Nuts are a rich source of magnesium, which is essential for muscle and nerve function, and is also an essential component of the human body’s gut flora. A study in The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that magnesium supplementation improved constipation in people with irritable bowel syndrome.
For people with constipation, try adding a handful of raw almonds, walnuts, or pecans to your diet to help you break up the large hard stools.
2. Try eating more bananas
Bananas are rich in potassium, which is important for muscle and nerve function. According to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, potassium is a type of electrolyte that your body needs to maintain fluid balance, and a deficiency in this nutrient can cause constipation.
If you have constipation, try eating two banana chips or two bananas. You can also eat bananas with yogurt, or with a bit of peanut butter. The combination of potassium and fiber in bananas may help keep you regular.
3. Eat more yogurt
Yogurt is high in protein and calcium. Calcium is important for strengthening bones and muscles. It can also help with constipation.
Try adding a tablespoon of Greek yogurt to your food. You can also add a bit of Greek yogurt to your favorite smoothie.
4. Drink more water
Hydration is important for keeping your digestive system working properly. Make sure you drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
Also, drink more water before bedtime to improve your ability to pass stools.
5. Eat more fiber
Fiber is important for keeping your digestive system moving. According to the Mayo Clinic, fiber helps move stool through the digestive tract, making it easier to pass.
Try adding more fiber to your diet by eating more:
- Fruits, such as figs, prunes, and prune juice
- Vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, and spinach
- Whole grains, such as oatmeal and whole-grain bread
6. Avoid carbonated drinks and caffeine
If you have constipation, avoid carbonated drinks, as these may cause increased gas production. Caffeine may also stimulate the urge to go.
Instead, choose natural, noncarbonated drinks, such as water, herbal tea, or plain unsweetened milk.
7. Try a probiotic
Probiotics are good for the gut and may help you pass stools more easily. A study in the journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences found that probiotics may be helpful for constipation in people with irritable bowel syndrome.
Probiotics are naturally found in many healthy foods, including:
You can also take a capsule with each meal or snack.
8. Drink enough fluids
Drinking plenty of fluids during the day may increase your chances of passing stools. According to the Mayo Clinic, fluids help keep your colon and rectum moving, and may help you pass stools more easily.
9. Try eating less fiber
Foods that are high in fiber may help keep your stool soft. Eating a low-fiber diet may cause constipation.
Try eating less of:
- Whole-grain bread
- Fruits such as apples, pears, and bananas
- Dried beans
10. Try a fiber supplement
You can try a fiber supplement if you’re not getting enough fiber in your diet. Fiber supplements can be found in many health food stores.
These supplements may help you pass stools more easily. According to a study in the journal Gastroenterology, a fiber supplement may help improve constipation in people with irritable bowel syndrome.
Take a fiber supplement with each meal or snack. Ask your doctor before you take a fiber supplement.
11. Try a stool softener
Stool softeners help soften stools to help prevent constipation.
Try a stool softener such as:
- Aloe vera
12. Try an enema
An enema may help with constipation. This solution is made by placing a small amount of oil, water, or medication into a rectal tube that is gently inserted into the rectum.
You can also buy an enema kit at a drugstore.
13. Eat more foods that help with constipation
Foods that may help with constipation include:
- Green beans
- Citrus fruits
- Prune juice
- Fatty fish
- Wheat bran
Always talk with your doctor before adding any new foods to your diet.
14. Use Mira to help with constipation
Mira is a gentle natural, over-the-counter, stool softener that may help with constipation.
It’s recommended to take Mira at bedtime.
Mira also comes in a capsule that you can take with each meal or snack.
Follow the instructions on the packaging. Mira may not be suitable for people with liver problems.
15. Take an over-the-counter stool softener
Over-the-counter stool softeners are available at most drugstores and grocery stores.
Some examples include:
16. See your doctor
If symptoms don’t improve or if you have severe symptoms, see your doctor. Some people with irritable bowel syndrome may also experience constipation.
Your doctor may recommend:
- Taking a stool softener.
- A laxative.
- A stool softener and a laxative at the same time.
Your doctor may also prescribe a medication for constipation.
17. Make your bedroom a comfortable place
Make your bedroom a comfortable place with:
- A soft mattress
- A firm mattress for children
- Pillows to help with back pain
- A fan
- A comfortable chair
- A safe place for your baby or toddler to sleep
18. Consider using a stool softener at night
Try taking a stool softener at bedtime.
Some people with constipation may prefer to take a stool softener prior to going to bed. This is known as the pre-bedtime regimen.
You may also take a stool softener at night while you’re sleeping. Be sure to follow the instructions on the stool softener packaging.
The bottom line
The causes of constipation are many and varied. You may not have any symptoms at first, but more severe symptoms may develop if you don’t treat constipation.
Constipation can be a symptom of a serious condition, such as colon cancer. It can also be a symptom of a very small issue that you can easily correct.
Treatment for constipation depends on what’s causing it.
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