What are the Fastest and Best Ways to Cure Constipation?
At best, constipation is a minor inconvenience; at worst, it’s something that seems to affect every fiber of your being, making you tired, irritable, uncomfortable, and emotional while sapping your energy.
If you’re suffering from a bout of constipation, you’ll be desperate to get rid of it, so what are your options?
What is the quickest way to cure constipation?
Here are some of the best solutions. Bear in mind that different solutions work for different people. So, be sure to read through to the end, even if you feel like you’ve already tried everything.
This is a strange one, but bear with us.
Many transient cases of constipation are caused by poor hydration.
People lead busy lives. They are constantly on the go—at school, at work, a night on the town. They don’t want to be making constant trips to the toilet, so they refrain from drinking too much water.
If this attitude persists, they become dehydrated and everything grinds to an unpleasant halt in their digestive system. After all, your intestines can only draw water from your body if that water is actually there.
You could have the same issue if you’re taking opioid-based painkillers. Codeine, tramadol, morphine, oxycodone, and other opioids can dry out your body. They are one of the main causes of constipation, and if you’re taking large doses, it’s an issue that’s not easily rectified.
If any of the above sounds familiar and you feel like you are gridlocked, try drinking a few glasses of water.
It could be all that you need to get everything going again. In some cases, you’ll feel a movement right away. Your stomach fills, the pressure increases, your intestines are able to absorb water, and so the gridlock eases. In others, it may take a little longer.
In any case, it’s essential that you drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Just remember not to go overboard. Believe it or not, it is possible to drink too much water. A few glasses won’t kill you, but forcing yourself to drink gallon after gallon could greatly deplete your sodium levels and cause your brain to swell.
Do Some Exercise
A sedentary lifestyle is another leading cause of constipation that is very easy to fix.
If you spend most of your day sitting down, try going for a light jog or even just a walk. Jumping or jogging on the spot could also help, as can performing exercises like burpees or sit-ups.
If you’re not able to run, walk, or do anything too strenuous, just do what you can. Even stretching can be sufficient if it involves your abdomen.
It’s all about getting your body moving.
Yoga is actually one of the best things that you can do to cure constipation. It forces you to relax while getting your body moving and twisting in positions that it wouldn’t usually adopt. Your abdomen is forced to extend and stretch, and it also gets your heart pumping.
If you’ve ever inadvertently passed gas while performing yoga, you’ve experienced some of these benefits yourself. So, try yoga for 20 or 30 minutes, let all of that gas out, and finish with a big glass of water. That could be all that your body needs.
When you’re heavily constipated, the last thing you want to do is eat bran cereal and other high-fiber foods. You feel heavy, bloated, and uncomfortable, so you resort to starchy and fatty foods instead, but these just compound the issue.
After a few days, minor constipation has become a major blockage, and it’s not getting any better.
As unpleasant as a high-fiber diet may seem right now, it could be exactly what your body is crying out for.
Eat some bran, beans, or legumes. Fiber usually works slowly, but if you’re constipated, eating a high-fiber meal could fill you up and get things moving, thus helping to push that blockage out.
You’ll be surprised at how quickly it can work.
It also helps to have a bottle or two of ColoFlax to hand. These daily fiber gummies help toward your total fiber intake and contain prebiotics and probiotics for overall gut health. What’s more, they’re 100% natural, so you don’t have to worry about constipation turning into abdominal pains, cramping, and diarrhea.
Eat Prunes or Drink Prune Juice
It’s hard to understand how effective prunes are until you try them. It’s easy to dismiss them as just another high-fiber dried fruit, but fiber only plays a small role in making dried plums effective.
Prunes are high in a type of sugar known as sorbitol. It’s a sugar alcohol that isn’t absorbed by the body, which means it doesn’t have the same effect on blood sugar levels as other sugars. More importantly, sorbitol draws water into the intestines, softens the stools, and greatly increases the need to have a bowel movement.
Prune juice is arguably more effective than whole prunes, as it’s easier to consume an amount large enough to trigger the desired effects.
Just make sure you’re going to be near a toilet within a couple of hours of drinking the juice. You can also expect some discomfort, including cramping, bloating, and gas. Still, it gets the job done, and the aftereffects are usually not as prolonged or as uncomfortable as stimulant laxatives.
Incidentally, sorbitol is used as a sweetener agent in a lot of chewing gum, which is why it contains a warning that excessive consumption can cause diarrhea.
Take Some Laxatives
All of the above solutions are natural ways to relieve constipation, but you can also try laxatives. There are a number of different options on the market and they all work in different ways.
Understanding these differences can help you to make the right choice, one that won’t ruin your day.
First, you have bulking agents, including psyllium husk and methylcellulose. These products work by forming a fibrous bulk in your gut that passes undigested through your intestines. As it moves, it takes everything else with it, pushing out the stubborn stools.
For these to work properly, you need to take them with a lot of water and follow the instructions on the packet.
As with high-fiber meals, the effects can be instant if you just need a little push. Otherwise, it may take a day or two for them to work.
Next, you have stool softeners, also known as emollient laxatives. These include Colace (docusate), and they work by drawing more water into the stool. They may be more effective in people who don’t drink a lot of water and/or take opioid medications.
Emollients work in a similar way to osmotics like Lactulose and Milk of Magnesia, but these tend to be more “explosive” and immediate in nature.
Finally, you have stimulant laxatives, which are best if you need quick results.
Sennosides, sold under the brand name Ex-Lax, are the most common and come from natural sources. They usually take effect in between 8 and 12 hours, though you may get quicker results if you take them with lots of water and fiber.
Bisacodyl (Dulcolax) works even quicker, but it’s also stronger. It’s often recommended that you take these tablets in the evening so that they take effect by the morning. But many users report waking up in the middle of the night with stomach cramps, followed by a strong urge to use the toilet.
This means that you could get results in just a few hours, especially if you are heavily backed up.
As with other laxatives, drinking water may speed things up.
It’s important not to overuse laxatives. If you have tried multiple options and none are working, don’t keep swallowing those pills. By the same token, if you find that you need to use laxatives just to have a normal bowel movement, there could be something more serious that needs to be addressed.
Try a Colonic Massage
When sluggish digestion is the cause, a colonic massage can help. It involves massaging the abdomen area to help with the transition of waste and gas.
There are massage tools that can do the work for you. The stimulation and vibrations are usually sufficient to trigger some kind of movement. You can also just use your hands or ask someone else to help.
Don’t be too forceful though. A gentle massage should be all you need.
Are There Any Foods That Can Help?
It has been said that honey has a mild laxative effect and that rhubarb will also help. There is some truth to this, but it’s important to look at the reasoning behind these beliefs before you start eating honey by the spoonful.
Firstly, honey is a very mild laxative. It can aid in overall digestive health and provide some other benefits, but if you’re looking for fast relief, it’s unlikely to make much of a difference.
As for rhubarb, it is very effective if you eat enough of it. However, that efficacy is the result of its sennoside content, the same compounds found in Ex-Lax.
If you’re trying to go all-natural and want a stimulant laxative, we recommend prunes/prune juice over rhubarb. But if that’s not an option, rhubarb is worth considering. The same is true if you need immediate relief and have a lot of rhubarb but don’t have any laxatives.
If you’re only interested in the results, it would make more sense to take Ex-Lax, drink lots of water, and eat fiber.
To make sure you don’t suffer from similar issues in the future, consider changing your habits and diet. Constipation is a common condition that most of us suffer from at least a couple of times a year, but it’s also easily avoided.
Prevention is always better than cure.
What if Everything Fails?
If you’ve tried all of the above and have given them adequate time to work, but to no avail, book an appointment with your doctor. That probably wasn’t what you wanted to hear, but if natural solutions aren’t working, laxatives are equally ineffective, and you feel like you are heavily backed up down there, it could be indicative of a more serious problem.
For instance, it might be that you have a blockage that’s causing discomfort now but could cause serious complications in a few days. The issue could even be related to something else that’s happening in your bowel or elsewhere in your body.
Your doctor will run some tests and provide you with a solution.