What to do against constipation: remedies and natural solutions
Have you ever felt blocked, uncomfortable, and unable to go to the bathroom? Chronic constipation can be a frustrating and embarrassing experience for many people.
Let's explore with Charlotte VIDAL (massage therapist) and Pauline SONNINO-LAVEIX (dietician-nutritionist) the common causes of constipation, as well as the foods to adopt and the natural remedies to relieve it naturally.
We will focus on non-drug solutions, emphasizing methods that respect your body and your well-being .
Symptoms of Constipation
You may be suffering from temporary constipation if the frequency of your stools decreases and it becomes difficult to evacuate them to the toilet. Constipation can be " chronic " when it lasts at least 3 months with a stool frequency of less than 3 stools per week.
Symptoms can be:
- Harder stools, difficult to evacuate to the toilet
- A decrease in stool frequency
- Bloating and stomach ache
- A swollen and heavy belly
The causes of constipation: understanding the problem
Constipation can occur for a variety of reasons, and understanding the problem is key to finding the best solutions. Some common factors that can lead to bowel issues include:
Fiber-rich foods for constipation
It is essential to include enough fiber in our diet to promote regular intestinal transit. Fiber acts as a kind of natural broom ( or natural laxative ) to clean our digestive system and facilitate the passage of stool.
Vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes are excellent sources of fibre. It is recommended to consume about 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day .
Let's look at this in detail:
- Vegetables twice a day: French recommendations encourage us to consume 400g of vegetables a day: fresh, frozen, canned rinsed... the equivalent of 2 good courgettes or a large can of green beans with daily.
- 2 to 3 portions of fruit, possibly including a portion of dried fruit: 3 prunes, 3 dates, 3 figs (=6g of fiber), 3 dried apricots... but also fresh or frozen fruit. Be careful, compotes and fruit juices contain almost no fiber.
- Varied fats: oilseeds and seeds, with for example a fruit and a handful of almonds with skin for an express breakfast, a teaspoon of seeds (chia, flax...= 2g of fibre) crushed on the salad...
- Seaweed: for example a sheet of nori seaweed in a soup or in flakes on a Japanese rice (= 1g of fibers)
- Varied starches: legumes: 100g of lentils (= 4g of fiber), 100g of canned chickpeas (= 7g of fiber), 200g of potatoes with the skin (= 4g of fiber), wholemeal pasta, wholemeal bread, with seeds... selected whole-wheat biscuits, whole-grain rusks.
Insufficient hydration: Drink to avoid constipation
Hydration also plays a crucial role in maintaining good intestinal transit. It is important to drink enough water throughout the day to keep our digestive system well lubricated.
Stay hydrated throughout the day with still, sparkling water (but not too salty to limit the risk of water retention), flavored (lemon slices, iced infusions...). Do this before you feel thirsty because being thirsty is already dehydrated : headaches, fatigue, cramps, and reduced athletic and... intellectual performance!
Establishing a daily routine can be an option: 1 large glass of water when you wake up, 1 when you get out of the shower, 1 when you leave, 1 when you go to bed... Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, i.e. 1, 5 to 3 liters of water .
It can also be interesting (although not ecological) to integrate into your routine 2 glasses of Hépar or Contrex on waking because of their magnesium content.
Do physical activity to fight constipation
A sedentary life can lead to constipation problems. Regular exercise can help stimulate bowel movements and make it easier to pass stool. Try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity into your daily routine.
A simple digestive walk, yoga , cycling can do wonders for your digestion. Even getting off transport one stop earlier, taking detours on foot is a good idea to take every opportunity for a few extra steps.
Stress and Anxiety: Take Care of Your Emotional Well-Being
Stress and anxiety can also affect our digestive system, leading to episodes of constipation. Learn how to manage stress in a healthy way. Activities such as meditation, yoga, and relaxation can help reduce anxiety and improve overall digestive health.
What to do in case of constipation?
Now that we understand the common causes of constipation and how to prevent it, let's review the natural solutions if you already have this problem.
It is essential to listen carefully to your body's signals to understand what could be causing constipation. What works for one person may not work for another. Be patient with yourself and feel free to experiment with different approaches to find the one that works best for you!
The benefits of natural remedies: Opt for gentle alternatives
Many people find effective constipation relief using natural remedies. You can consider adding foods such as prunes, figs, and flax seeds , which are known to help with bowel movements, to your daily routine. Herbal teas such as peppermint, chamomile, and ginger can also be beneficial for relieving constipation.
The power of probiotics: Repair your gut flora
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that support healthy gut flora. Probiotics can help improve digestion and prevent constipation.
We take this opportunity to tell you about Dijo , a great French brand offering probiotics that strengthen your digestive system for better regulation of transit. The bacteria in their food supplements will relieve your belly and your digestive discomfort.
Relaxation techniques: Take time to relax
Try relaxation techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga , to ease your mind and combat chronic or transient constipation (also called occasional constipation). Take the time to relax every day, even if it's just a few minutes .
You can also have recourse to Chi nei tsang , a massage of the abdomen and internal organs which will allow energy and blood to circulate, to release certain tensions and to help the digestive system to function better.
Chi Nei Tsang is a form of therapeutic massage that originated in traditional Chinese medicine. The term "Chi Nei Tsang" literally translates to "internal organ energy work" in Chinese.
This practice aims to release and rebalance energy blockages in the body, particularly in the internal organs.
The Importance of Proper Posture: Adopt a Comfortable Position
How we sit on the toilet can also influence our ability to pass stools. Adopt a more natural position by using a small stool under your feet to elevate your knees slightly. This aligns the rectum and facilitates evacuation.
Consult a dietitian-nutritionist
If despite your efforts, constipation persists, we advise you to consult a health professional. Pauline SONNINO-LAVEIX can also assist you in this process.
Fighting Constipation: Conclusion
By opting for gentle methods and natural treatments, you can improve your digestion and regain regular intestinal comfort, without bloating and stomach ache (on this subject, see our collection dedicated to stomach cramps and bloating ). Remember the importance of hydration, high fiber diet, regular physical activity and stress management to support a healthy digestive system. There are indeed many tips before taking traditional drugs or laxatives to soften the stool.
Don't forget to always listen to yourself and give yourself the time you need to find solutions that will unblock severe or temporary constipation. Prioritize your well-being and do not hesitate to consult a health professional if necessary.