Natural Treatment for Constipation in Washington, DC
Constipation is the most common digestive complaint in the U.S., affecting more than 4 million Americans each year. It is characterized by infrequent bowel movements (3 times per week or less), straining during defecation due to hard stools, and a sensation of incomplete bowel movements.
Conventional medicine treatment often uses laxatives to relieve the discomfort associated with constipation temporarily. Laxatives are only recommended for short-term use as side-effects can occur with continuous use including electrolyte and mineral imbalances, worsening of constipation, dehydration, and organ damage. Treating chronic constipation through natural methods, such as dietary changes, can be very effective as far as reversing this condition; specifically, by addressing root-cause issues that contribute to the lack of bowel movements and hardening of the stools.
To schedule a consultation with a healthcare practitioner in Washington who can recommend natural treatment for constipation, call (703) 215-2795 or contact Dr. Andrew Heyman online.
Causes of Constipation
The colon, an organ of the digestive system often referred to as the large intestine, is very important for properly eliminating waste from the body. The health and function of the colon are primarily determined by the amount of dietary fiber one consumes. Low levels of dietary fiber lead to constipation, along with an accumulation of waste materials and toxins in the intestines.
There are additional factors which may compound the problem, including:
- Inadequate water intake
- Lack of exercise
- Medications such as pain meds, diuretics, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications
- Iron supplements
- Abusing laxatives
- Dairy intake
- Specific health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulosis, hypothyroidism , diabetes , colon cancer, and kidney disease
Constipation Natural Treatment
The best approach to reverse constipation naturally is to consume a high-fiber diet, drink plenty of water (at least 6-8 cups per day) and exercise regularly (at least 30 minutes, 3 days per week).
Natural Foods for Constipation
Increasing fiber in one's diet is the single most important factor to provide natural constipation relief, as fiber increases the frequency of bowel movements, decreases the transit time of the stools, and helps remove toxins from the colon. Consuming a high-fiber diet is also a preventive factor in developing several diseases, including cancer, and promotes gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health.
There are two different types of fiber—soluble and insoluble. Both types of fiber are beneficial to relieving constipation and improving digestion. Soluble fibers, found in oat bran, beans, nuts, seeds and lentils, help soften the stool by attracting water in the intestines and forming a gel in the intestines. Insoluble fibers, found in wheat bran, vegetables and whole grains, add bulk to the stool which aids in elimination.
The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25-35 grams per day; however, higher amounts 35-70 grams per day have been shown to promote optimal health and reduce the risk of developing cancer. Your healthcare provider will recommend a daily fiber intake that is best suited for your digestive needs.
Natural Supplements for Constipation
Natural fiber supplements can be incorporated into the daily diet to increase your total daily fiber intake. Natural fiber supplements include soluble fiber derived from psyllium seeds, pectins, and plant gums such as guar gum. These soluble fibers help to increase the bulk of the stool by forming a gelatinous mass that helps keep the stools hydrated and soft. They also help stimulate a contraction in the bowel which leads to bowel movements.
Probiotics are good bacteria that live in the large intestine, and supplementing with probiotics has been shown to increase stool frequency while decreasing straining and abdominal pain. Probiotics can be found in cultured foods, such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut, as well as in dietary supplements.
Aloe vera juice or gel is a natural remedy that, among its numerous health benefits, has been used to relieve constipation. Aloe vera is a natural laxative that helps increase the water content in the intestines and increases intestinal contractions that help break down food. It is important to note that aloe vera is a natural laxative and it should only be used short-term to help relieve constipation.
Lifestyle Modifications for Constipation
Natural treatment for constipation doesn't just involve what you eat. Getting regular exercise, at least three days per week, is essential to regulating bowel movements. Exercise—particularly walking and aerobic exercise such as jogging and swimming—can help relieve constipation by stimulating natural contraction of intestinal muscles; this helps the stools to move more quickly through the intestines.
High-stress levels can also contribute to constipation as chronic stress disrupts normal digestive processes. You can treat constipation naturally by decreasing stress levels through deep-breathing exercises, meditation, acupuncture, and yoga. These activities can help restore balance in the body and improve digestion.
Experience Natural Constipation Relief Today!
Natural constipation remedies seek to restore function to your bowel movements in order to preserve your overall wellness. If you experience symptoms of constipation, it is important to find a healthcare provider who understands the root cause of constipation in order to help you sustain long-term relief.
Call (703) 215-2795 or contact Dr. Andrew Heyman online to get started today.
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