Learn How to Relieve Constipation

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Do you have problems with unsuccessful trips to the bathroom? You’re not alone! In fact, according to some data, chronic constipation affects up to a third of adults – although they may not even be aware of it!

Constipation is not just an extremely unpleasant problem; if it bothers you frequently, it can significantly affect your emotions, and severe constipation can even jeopardize your health. Fortunately, there are many natural ways to relieve constipation naturally – without laxatives or other medications.

You may already be familiar with some of them from the article on slow digestion, while others might surprise you. So, let’s take a look at them together!

How Do We Know If We Have Constipation

Constipation, also known as obstipation or stool retention, is defined according to the recognized medical definition as a condition when bowel movements occur less than three times a week. And how does it manifest itself?

● Bowel movements are difficult and painful.

● The stool is dry, hard, and lumpy.

● We feel that the bowel movement is incomplete.

● We suffer from abdominal pain and bloating.

● Vomiting may occur.

● If we struggle with such symptoms for more than three months, we talk about chronic constipation.

Why Are We Constipated?

One of the most common reasons for this problem can be attributed to a lack of water in the stool, which is a result of insufficient fluid intake. However, it often arises due to an unhealthy diet with insufficient fiber. Other culprits include:

● Lack of physical activity,

● Stress,

● Consumption of certain medications (some painkillers, blood pressure-lowering drugs, antidepressants, medications for gastric acidity…),

● Hormonal changes (e.g., menstruation, sometimes pregnancy),

● Changes in environment/routine/dietary habits (e.g., during travels),

● Consuming large amounts of dairy products,

● Irritable bowel syndrome,

● Diseases (e.g., eating disorders, thyroid problems, neurological diseases, diseases of the nervous and muscular systems, colon cancer),

● Avoiding the urge to defecate.

The most common symptoms of constipation are bloating and abdominal pain, significant discomfort during defecation, a feeling of incomplete bowel movement, and even vomiting. As stool is difficult to pass, constipation can also lead to other problems, such as hemorrhoids.

 

Experts say that severe constipation more commonly affects women than men. The reason could be that food moves more slowly through their intestines, but there is also a significant impact of female hormones on the digestive system.

When constipation occurs, it’s important to take action!

Severe constipation not only affects the quality of life but also mental and physical health. If we experience strong straining during bowel movements or spend extended periods of time on the toilet, it can lead to swelling of the enlarged veins in the anus and rectum, which is the primary reason for irritation, pain, and discomfort around the anal area.

Among the common consequences of constipation are, for example:

● Bloating,

● Chronic abdominal pain,

● Hemorrhoids,

● Bleeding during bowel movements.

If you do not address constipation, more serious intestinal and anal diseases can develop. Read more about the consequences of constipation.

What helps against constipation?

When you feel constipated and bloated, you can first help yourself in a simple and, above all, natural way. Often, remedies against constipation are those that almost every household has or are easily obtainable in stores.

#1 Drink natural mineral water Donat

Research shows that mineral water is an excellent ally in the fight against constipation. In this context, it is even more effective than plain water. Therefore, experts recommend its regular consumption to anyone suffering from severe constipation or irritable bowel syndrome. This especially applies to Donat, natural mineral water that has been clinically proven to relieve constipation and has been valued for centuries as an effective natural laxative. Therefore, our first advice is clear: Regularly and properly consume Donat.

The foundation of its effectiveness lies in its extremely high concentration of minerals, primarily sulfate and magnesium. Sulfate ions in Donat, for example, absorb water from the intestinal walls, thereby increasing the volume of intestinal contents. This increases pressure on the intestinal wall and speeds up intestinal movement. Magnesium also significantly contributes to this process by relaxing the intestinal muscles.

The positive impact of Donat mineral water on the digestive system has been confirmed by a German clinical study from 2015. Participants who drank 0.5 liters of Donat every day for 6 weeks effectively accelerated their digestion. Moreover, Donat is a gentle natural laxative that, in moderate amounts, has no side effects and does not cause dependence.

However, to make Donat more effective in speeding up your digestion, you must consume it properly.

  • It is best if you drink it every day for five consecutive days, then allow yourself a two-day break.
  • In the morning on an empty stomach, drink 2 or 3 deciliters. Donat should be warm.
  • Before dinner, drink another 2 deciliters. This time, let it be at room temperature.
  • Always drink Donat quickly.

Are you interested in learning more about it? Get to know Donat better and learn more about how to consume it for healthy digestion.

#2 Drink more fluids

Experts have discovered that even mild dehydration can significantly slow down bowel function. The lack of fluids makes it difficult for waste to travel through the body, causing it to absorb water from the food in the digestive system. By drinking enough fluids, the body will not need to draw water from the stool, making it softer and more abundant.

Key tips for fluid consumption:

  • Drink at least 1.5 to 2 liters of fluids daily.
  • Adjust the amount depending on circumstances – higher temperatures or increased physical activity require more fluids.
  • Water consumption (perhaps with a bit of lemon) or unsweetened tea is recommended. Avoid sugary drinks.

#3 Avoid pre-packaged, processed food

Pre-packaged meals, such as frozen pizzas or soups from a packet, contain little fiber and too much salt, fat, and even sugar. The same goes for fast food, which is often resorted to in the fast-paced lifestyle.

Control over the intake of necessary fiber and other nutrients that promote digestion is easiest when we prepare our meals ourselves. This way, you can reduce the amount of oil and salt and ensure an abundance of fresh vegetables, fruits, and other beneficial foods. We’ll reveal what those are in the following chapters…

And one more tip: if you cannot avoid visiting a restaurant or canteen at work, you can choose simpler but healthier dishes for your meal, such as salmon fillet with vegetables or a salad. However, be careful, as salads often contain a lot of oil or calorie-rich dressings.

#4 Eat fiber-rich foods

A balanced diet, along with adequate fluid intake, is the first response of experts to the question of how to relieve constipation. This involves foods rich in fiber, whole grains, vegetables, and nuts.

Fiber is primarily found in plant-based foods, such as vegetables and fruits. It helps relieve constipation by increasing stool volume and softening it, making it easier to move through the digestive tract. The type of fiber is also important. It is recommended to combine soluble and insoluble fiber. Aim for about 14 grams of fiber per 1000 calories (or roughly 30 grams of fiber per day).

What is the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber? Fiber is soluble if it can dissolve in water. Such fibers are mainly found in oats, beans, peas, barley, apples, and citrus fruits. These fibers maintain the viscosity of intestinal contents while simultaneously lowering blood sugar and glucose levels.

 

Insoluble fibers, as the name suggests, do not dissolve in water and are mainly found in whole grains, nuts, wheat bran, and some types of vegetables, such as potatoes. They increase stool volume, speeding up the passage of food through our digestive tract, making them particularly important for those with slow or irregular digestion.

 

And one more very important tip: gradually increase your daily intake of fiber! Otherwise, symptoms may worsen.

#5 Choose foods that act against constipation

In the battle against poor digestion and constipation, numerous foods can help that you might never have associated with natural laxatives.

Sesame seeds are rich in oil, thus moisturizing the digestive tract and facilitating the elimination of dry stool. To combat constipation, you can use them by adding them to salads or even as a seasoning.

Olive oil also moisturizes the intestines. Since it contains healthy fats, it is an excellent alternative for salad dressings.

Castor oil has a bad taste, but it is considered a natural laxative by our grandmothers. One teaspoon, in fact, stimulates both the small and large intestines to function and can bring quick relief. However, castor oil is not for everyone – it is not recommended for pregnant women, and in case of illness, it is necessary to consult a doctor before consumption. Even in healthy individuals, caution is needed as it can cause cramps and diarrhea.

Avocado can effectively help combat constipation as an addition to salads.

● Peppermint relaxes muscles, while ginger warms the intestines. Together, they are therefore an ideal combination to stimulate digestion. For the best results, mix them, pour hot water over them, and make a hot drink that will enhance the effect.

Dandelion tea has a mild laxative effect. Therefore, you can drink dandelion root tea several times a day.

Many consider drinking warm water with lemon or herbal tea their favorite morning ritual that stimulates the digestive tract. For others, coffee works best against constipation. Although doctors do not recommend overindulging in this popular beverage, studies show that a cup of coffee can effectively speed up digestion.

Plums are a healthy and tasty snack, but also an excellent means of regulating digestion. They contain a compound that stimulates bowel movement or peristalsis. Raisins have a similar effect.

#6 Add probiotic food to your menu

A common cause of chronic constipation is an imbalance of intestinal bacteria, which can result from various factors such as:

  • Excessive exposure to stress,
  • Imbalanced diet,
  • Physical or psychological exhaustion,
  • Chronic illnesses, and
  • Certain medications, especially antibiotics.

All these factors can increase the number of “bad” bacteria, which can lead to numerous health issues, including constipation, bloating, and even a weakened immune system.

However, significant help in maintaining balance in the intestines can be offered by probiotics. These are live organisms, or bacteria, found in fermented foods. The best sources of probiotics are:

  • milk,
  • cottage cheese, 
  • yogurt,
  • kefir,
  • sauerkraut,
  • kimchi and
  • Kombucha. 

Can’t force yourself to eat sauerkraut or kefir? Stock up on probiotic dietary supplements. The first effects of their action are usually noticeable after a few weeks.

 

How do probiotics work?

 

Probiotic bacteria attach themselves to the walls of our digestive tract, where they multiply and push out harmful bacteria and viruses. They also aid in food breakdown and nutrient absorption in the intestine. This effectively works against constipation and bloating. Interested in learning more? Read our article on probiotics!

 

Although there is no solid evidence that probiotics directly alleviate constipation, there is no doubt that a healthy gut microbiota is crucial for good digestion. Since probiotic food facilitates achieving this goal, it can also reduce the likelihood of constipation. This is confirmed by studies showing that compounds facilitating waste elimination from the body are produced in such foods. Recent medical studies have even demonstrated that bacteria have a beneficial effect on the intestines, contributing to more frequent bowel movements and improving stool consistency.

#7 Replace cow’s milk with alternatives

The risk of constipation is higher in people who have difficulty tolerating lactose. Doctors attribute this problem to a deficiency of the lactase enzyme, affecting a large portion of the population. If such individuals consume a lot of milk, cheese, and other dairy products, they often suffer from severe constipation with bloating, and diarrhea can also occur.

An additional problem is that we often are not really aware of how much milk we consume in a day. We start with milk in our morning coffee and continue with snacks and sweets or desserts…

If you suspect that lactose could be the cause of your constipation, conduct an experiment: stop consuming cow’s milk for a while or choose lactose-free milk. You can also try plant-based alternatives, such as oat or almond milk.

Some dairy products, like yogurt, contain probiotics that benefit your intestines. Fermented dairy products also contain much less lactose than milk.

#8 Be physically active regularly

If anything helps against constipation, it is physical activity. We could say this: Be active, and your intestines will be active along with you. Indeed, while you exercise, the muscles in your intestines are also actively involved, giving them the strength to expel stool from your body.

Doctors advise at least thirty minutes of moderate physical activity daily. This could initially be using the stairs, walking the dog, or brisk walking. For even better results, it is good to run a few laps, visit the gym, or learn some yoga exercises.

#9 Reduce stress

Relaxation is a highly underestimated “natural laxative.” A good remedy for constipation is also learning to “switch off” and take time for yourself. Rushing through obligations when you don’t take enough time for regular visits to the toilet is very harmful in the long run.

It is important to allow the body to expel waste peacefully while simultaneously turning bowel movements into a routine. Choose a time of day, for example, in the morning after breakfast, and try to gently persuade the body to have a bowel movement precisely at that time.

To ease the passage of stool through the body, you can even use a little trick. Place your feet on a box or similar object so that your knees are higher than your hips. This is a natural position for bowel movements that everyone should use.

And when you feel the need, don’t ignore it. It is less harmful to grit your teeth in a not-too-tidy public restroom than to hold in your stool all day. If you do this regularly, you can weaken the muscles that control the intestines, which can eventually lead to constipation.

How to relieve constipation during pregnancy

Constipation during pregnancy is a common problem partially caused by hormones. Due to progesterone, the intestinal muscles relax and food moves more slowly through the digestive system, leading to a kind of blockage in the intestines. On the other hand, as the uterus grows, there is less space for the intestines, which can disrupt their functioning.

If you are expecting and struggling with severe constipation, follow these tips:

  • Eat fewer refined grains and processed foods.
  • Avoid overeating at meals and instead enjoy several small portions.
  • Use the restroom as soon as you feel the need.
  • Practice Kegel exercises.

In a separate article, you can read more tips on how to overcome constipation during pregnancy.

What helps against constipation in older adults?

Visits to the toilet accompanied by discomfort and pain are common among older individuals. However, constipation in seniors is often not a direct result of aging but rather of other factors, such as the effects of medications they may be taking. Additionally, intestinal problems are often associated with diseases, such as tumors, reduced thyroid function, or even Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, aging often discourages people from moving or exercising, which further slows down the digestive tract.

So, how can severe constipation be prevented in mature individuals? Experts particularly emphasize reducing the intake of refined grains (e.g., white rice) and dairy products. On the other hand, they recommend a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and nuts, as well as increasing physical activity as much as possible – of course, according to individual capabilities.

It is also advisable to talk to a doctor about the side effects of medications or dietary supplements to find the best solution for a healthy digestive system.

In a separate article, read more about what helps against constipation in older adults.

When is it necessary to seek medical help for constipation?

Constipation is mostly a result of an inappropriate lifestyle, but it can also be associated with health complications that cannot be resolved with a healthy diet and exercise. If you have already tried natural methods and severe constipation continues to bother you for several weeks, we advise you to consult a doctor.

Seek medical help in the following cases as well:

  • You cannot have a bowel movement more than two or three times a week.
  • You experience regular abdominal pain.
  • You have noticed blood in your stool.
  • You have experienced significant weight loss.

It is important to take care of your health and pay attention to sudden changes so that you can take timely action.

Frequently asked questions

What are the most common causes of constipation?

Constipation is mostly caused by imbalanced diet with not enough fiber and liquids, and it is also prompted by lack of physical activity, stress and certain medications.

Which food is rich in probiotics?

Probiotics can be found in fermented food, such as kefir, fresh cheese, or yogurt, as well as in sauerkraut or kombucha.

Which food helps prevent constipation?

Food rich in fiber, as well as some less common foodstuffs, such as avocado, Ricinus oil, ginger, mint, coffee, tea, plums, etc. which help in prevention of constipation.

What could be more serious consequences of constipation?

Constipation is connected to hard, painful defecation, but it can also have more serious consequences on our health and wellbeing. 80 % of immune cells are in the intestines so it is obvious that incorrect functioning of digestive tract can also impact our immune resistance.

Why is natural mineral water Donat so efficient in constipation?

Donat is known for an above-average combination of minerals, especially sulphates and magnesium. It works on the principle of osmosis, where sulphates absorb water from the intestine wall and increase the volume of intestine content. Magnesium at the same time relaxes the muscles and additionally accelerates peristalsis.

Would you like to effectively eliminate constipation with the help of Donat?

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Nutrition Under Stress And Emotional Eating