in the anus area. This again can be very painful, and giving extreme pressure can result in bleeding.
- Piles or constipation may also result in fecal impaction. Fecal impaction occurs when dried stool stagnates and collects in the rectum and anus portion of the body, potentially leading to a mechanical obstruction.
- Persistent constipation might result in a reduced quality of life and also may result in severe depression.
Causes of Constipation
- One basic cause of constipation could be a lack of fiber in the diet. People who eat more fiber are less prone to constipation. The reason behind this is that fiber helps in regulating the bowel movement, more so when combined with proper water intake. Foods rich in fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, lentils, among others.
- Another cause of constipation might be physical inactivity. Our body needs a regular dose of some sort of exercise or movement, which is very important to facilitate regular bowel movements. In case of inactivity, the bowel movement might not happen smoothly, which might result in constipation.
- Constipation does not only occur from irregular food habits, it also can occur from some medications like pain relief drugs, calcium channel blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, among others.
- A very simple reason for constipation might be aging. With passing age, the prevalence of constipation increases. The reason behind this phenomenon is still not clearly known, but it might so happen that due to age, the food takes longer to pass through the digestive tract resulting in constipation.
- It has been observed that 40% of women experience constipation during their pregnancy. Constipation in pregnancy can occur from hormonal changes, physical changes like when the uterus grows in size and exerts pressure on the walls of the intestines, or dietary changes that happen due to pregnancy. Women also tend to take iron supplements during pregnancy. This might as well result in constipation.
Constipation during Pregnancy
It has been a very normal pregnancy complaint that a pregnant woman often faced irregular bowel movements that can cause a bloated, gassy, and clogged-up feeling in the abdomen. Constipation usually comes to action in the second or third month of pregnancy when the progesterone level rises. Progesterone is responsible for allowing the muscles in one’s bowels to relax, allowing the food to hang around longer in the digestive tract. This gives the body time to absorb the nutrients from the bowels and direct them to the baby. The uterus also increases in size, causing pressure on the walls of the intestine and resulting in constipation.
Side Effects of Constipation during Pregnancy
Although constipation is not very risky, it might have several side effects. These side effects might also occur during pregnancy and bring in other complications that are unnecessary. Such complications might include severe abdominal pain, which might result in cramps and various other problems. It might also result in repetitive rectal bleeding if it gets too severe and might end up causing a lot of pain and trauma. Too much constipation might often result in piles, which might get very fetal and painful and may cause trouble with the pregnancy.
Natural Constipation relief remedies during pregnancy
1.] Use of Harad – Harad or Haritaki is a commonly found Indian herb which had many interesting health benefits. It is known that the oil which is obtained from this hern is extremely helpful to improve the stool transit time and health of the gastrointestinal tract. This is what actually is good and clean bowel movements and facilitates super easy removal of stool when any person is suffering from acute constipation. Excessive consumption of Harad may also cause diarrhea, so one has to be very careful while using this herb. This herb can be consumed in the form of a paste at night. Harad acts as a laxative and softens the stool, and improves the bowel movements giving fast results and relief from constipation.
2.] Use of Lemon – Lemon is a fantastic source that helps in digestion and helps in flushing out different kinds of toxins present in the body. It also helps in flushing out undigested food from the body. If lemon juice can be added in a glass of warm water and drunk in the morning during pregnancy, it can actually improve and stimulate the sense of taste and smell and induce bowel contraction, which will help to pass out the stool in an easy manner. It also helps in softening the stool, which comes out easily and does not need the application of much pressure. Water, even with the lemon juice, facilitates easy movement of the bowels and cleans and flushes out the stool from the stomach completely.
3.] Drinking a good amount of water – Water is a very important remedy for constipation relief. Water has extreme levels of health benefits, and regular intake of the proper amount of water will keep half of the problems of the body away. Water can act as a life savior, especially during pregnancy, as it plays a miraculous effect on constipation and piles. A minimum of ten to twelve glasses of water is required to be consumed every day for a good and healthy bowel movement. Drinking ten to twelve glasses of water helps to get the desired amount of water in the body, which in turn will start softening the already hard stool and will also ensure that the food is passing swiftly through the digestive tract, out of the body. Due to the presence of water, the stool remains soft and reduces the chances of piles. Adequate water intake also contributes to the proper digestion of food, which will result in a soft and good stool.
4.] Consumption of citrus fruits – During pregnancy, it is very important to understand the health benefits of different kinds of food and consume the good ones regularly, both for good nutrition of the mother and the baby. One of these superfoods is an orange. Although any kind of citrus fruit is beneficial, orange holds some special health benefits due to the presence of the right quantity of vitamin C in it. Orange also has high-fibre content in it and provides the right amount of roughage to the body facilitating good bowel movements. A massive reason for constipation could be lack of fiber in the body in one’s daily routine of food consumption. Drinking pure orange juice, eating slices of orange, and or eating oranges in the form of salads and other kinds of dressings during pregnancy will be very beneficial to prevent constipation and piles.
5.] Consumption of Prune Juice – Prune juice is one of the most effective solutions to the problem of constipation during pregnancy. Prune has extreme forms of health benefits and can genuinely create a major difference if consumed as a part of a regular diet by a pregnant woman. Prune juice needs to be consumed at least five to six times a day to facilitate proper bowel movements. Prune juice actually helps to soften the stool and also helps it to pass easily through the digestive tracts. Consumption of prune juice in concentrated form might be a little difficult, as due to its pungent taste, many people does not like it but to enhance its flavor, it can easily be consumed with an additional proportion of water and a spoon of lime juice. Water and lime also have properties which help to cure constipation, and prune juice adds an additional twist to it and makes it more healthy and beneficial.
6.] Consumption of Flaxseed – The benefits of flaxseed are endless and it can prove very important for the treatment of piles during pregnancy. Flaxseeds have infinite health benefits and should be added as a regular part of a diel especially during pregnancy. Flaxseed is very right in dietary fibres which is very important for protection of proper roughage in the body. The moment, the body receives a good amount of roughage, the stool automatically becomes softer and passes out easily without any pressure or difficulty. Flaxseed can be consumed with ten to twelve glasses of water, which will provide enough hydration to the body and keep the stool soft and moist. If one does not prefer consuming flaxseed, one can also consider consumption of flaxseed oil, which is equally beneficial.
7.] Consumption of Cod Liver Oil – Cod Liver oil is known to be the godfather of digestive health. It can be taken as one of the best natural solutions of constipation in pregnancy. Cod Liver oil contains high levels of Omega-3 essential fatty acids. It is said that the human body is not capable of producing this Omega-3 fatty acid on its own but is known to help reduce inflammations in the intestines. It is also known to regulate the hormone called prostaglandin, which is a very important hormone and needs to be regulated for maximum movement of the bowel content and facilitation of proper removal of stool from the body. Cod Liver Oil can be consumed raw, or with water, or mixed with cereals or any kind of food. Consumption of one spoon full of cod liver oil regularly will prevent constipation and piles.
8.] Consumption of Coconut Oil – Coconut oil has multiple health benefits and is known to be one of the most important ingredients in ayurveda in India. Coconut oil can act as an excellent source of relief for constipation during pregnancy. It is known to be a healthy fat that helps to soften the stool and prevents one from having constipation or piles. It has an abundance of medium-chain fatty acids which provides super fast energy for the cells in one’s intestines. It is also known to boost metabolism, stimulate bowels and loosen or soften the stool. Coconut oil provides a lubricating effect to the stool, making its movement much easier throughout the digestive tract. One can consume one teaspoon of raw edible coconut oil directly or can mix it with any kind of food and eat it. In case of extreme difficulty one can also consume two teaspoons of coconut oil in one day.
9.] Consumption of Kiwi fruit – It is very important to try to treat constipation during pregnancy with homemade natural remedies. Consumption of any citrus fruit during pregnancy helps in preventing constipation. One such fruit is kiwi. Kiwi has extreme levels of health benefits and if consumed regularly gives wonderful relief from constipation, especially during pregnancy. One fun fact about this remedy is that it is a very tasty fruit and can be consumed with joy to enjoy its true health benefits. Kiwi contains a rich amount of dietary fibres which help in providing roughage. Presence of this roughage helps to soften the stool and helps it to smoothly pass out of the body. One kiwi a day can provide very good results as a remedy for constipation but if someone is extremely affected, she can consume up to two to three kiwis per day.
10.] Consumption of Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar can be another amazing solution to control constipation during pregnancy. It is said the apple cider vinegar is high on acetic acid which can greatly help to improve digestion. Once digestion happens properly, the stool automatically becomes soft and passes out easily. One can mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar along with one tablespoon of honey in one big glass of warm water and drink it regularly, twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Following this regime one will definitely see great results in no time.
11.] Consumption of Triphala – Triphala is the native or Indian name for Terminalia Chebula. It is an excellent remedy for constipation, especially during one’s pregnancy. It is nothing but a fruit that helps facilitate proper digestion and passing of stool. One may also consume it by mixing it in one’s tea, or one may take one-fourth of a teaspoon of it with half a teaspoon of coriander seeds or one-fourth teaspoon of cardamom seeds and grind it into a fine powder. This can be consumed raw three to four times throughout the day. Triphala is rich in glycoside that is very rich in laxative properties. Cardamom and Coriander are also very useful in relieving flatulence and indigestion. The laxative properties present in triphala is very useful for the proper movement of the stool in the digestive tract. It softens the stool and helps it pass out easily without applying much pressure.
12.] Consumption of milk and ghee- Sometimes, we fail to realize that the most simple remedies for constipation are present very much in our own homes. One of the sort after processes of relieving constipation is by using milk and ghee. One to two spoonfuls of pure organic ghee can be added to a warm glass of milk and can be drunk either regularly or on alternate days. Doing this will make one’s stool soft and greasy and help it to pass out easily without creating any sort of pressure. The slippery texture of ghee acts as a laxative and facilitates easy bowel movement through the digestive tract. It makes an excellent solution for constipation during pregnancy as well.
Piles or constipation might get very painful and fatal but does not include any form of terrific risk factor. The above mentioned is a list of twelve natural ingredients that helps to prevent or cure constipation naturally. The problem of constipation can be solved by just bringing simple lifestyle changes and following a healthy food habit. However, severe forms of constipation might need immediate medical attention.