When stools are hard to pass, the condition is called constipation. It is a very common condition across the globe and majority of the population must have suffered from it at least once. Constipation can be caused due to dietary habits, inadequate fluid intake or even as a side effect of certain medications.
Typically 2 things happen in constipation; either there is no contraction (of the colon) at all for couple of days or, the colon contracts but the stools are just too hard to pass. The latter being the most bothering scenario. Whatever the case is, there are certain remedies which can be followed at home to relieve or cure this condition.
Lemon has natural cleansing properties. It also aids in proper digestion of food throughout the alimentary canal. Hence, it is advisable for constipated people to have a mixture of lemon in lukewarm water, every morning after waking up. The lemon cleanses the colon and the digestive tract for the next day’s contraction while the warmness of the water can trigger immediate contraction.
During the process of digestion, the nutrients are absorbed (and circulated through blood) from the mixture of food and digestive juices and the remaining part forms the fecal matter or the stools. The quantity of fluid intake determines whether the stools are soft, semi soft or hard. Water gets lodged into the stools and defines their texture and softness.
Thus softer the stools, the easier they are to pass. It is therefore imperative that people having constipation problems, need to drink sufficient amount of water regularly. Actual quantity depends on the size of the person, however, generally it is advisable to have 6-8 glasses of water in a day’s time to ease the bowel movements.
Just like water intake, a lot depends on the regular diet of a person. Some food items like meat and products made from polished wheat flour are difficult to digest and egest. These food items take a long time to get churned in our stomach. The resulting fecal matter of these products is also quite hard and doesn’t possess the property to retain water.
As discussed above, those stools which cannot be water lodged are hard to pass. Hence constipated people should include a lot of food items with high fiber in their daily diet. Foods rich in fiber produce fecal matters which can lodge a lot of water. These stools are then easier to pass since they are soft and mushy.
Foods with dietary fiber are green leafy vegetables, Spaghetti, whole-wheat, Barley, Oats among others. Some fruits which are rich in fiber are Raspberries, Pear with skin, Apple with skin and more popularly bananas. All these fruits make the stools soft. These are the easiest home remedies for easy bowel movement.
Sometimes sedentary habits can also cause constipation. When there is no movement around the belly, the fecal matter just sits there in the colon since the colon doesn’t contract. It is advisable to practice certain stomach exercises which can induce contraction of the colon.
There are some yogic exercises which target the colon and bring about its contraction. A good yoga instructor can teach both these things which can be easily practiced at home. Even long walks or jogging can help trigger the intestines and move the fecal matter further ahead.
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If the stools are too hard, then the patient needs to get an enema. In this process, liquid is introduced into the colon via anus (opening though which fecal matter is discarded). This liquid can be a mixture of sodium phosphate in water, baking soda in water or even mild hand soap. Sometimes even normal lukewarm water is used for an enema. The liquid enters through the anus and reaches the colon and lodges the hard stools with water. The chemicals soften the stools and the water promotes the contraction. Fecal matter is then egested with powerful contractions and peristalsis. Enema is a very common home remedy to ease bowel movements.
Acupressure is another home remedy which can be tried to ease bowel movements. In acupressure, specific points are targeted which can trigger certain bodily functions/processes effectively. So this method can also be used to bring about contraction of the colon. The exact mid point of the chin can be pressed hard using any one of the fingers to trigger the colon.
The point is right below the lower lips and in the middle of the chin. If that specific point cannot be located, then one can use the lower hard part of the palm and press it against the entire chin. The proper point is automatically pressed. This pressure can be applied for about a minute or more. Doing acupressure regularly can actually habituate the colon to contract at a fixed time or when the person is ready for defecation.
All the above mentioned home remedies are very useful for easy bowel movements. However, its very important to practice one or most of them regularly to keep the bowel movements always comfortable.