A natural approach to the treatment of constipation

Author: doctor Eric Madrid

In this article:

  • The main causes of constipation
  • Complications of chronic constipation
  • Have you checked for colon cancer?
  • Prescription drugs
  • Natural approach
  • The best supplements for constipation
  • Medicinal plants for constipation
  • Other means

Constipation — irregular bowel movements or difficulty emptying the bowel is a common problem that bothers 20% of people. When constipation bowel movements less than three times a week. A condition is considered chronic if it persists for two weeks or longer.

Constipation is quite a common phenomenon, however, it should not be ignored. In each case it is necessary to establish the cause of constipation, especially if symptoms persist after a few weeks. It is important to consult with your doctor to make sure that the constipation is not caused by some serious disease.

The main causes of constipation:

A sedentary lifestyle , constipation may be caused by a lack of physical activity, resulting in impaired normal bowel movements.

Nutrition – diet low in fiber is one in which the little legumes, vegetables and fruits. Eating large amount of fiber helps to regulate intestinal microflora and to establish a regular chair.

Constipation can cause processed foods – fried, cakes, candies, pastries, pasta and bread. Cheese also is often a cause of constipation. If you suspect that your bowel problems causes a specific product or products, start a food journal to determine the cause of constipation.

Dehydration, often resulting from insufficient water intake or excessive drinking coffee and tea can interfere with bowel movements. To dehydration and can cause some medications, such as diuretics for high blood pressure.

As you know, constipation is caused by some medications – Allergy medications (diphenhydramine, loratadine, Fexofenadine, etc.) and opiate drugs (hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, etc.) from chronic pain.

Dietary supplements – calcium and iron – can also contribute to constipation. Calcium in a daily dose of 1000 mg per day can cause constipation, if with it not to take adequate amounts of magnesium. Similarly, constipation can cause iron supplements, which can easily be mistaken for iron deficiency anaemia (must be diagnosed by a doctor). However, if you take iron with vitamin C, it can promote the absorption of iron and prevent constipation.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – IBS is sometimes manifested by diarrhea, and constipation. Some patients with IBS constipation alternates with diarrhea. For those who have when IBS is dominated by constipation, doctors often prescribe medication if diet and lifestyle changes are not enough.

Excessive bacterial growth in the small intestine (SIBO) – according to some, the excessive growth of bacteria that produce methane gas, can increase the risk of constipation due to methane gas slows intestinal transit time.

Hypothyroidism – underactive thyroid, which affects up to 10% of the inhabitants of the Earth. In this disease slows down the transit of food through the digestive tract, causing constipation.

Frequent intake of antibiotics – disruption of the microbiome of the intestine can be caused by antibiotics. In some cases, it causes diarrhea. This will disturb the beneficial microflora, which can lead to chronic constipation come SIBO, as mentioned above.

Stress everyone reacts to stress differently. Someone stress may lead to constipation. To preserve the mental and physical health it is important to find a healthy way to reduce internal stress. As I said, the constipation arises due to the containment in the literal sense of the word. So to establish the regularity of the chair will help the reduction of stress, biofeedback and restoration of normal mode of work and rest.

Chronic diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, colon cancer, spinal cord injury, and sometimes even stroke, can lead to chronic constipation.

Complications of chronic constipation:

  • Pain with bowel movements
  • Increased risk of diverticulosis (small pockets in the colon) and ultimately, diverticulitis (infection pockets)
  • Blood in the stool
  • The development of hemorrhoids
  • Leaky gut (read More)
  • Increased exposure to intestinal toxins and bacterial growth in the intestine
  • Difficulty urinating (due to the pressure of the chair on the urethra)

Have you checked for colon cancer?

Most doctors recommend that people over the age of 50 to get checked for colon cancer. This can be done via colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or stool test for blood or DNA of cancer cells.

For those who have a family history of colon cancer may need to be screened at age 40 or even earlier. Consult your doctor and check health recommendations based on your age and family risk factors.

Prescription drugs:

If the main or reversible cause of constipation is not identified, doctors often prescribe docusate sodium (Colace), polyethylene glycol (PEG or miralax), lactulose (enulose) or sorbitol.

Chronic constipation prescribed with other drugs, including linaclotide (lenses, konstella), placental (trumans) and lubiprostone: (amitiza).

If the cause of constipation is opiatnye the drug (constipation – a typical side effect for this class of drugs), pharmaceutical companies have developed drugs (methylnaltrexone) to eliminate this side effect.

Natural approach

Many people want to avoid taking prescription drugs because of the side effects that they cause. Listed below are natural approaches to the treatment of constipation, favoured by many patients who want to alleviate the symptoms of constipation and help the body to establish a regular chair. The decisive factors underlying the normal functioning of the intestines, diet and lifestyle. With them always and should start. However, sometimes this is not enough.

Exercise – to stimulate regular bowel movements it is important to possible, active lifestyle. Doctors recommend that most people, moderate physical activity the total duration at least 150 minutes a week. It promotes healthy and regular bowel movement. Simple daily half-hour walk can be very beneficial to health. Some good help and yoga.

A lot of fiber in the diet is very important. Doctors advise to eat at least 25 grams of fiber a day, you need to eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables. For example, in one avocado contains 13 grams of fiber in a medium Apple – 4 grams, and a banana – 3 grams. Berries are not only rich in fiber but also help to protect the body from colon cancer, according to research by 2016, published in Molecules. Chia seeds are also a good product — just one teaspoon of Chia seed contains almost 6 grams of fiber. In a Cup of black beans as much as 15 grams of fiber.

Herbal products will help to normalize the frequency of bowel movements. Plant food has several other useful properties, including enhances the absorption of vitamins A, K and E as well as vitamin C and other phytonutrients rich in antioxidants.

Study of 2015 has shown that fiber is effective in mild and moderate constipation and constipation caused by IBS. A diet with a high content of plant foods is associated with a lower risk of developing colon cancer and has a beneficial effect on intestinal microflora. A 2012 study published in World Journal of Gastroenterology, showed that fiber helps to increase the frequency of bowel movements in adults.

Products with probiotics– probiotics are beneficial bacteria. They can be very effective for restoring balance to the microbiome of the intestine, especially if this balance was disturbed as a result of taking antibiotics or the chronic use of drugs that reduce the acidity.

Restore populations of healthy bacteria (such as lactobacilli, bifidobacteria) and other important and useful microorganisms are important for reinforcing the General health and treatment of constipation. The study of 2017, published in Advances in Nutrition, showed a tendency to decrease populations of these vital bacteria in chronic constipation.

Consumption of fermented milk and fermented foods and drinks such as sauerkraut, miso soup, tempeh, yogurt, and Kombucha (Kombucha) can also be useful to restore this natural balance. Held in Iran in 2016, the study showed that the condition of constipated pregnant women has improved in the daily consumption of yogurt. Many also take food supplements with probiotics. We will talk about them later.

The best supplements for constipation

Magnesium – magnesium is a ubiquitous trace element that is involved in more than 350 biochemical reactions throughout the body. Magnesium deficiency is among the most common deficiencies of nutrients and can manifest in the form of headaches, palpitations, muscle cramps and even constipation.

Therefore, supplementation with magnesium can be effective for those who suffer from constipation. If the background intake of magnesium is observed laxative effect, the dosage of magnesium should be reduced. Patients with advanced kidney disease need to consult with your doctor. In a study of 2017, published in Magnesium Research, assessed the condition of patients undergoing open-heart surgery. Magnesium helped prevent not only constipation, but also arrhythmia, especially atrial fibrillation.

In a study published in 2014 in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, attended by the French, suffering from constipation. The researchers found that the daily consumption of magnesium-rich mineral water symptoms constipation decreased significantly.

Vitamin C – commonly found in citrus fruits and pepper. Vitamin C is important for preventing scurvy. Helps vitamin C and constipation.

The husk of psyllium is the psyllium husk can be very effective in chronic constipation. It can also help to control blood sugar in diabetes. A study of 2018, published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, showed that when taking psyllium suffering from constipation patients with type II diabetes not only reduced weight, but also saw improvements in glucose control. A study of 2016, published in Appetite showed that supplementation shells of psyllium has contributed to the feeling of saturation, which allowed the subjects do not experience feelings of hunger in between meals.

Prebiotics – prebiotics are nutrients and/or foods consumed by the beneficial bacteria of the intestine. Introducing in the diet of prebiotics, such as inulin, can provide adequate nutrition of beneficial intestinal bacteria that help restore harmonious balance in the gastrointestinal tract.

The prebiotics include foods such as apples, asparagus, banana, barley, chicory root, dandelion greens, flax seed and garlic. Read more about prebiotics.

A study of 2019 have demonstrated the benefits of optimizing reception diabetikov in the treatment of constipation. A similar study of 2017, published in the American Journal of Medical Sciences, showed that the prebiotic separately and in combination with probiotics can improve stool frequency and reduce symptoms of stress and bloating.

Probiotics – for many years many of my patients notice that when taking probiotic they had constipation. The authors of the study in 2017, published in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, compared the probiotic Supplement with a pill placebo and found that probiotics reduced the constipation in 10-40 % of patients.

Another study 2017 with the participation of suffering from constipation Asian children showed that probiotics helped to increase the frequency of chair. A study of 2018 has demonstrated the effectiveness of probiotics in the treatment of constipation in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Medicinal plants for constipation

Cascara Sagrada (Frangula) buckthorn is a medicinal plant that have been used for centuries as a remedy for chronic constipation. Name of the plant translates as “sacred bark”. This plant was an important healing tool among indigenous peoples. Scientists discovered that the active component of the plant is anthraquinone. This substance has helpful for digestive properties.

Triphala– triphala is often used as a remedy for constipation, but I was unable to find studies supporting its effectiveness that’s when the constipation. But I found a study showing the positive impact of triphala on the microbiome of the intestine, which may explain its effectiveness in the treatment of constipation.

Aloe Vera– a cactus of the aloe have been used for centuries for a variety of purposes in Asia and Mexico. There are many reports of its effectiveness in the treatment of chronic constipation. Studies, proving the benefit of aloe were conducted in 1974 (and the most recent in 2008). Aloe can be taken in form of juice or nutritional supplements.

Senna is used for thousands of years. The efficacy of Senna was clearly demonstrated in a study of 2017 with the participation of suffering from constipation of children. Another study in 2018 showed that Senna not only effective but also safe. It can be taken in form of tea or supplements.

Rhubarb – the Chinese almost 3000 years use rhubarb for medical purposes, in particular as a laxative. Modern science supports ancient practices of the use of this plant. The 2018 study has shown that rhubarb may be helpful to those people who have constipation while in the hospital. Rhubarb can be eaten as they are, or take as a dietary Supplement.

Other tools:

It may be useful to ancient Ayurvedic medicine a glass of warm milk with melted ghee. I recommend adding Ki in coffee or tea — this drink is called armor-piercing coffee or tea.

The powder of licorice root can also be useful if you dilute it in warm water.

Prunes and prune juice is a known folk remedy for constipation, which many find effective. In the course of the study in 2011 revealed that the constipation prunes more effective than psyllium.

You can also stimulate bowel movements, regularly drinking a Cup of warm herbal tea, like black tea, chamomile tea, green tea, tea with ginger, peppermint or extract of Senna.


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  • The author of this article — doctor Eric Madrid, a member of the American Council on integrative and holistic medicine, certified American Board of family medicine and the American Council on integrative and holistic medicine. He is the author of “the purpose of the vitamin D, the healing energy of the sun.” Eric Madrid graduated from medical school at Ohio State University. He is a partner of Rancho Family Medical Group and is accepting patients in Menifee, California. More information about Dr. Madrid here.

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