What is Constipation?

Constipation is a symptom with many causes. These causes are of two types: obstructed defecation and colonic slow transit. About 50% of patients evaluated for constipation at tertiary referral hospitals have obstructed defecation. This type of constipation has mechanical and functional causes. Causes of colonic slow transit constipation include diet, hormones, side effects of medications, and heavy metal toxicity.

Even though constipation is a common problem of the digestive system, for many people it is an embarrassing subject to discuss. The term constipation often means different things to different people ranging from less frequent bowel movements than normal to more constant difficult passage of stools or a combination of both.

Being constipated can make one feel uncomfortable, bloated, heavy and sluggish. Regular elimination of waste products from the body is vital to maintaining health.

Diagnosing Constipation

The diagnosis of constipation is based upon your symptoms, a physical examination and your medical history. Your doctor may also examine the nervous system and the thyroid gland and check your medications to check that constipation is not a side effect of something else.

Most cases of constipation are either self-diagnosed or diagnosed in your doctor’s office. However, if your health care practitioner feels it is warranted, there are certain special investigations and tests that can be performed for more complicated cases of chronic constipation.

What Causes Constipation?

Constipation can result from a number of factors such as poor diet or lack of fiber, inadequate fluid intake or as the result of certain medications. Children may with hold their stools - read article. 

Help for Constipation

Various treatments can help to ease the symptoms of constipation and promote a healthy digestive system. Conventional medication, complementary therapy and natural remedies together with a high fiber diet and regular exercise will keep your digestive system regular.

Treatments include changes in dietary habits, laxatives, enemas, biofeedback, and surgery. Because constipation is a symptom, not a disease, effective treatment of constipation may require first determining the cause.

Native Remedies for Constipation

There are many natural laxatives and holistic treatments that can help treat symptoms of constipation, promote easier digestion, and stimulate bowel movements -without the side effects commonly associated with OTC or prescription drugs. Natural laxative treatments that include herbal and homeopathic remedies can restore balance and regularity to the digestive system and bowel. Nourishing herbs such as Aloe Ferox, Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion), and Passiflora incarnata have natural laxative properties and also act as a tonic for the liver. Other herbs that may also have a beneficial effect on the digestive system are Psyllium, a natural bulk forming laxative and Cascara and Senna to stimulate bowel movements. Remember to source your natural remedies from reputable companies to ensure maximum effectiveness and safety!
  • Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) – may be taken in tea. Use the dandelion root and let steep in a cup of hot water. Drink one cup of tea 3 times daily to alleviate constipation and promote the passing of stool.
  • Aloe Ferox – is a plant used for many medicianal purposes, aloe ferox can come in juice form. Taking aloe ferox juice regularly is highly beneficial, also for healthy people, but those with constipation benefit greatly from its ability to soften stool
  • Psyllium – Psyllium seed is a great natural laxative. Add 1/2 to 2 tsp. of psyllium seed to 1 cup (8 oz.) of warm water. Mix well, and take before meals or 30-60 minutes after a meal.
  • Passiflora Incarnata (Passion Flower) – Passion Flower is prepared as a tea, an infusion is made by steeping 1 teaspoon (2 grams) of the herb in 2/3 cup of water for five to ten minutes. Two or three cups of Passion Flower tea can be consumed per day
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