Gastrointestinal & RespiratoryHealth

Myths And Facts About Constipation

The cure for the constipation may be as close as the kitchen. Try these natural cures for the quick relief.

When it comes to health issues, bowels are big business. The Bowel movements are part of the everyday life, and we notice immediately when the routine changes. Constipation, from the Latin word constipare (“to crowd together”) is something almost everyone has some experience with. In most cases, it’s an occasional annoyance that resolves quickly. For others, particularly elderly, the constipation can be chronic condition, significantly affecting the quality of life.

The cure for the constipation may be as close as the kitchen. Try these natural cures for the quick relief.

Sesame seeds

The oily composition of the sesame seeds works to moisturize  intestines, which can help if the dry stools are problem. Add  seeds to the cereals or the salads for crunch, or pulverize them in coffee grinder and sprinkle on the food like seasoning. This home remedy for constipation is a favourite of Amish and Chinese folk healers.


One tablespoon of the blackstrap molasses before the bed should help ease constipation by morning. The Blackstrap molasses is boiled and then concentrated three times, so it has significant vitamins and the minerals; the magnesium in particular will help relieve constipated condition and contribute to your good health.


Fibre acts like a pipe cleaner, scrubbing food and waste particles from your digestive tract and soaking up water. It adds bulk to stool, giving muscles of your GI tract something to grab on to, so they can keep the food moving along. Aim for 20 to 35 grams of fibre a day to stay regular. Foods particularly high in fibre include bran cereals, beans, lentils, oatmeal, almonds, barley, many vegetables, and fresh and dried fruits.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends consuming 20 to 38 grams per day, depending on your age and gender, but most of us get closer to get about 15 grams.​ Still, studies show no difference in fiber intake among people who are constipated and those who aren’t, Prather says.
“Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet, but it’s probably not simply a cause of constipation,” adds Jeffrey Lackner​, a professor of medicine at the University of Buffalo who studies​ new treatments for gastrointestinal disease

Mint or ginger tea

Mint and the ginger are both proven home remedies to help alleviate slew of digestive problems. Peppermint contains menthol, which has an antispasmodic effect that relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract. Ginger is “warming” herb that causes inside of body to generate more heat; herbalists say this can help speed up the sluggish digestion. In tea, hot water will also stimulate the digestion and help relieve the constipation. Dandelion tea is also gentle laxative and the detoxifier.

Healthy fats

Olive oil, nuts, and the avocados all contain the healthy fats, which can help lubricate intestines and ease the constipation. A salad with fibre-rich leafy greens and a simple olive oil dressing, a small handful of nuts, or a tablespoon of natural nut butter on fruit or toast are good options. Even if you’re watching weight, healthy fats are necessary for the basic body functions; they are very satiating to keep satisfied with less.

Lemon water

The citric acid in lemon juice acts as stimulant to your digestive system and can help flush the toxins from your body. it also that it helps you drink more water each day, which will improve long-term digestion.


Coffee can stimulate the colon and speed up your trip to bathroom. Other hot drinks work too: Herbal tea or the cup of hot water with little lemon juice (a natural laxative) or the honey may stimulate colon as well. Coffee is also diuretic, however, so make sure to keep the drinking water or your constipation could become worse.


High in fibre, raisins also contain tartaric acid, which has a laxative effect. In one study, the doctors determined that panelists who ate 4 1/2 ounces of the raisins (one small box) per day had their digested food make it through digestive track in half  time it took other subjects who did not. Cherries and the apricots are also rich in the fiber and can help kick your constipation. Eat fruits with bowl of the yogurt for added benefits of gut-soothing probiotics.


These fibre-rich fruits are a go-to home remedy for getting your digestion back on track. Three prunes have 3 grams of fibre, and they also contain a compound that triggers the intestinal contraction that makes you want to go.

Castor oil

This home remedy for the constipation has been handed down for the generations. One of the primary uses for the castor oil is as laxative; take 1 to 2 teaspoons on empty stomach and you should see the results in about 8 hours. Why? component in the oil breaks down into substance that stimulates your large and the small intestines.

Be careful with this one. The Castor oil is potent laxative and it is old home remedy for constipation, but it can be associated with the side effects. Ask your doctor before using the castor oil to treat the constipation. It may interfere with activity of the medications you take for other medical conditions and it may inhibit in absorption of certain nutrients. Habitual use of castor oil may damage the nerves, tissues, and bowel muscles in your gastrointestinal tract, which may lead to more problems with constipation. Some people use mineral oil to ease constipation. This is not recommended. It can deplete your body of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K.


Even the daily 15-minute walk can help move the food through your bowel more quickly. If you feel sleepy after heavy meal, try to move around instead of lying down on bed. Jumpstarting  digestive process can help you avoid that painfully full feeling that often follows large meal.

12 Myths And Facts About Constipation

Myth No.1 : It’s inevitable as you age

Constipation is more common among older adults, but that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to bowel backlog as you age. Healthy aging is not associated with an increased risk of constipation. it has more to do with your underlying medical conditions and the medications that you take.
That’s why it’s important for patients with no clear causes of constipation to undergo a general medical evaluation. You want to make sure there isn’t some sort of medical condition that’s contributing to it. For example, stroke survivors, people with Parkinson’s disease and people with diabetes are more prone to constipation. Anti-inflammatory and antihypertensive medications, as well as narcotics, can also come with a side of stoppage,. Sometimes, changing the medication or treating the underlying condition may be best for the bowel, she adds.

Myth No.2: Yogurt will cure

Yogurt may get more the credit than it deserves for ability to clear colon. While probiotics in yogurt can help promote healthy bacteria in the gut, you need to have the live cultures and you need to get at least 2 servings of yogurt per day for it to help with constipation.

Myth No.3: To treat it, drink more water.

When it comes to water intake as way to flush out bowels, the hype may be overblown​. While drinking plenty of the water is all well and good, unless you’re dehydrated, guzzling ​down the gallons of H20 probably won’t encourage

Myth No.4: Move your body, move your bowels.

Encourages  patients to get at least 30 minutes of the moderate exercise ​most days of the week, but careful not to overemphasize its effect on the constipation. The data really are not that strong that increasing the exercise improves bowel movements.

Myth No.5: It’s not a big deal.

It’s easy for both clinicians and patients to dismiss constipation since it describes the absence of something rather than the presence of it. But in reality, the condition of this problem really does have a significant impact on the people’s quality of life, their well-being, even  functioning and their digestive system.
For instance, people with the constipation – and particularly those with the irritable bowel syndrome whose symptoms may alternate between the constipation and diarrhea – have trouble adhering to the schedules, traveling and even leaving house because they don’t know when urge to go will hit.

Myth No. 6: Lifestyle changes and laxatives are the only treatments.

The good news is that there are the effective treatments. Outside of the diet and medication changes, people can often alleviate constipation by taking the osmotic laxatives such as Miralax or the Milk of Magnesia, which draw more​ water into the stool. If those don’t work, a stimulant laxative, but only temporarily since the patients can develop tolerances to them. In more unusual cases, the patients may undergo surgery that shrinks size of the colon by removing most of it and then attaching small intestine to the rectum.

For patients whose constipation is due to problems with the pelvic floor, physical or occupational therapy can help them retrain how to relax and contract those muscles more effectively.

Myth No.7: Try Colon Cleansing

It is myth that the enemas and the colonies can help prevent or cure the constipation. The exact opposite may be the true. Colonies can damage colon. Do not use over-the-counter stimulant laxatives or the stool softeners without consulting with doctor first. Long-term use of these medications may lead to the increased problems with the constipation.

Myth No.8: Can Gum Get Stuck in Your Stomach?

It is myth that if you the swallow gum it will stay in stomach for 7 years. Gum is made of the sugar or the artificial sweetener, preservatives, the flavorings, and gum resin. Your digestive tract will absorb sugar if you swallow gum, but remaining gum resin will pass through and out of body. A blockage may result if someone swallows large quantity of the gum or swallows gum along with things that are the indigestible, such as coins or the sunflower seeds. Very young children may be at the greatest risk for the swallowing gum because they may not understand that it should be chewed, not swallowed. As a general rule, do not offer gum to the children under age of 5.

Myth No.9: Travel Is a Trigger

It is true that the lifestyle changes and changes to daily routine can trigger the constipation. Changes to your diet, sleep time, and adjusting to new time zones may all lead to constipation. While traveling, especially flying, drink lots of water. Stick to bottled water if the tap water at your destination is not safe to drink. Try to stay active as well. Stretch your legs, get up and move, and walk around the airport while you are waiting for your flight. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Stick to the cooked produce if is unsafe to eat the raw fruits and veggies at your destination.

Myth No.10: Your Mood Affects Constipation

It is true that the depression and the mood disorders may trigger constipation or make it worse. Take measures to the reduce stress in your life to keep your bowels moving regularly. Yoga, meditation, biofeedback, and relaxation training techniques are proven ways to combat stress. Acupressure and shiatsu massage may work, too. Another trick you can try is massaging your abdomen. Massaging your abdomen in circular, clockwise fashion may help keep the things moving.

Myth No.11 Holding It Is Bad

This is not  myth. It is true that the holding in a bowel movement may not only be uncomfortable, but it can actually trigger or worsen the constipation. When you feel urge to have bowel movement and heed call, the normal nerve reflex that helps you pass stool is reinforced. If you repeatedly ignore urge to have a bowel movement when you need to, it may lead to the constipation. If you have busy schedule, make sure to allow for time for the bathroom breaks after the breakfast or another meal throughout the day. That is when urge to have bowel movement is the strongest.

Myth No.12: Tap into the Power of Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that improve the gut health, improve the digestion, and affect the immune function. There is some evidence that the probiotics may improve the constipation. Probiotics decrease amount of time that stool takes to move through bowel. They also improve consistency of stool and lead to more frequent bowel movements. Studies suggest probiotic species, the Bifidobacterium lactis, are very beneficial for the bowel health. Some strains of the Bifidobacterium may be helpful for those who have the abdominal pain and bloating due to the irritable bowel syndrome, too. Eat yogurt with live active cultures, kefir, or the kombucha to get your fill of the beneficial bugs to help your belly. (source)  (source) 


Constipation is common condition, yet there’s little high quality evidence to guide our actions. Myths about constipation further complicate treatment strategies. In absence of the high quality of scientific evidence, it would seem most conservative to carefully evaluate the situation for potentially causal factors, and introduce the treatments backed by the best evidence only after core dietary and the lifestyle factors have been implemented

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Doctor by profession and blogger by passion

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