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Understanding Constipation: Natural Remedies and Relief

Updated: Apr 25

Since last fall, I've had quite a few clients tell me they have not been regular.


They're constipated. So when I start seeing patterns in multiple patients, it usually catches my attention because I believe it's informing me of the environment the majority are currently in.


My eyebrows raise, something is up!


Dealing with constipation can be uncomfortable, and my patients have noted symptoms like:


  • Fewer than 3 bowel movement per week

  • Straining during...

  • Lumpy or hard stools

  • Sensation of incomplete evacuation


 

What factors play a role in why a person could be constipated?


Digestive Health

  1. Medications - Pain relievers, antidepressants, antibiotics, etc.

  2. Changes in Routine - Such as travel, changes in sleep patterns, or alterations in meal time.

  3. Dietary Factors - Insufficient fluid intake can also lead to dehydration, resulting in harder stools that are difficult to pass.

  4. Certain Medical Conditions - Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), hypothyroidism, diabetes, neurological disorders, hormonal changes.

  5. Psychological Factors - anxiety, depression, & mental/emotional STRESS, etc.

  6. Season - Certain times of the year can also affect individuals. For ex: Fall and Winter - since these are generally dry and cold times of the year.

Now what to do?


So it's never a one-size-fits-all approach when dealing this kind of symptom. The factors I listed above, are only some of the many reasons why constipation could be affecting you. However, it is very important to move things along so that the health of the body can become restored. One of the ways we can relieve this distention, sometimes a painful experience, by taking a laxative.


And though laxatives do work, we cannot become dependent upon them.


Otherwise, in doing so, we may actually inhibit our bodies way I'm ridding it's waste naturally.


In this post, I am going to provide you three natural remedies that can help you move things along.


Although these three suggestions are "natural" ways, you should not become dependent upon them or think that because they are an alternative to OTC medications, they are somehow safer and less harmful to the body.


I do not believe this to be true.


Disclaimer:


What I will provide, is not medical advice. These are merely suggestions that will produce a desired result. However, I strongly suggest you speak with your healthcare provider before attempting any of the recommendations below, especially if you have preexisting conditions.


***If you are pregnant, DO NOT do any of these recommendations.***


 

Natural Remedies for Constipation:


When it comes to managing constipation naturally, many people turn to oils like castor oil and coconut oil for their potential benefits. Others, insist that a salt-water flush works best. I believe it's just a matter of preference, and these are my three recommendations that I have personally tested and know for sure that they do work. Castor Oil

Castor oil is derived from the seeds of the castor oil plant (Ricinus communis) and has been used for centuries as a laxative. It works by stimulating the muscles of the intestines, promoting bowel movement. The primary active compound in castor oil, ricinoleic acid, has a strong laxative effect.


Dosage: For constipation relief, adults can take 1–2 tablespoons of cold pressed castor oil orally on an empty stomach. It's important to start with a lower dose (1 Tbsp) and increase gradually if needed.

Coconut Oil


Coconut oil is another natural remedy that may help relieve constipation. It contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which can have a mild laxative effect by improving digestion and promoting bowel regularity.


Dosage: Take up to 6 tsps of virgin coconut oil daily 30 mins before your meals. You could incorporate it into your cooking but I have found this to be least effective. It's essential to monitor your body's response and adjust the dosage based on individual tolerance. If you get cramps, you have taken too much.


Salt Water Flush for Constipation Relief


For those seeking a natural and gentle way to relieve constipation, a salt water flush is a popular remedy.


This method involves drinking a solution of warm water mixed with non-iodized sea salt, which helps stimulate bowel movements and cleanse the colon.


Recipe for a Salt Water Flush:


Ingredients:


  • 2 - 21/2 teaspoons of non-iodized sea salt (I use 2 1/2 tsps)

  • 1 quart (approximately 4 cups) of warm filtered water

  • Mix


After drinking the salt water within 10-15min maximum.


It's common to experience a strong urge to have a bowel movement within 30 minutes to a few hours.


I recommended you stay near a bathroom after drinking the salt water solution, as bowel movements can be frequent and urgent!

I would perform this on a day off from responsibilities first thing in the morning as the purging can last a while.


Other Lifestyle Tips:


In addition to incorporating these suggestions into your routine, making lifestyle changes will be the ultimate task in remedying and helping you alleviate constipation:


  • Stay hydrated: Sip plenty of WARM/HOT water throughout the day.

  • Exercise/stretch regularly: Physical activity can stimulate bowel movements.

  • Fiber - it's effective, but only if you stay hydrated. Otherwise, fiber could be a menace, especially if you already battle with a digestive disease such as crohn's or IBS.

  • Chew your food - making sure to consciously chew your food for proper digestion is essential.

  • Cut down on caffeine - excessive consumption of caffeine can have adverse effects on digestive health, including dehydration, irritation of the gastrointestinal lining, and exacerbation of existing digestive issues.

  • Bedtime - going to sleep and an appropriate hour to get a full nights. Rest is very important. According to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) the large intestine, which is responsible for bowel movements and elimination of waste, is closely associated with the hours between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. Thus, not going to bed at a proper time screws-up your body's internal clock.


Conclusion:


By combining natural remedies with healthy lifestyle choices, you can manage constipation and promote overall digestive wellness.


Remember, every body is different, so it's essential to find what works best for you. If constipation persists or becomes severe, seek medical advice to rule out any underlying health issues.


With a gentle approach and awareness, you can overcome constipation and enjoy better digestive health.


 

If you are interested in what I can do to help you start the process, check out my service Organ Massage.


This is a specialized abdominal bodywork technique I personally designed to promote abdominal relaxation and restore a sense of inner balance.


It's a great way to unlock your body's potential for strong health and longevity.





About John Caruso LMT Sarasota

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