Constipation affects women more than men and is more likely to occur at certain times, including pregnancy and in the days preceding menstruation, and becomes increasingly common after menopause. While constipation can cause discomfort and anxiety, it is usually not a symptom of a serious condition. However, it can often be difficult to determine just why someone is constipated.
Constipation isn't a simple problem. It is characterized by fewer than three bowel movements a week, hard dry stools, straining to move one's bowels, and a sense of an incomplete evacuation.
Treatments for Constipation
If certain dietary and lifestyle changes don’t improve your condition, then you need to consult a doctor. This includes the use of OTC laxatives, lactulose, and other over the counter medicines as per doctor's advice.
Water is one of the major components of our body that helps in most metabolic activities, especially digestion. Drinking good amounts of water every day (at least 6 to 8 glasses) will help not only in maintaining an optimum water level in the body but will also help in smooth bowel movements.
Fruits are highly recommended for controlling constipation. Fruits contain dietary fiber that fights constipation. Fruits such as apples, papayas, oranges, apricots, guavas, strawberries, dates, raisins, and pears have all been associated with reduced constipation.
Vegetables are also high in fiber. Vegetables can be eaten either cooked or half-cooked. In the case of constipation, the best way to consume them is by consuming them half-cooked or raw. Vegetables such as cabbages, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and all types of gourds such as bottle gourd, snake gourd, bitter gourd, and ridged gourd contain good fiber amounts to help clean out bowels.
The best source of dietary fiber is through the intake of vegetarian food. It is recommended to eat whole grains such as whole wheat and whole rice like brown rice.
A fig is a sweet and chewable fruit. Figs have large amounts of fiber, which helps in easy digestion and in producing bulky stools that are easier to pass.
Make a paste from a half cup of dates. Mix this paste with milk and consume it every night before going to sleep. The fiber in dates will reduce constipation.
Psyllium or ispaghula
It has large amounts of dietary fiber. The fiber inside it is ideally suited for constipation because it is not absorbed by the small intestine and on its way to the colon, it absorbs a lot of water and pushes out stool, thereby relieving you of constipation.
Bishop’s Seed or ajowan
It has been traditionally used in India to treat constipation. A spoonful of ajowan seeds mixed with lukewarm water can relieve constipation.