Alternative Treatments for Constipation
What you eat has a big impact on your gut health. Incorporate high-fiber foods known to help loosen and move your system along, such as cucumbers, celery, and apples. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, as fiber creates bulk in your intestines that soaks up water. Coffee is also a known stimulant for kick-starting the bowels.
Move your body
Cardio exercise helps relax the smooth muscle of the colon and other muscles involved with the bowels. You should also consider hitting the mat to do some yoga. It not only relaxes the body and relieves stress that may be clogging you up, but there are specific poses that can help ease constipation, such as Child’s Pose.
Epsom salts can be a powerful natural laxative. Epsom salt is essentially magnesium sulfate. It works by pulling water into the colon to help move stool. The magnesium part stimulates muscle contractions, so the colon can easily contract and push out waste. Drink Epsom salt mixtures in moderation, but speak with your doctor beforehand.
Supplements provide your gut with much-needed nutrients that can help combat intestinal distress. Fish oil has essential omega-3 fatty acids that fight inflammation and help lubricate the intestines. As mentioned, magnesium triggers muscle contractions. And probiotics are important for balancing gut flora and restoring healthy bacteria to your system.
Certain massage techniques can be used to loosen tightened abdominal muscles and help relax them so your system flows better. Practices such as essential oil massages and reflexology can target certain areas of the body to help relieve constipation.
A variation of acupuncture, acupressure involves repeated tapping or pressure on certain points of the body. A recent study showed acupressure helped relieve constipation in some patients.
Erica Sanderson is a former content producer and editor for HealthCentral. Living with a chronic disorder that affects the lungs and instestine, Erica focused on covering digestive health and respiratory health. Topics included COPD, asthma, acid reflux, managing symptoms and medication.