Treatments for Severe Constipation


Severe constipation is defined as having fewer than threebowel movements a week for three weeks or more. Constipation involves dry, hard or large stools and/or straining during a bowel movement. There are many causes for constipation, such as a diet low in fiber or limited fluid intake. However, there are medical conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and other disorders of the gastrointestinal tract that have constipation as a symptom. Remedies vary from improving the diet to using herbs or over-the-counter medications. Constipation rarely needs medical intervention and be usually be resolved at home.

Changing the Diet

Adding more liquids and fiber to the diet are the two best ways to treat severe constipation. By drinking eight to ten glasses of water every day, you ensure that your body remains hydrated. This makes soft stools that are easily eliminated. Fruit and vegetable juices are also helpful -- especially prune juice, an age-old remedy for constipation. Foods rich in fiber include whole grains, fruits and green vegetables. By adding more of these foods to your diet you facilitate more frequent bowel movements. Fruits and vegetables also have a high water content, which also aids in digestion.

Lifestyle Changes

Some people are so busy that they don’t think they have time for a bowel movement. It is important to set time aside for bathroom breaks and not to ignore the urge to use the toilet. Another way to increase fecal matter elimination is to exercise. Being physically active not only gives you more energy and tones the body, but it also helps to keep the muscles of the digestive system moving. The muscular contractions in the intestines are what push the wastes through the colon and out the rectum. Any type of physical activity - yoga, aerobic exercise like walking or dancing or weight training -- can help to relieve severe constipation.

Natural Supplements

Herbal colon cleaners are effective in treating severe constipation. These remedies contain herbs that are proven to stimulate the muscles of the intestines. Another option is drinking aloe vera juice or gel. An article on Herbs2000 states that aloe vera has strong laxative properties. Taking aloe vera is a safe and natural way to handle constipation. Metamucil and FiberCon are fiber supplements which are also useful in helping severe constipation.

Over-the Counter Drugs

The drugstore has many over-the-counter drugs that relieve severe constipation. There are laxatives, suppositories and stool softeners. These drugs work in different ways but all are designed to promote bowel movements. Laxatives stimulate muscle contractions, stool softeners add water to fecal matter, and suppositories lubricate the lower rectum. Home enema kits are also available. These products insert water into the lower intestines.

Alternative Medicine Remedies

Colon hydrotherapy or colonic irrigation is an alternative medical procedure. A trained colon therapist is needed to perform colon irrigation. With this method, warm water is pumped into the intestines through a small tube inserted into the rectum. The water scrubs the colon, loosening up the debris and fecal mater. A second hose removes the water and wastes. This is an excellent way to clean out the colon and relieve severe constipation.

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